Manuscript Proofs - Our Publishing Process

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Proofs are generally referred to as PDFs, which stands for Portable Document Format, a system created by Adobe in 1993 for exchanging documents. In recent years they have become almost universally used for book production. Our designer(s) use Quark express to design the Word document, and then Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional to make the PDF. That, again, is the most common format, though XML has been gaining ground.


  • Proofs: You won't have access to the Proofs section. Proofs are for internal use, and we do not accept author changes at this stage. Given that the final manuscript came through reasonably clean, and the copyediting was done well (add a note to the Author Forum under Editorial and Production if you thought it well or poorly done, it helps us to know), and we proofread, the book should come through with a minimum level of errors (it is impossible to eliminate every one). If it is unacceptable, we will correct and reprint.
  • Widows" and "orphans": A “widow” is a word or line of text that is forced to go on alone and start its own column or page. An orphan is a single word at the bottom of a paragraph that gets left behind. It is increasingly standard practice not to bother about these. They are not all that unsightly, often less so than stretching or squashing up letter spacing. They are not worth changing an author's words over, to get them to fit in. More to the point, as more text moves to the screen, widows will become increasingly difficult, and eventually impossible, to control. Which means that they will become more prevalent, and accepted; and orphans will disappear along with page breaks.
  • Two formats: We produce PDFs in two formats (not counting digital books). There will be a "MS no trims" file on the Marketing Support page about a month before publication; we prepare it after the files have gone to the printer. We use this for "search inside" programs on Amazon and other online sites (if an error message comes up when trying to open the "no trims" file, it's to do with the browser you are using—right-click and save to your PC; to open it, go through Adobe).
  • Endpages: A selection of appropriate books from your imprint will be listed in the end matter.
  • Schedule: It usually takes a few weeks for the first proofs to be produced from the time you upload your checked copyedited manuscript, and they will then be proofread (the usual time for all editing, design, proofing, for a straightforward plain text paperback, is around two to three months: one month for copyediting, then one to two months for design and proofreading).