Uploading Your Manuscript

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Within a week or so of accepting the contract the “Status” of your title will change to “In Production,” and you will receive a notification with more information describing the next steps. When your finished manuscript is ready you are asked to begin the process by uploading it to “Manuscript Upload,” along with any images that you propose for the cover. Please upload the finished manuscript as a single Word document.

  • Click the down arrows to expand the section, then click the “+upload a file” link. If your MS is not ready, please update the target date (this section will appear red if the target date has passed). Click the important link below to make sure you are presenting the manuscript correctly. Once your file is uploaded, you just need to tick the three boxes at the foot of the section marked "authors" and click on "Approve/Confirm". The editor will be notified and then check and "Approve/Confirm" his boxes, and the book will be sent off for editing. Email notifications will keep you updated on the whole process, so watch your inbox.
  • Once a stage is completed (all parties have clicked the "Approved/Confirm" buttons) it cannot be changed. A green stage has been completed. The yellow stages are active. A red stage has gone past its expected completion date. That is just for our internal use, to flag up a warning.
  • The process of production for the text and cover usually takes two to three months. Diagrams, illustrations, tables, index, specialist words, can all add another month or two, or three/four if they are complex (more information on this in Appendix 7). Remember these do not generally work in ebooks, which account for an increasing proportion of sales. Once the text and cover files are fixed, we set the publication date 10 months ahead (so for a title with files finished, for instance, in April, the publication date will be in February), to allow time for information to circulate to trade buyers and databases. More on this in the introduction to Chapter 9. Do not arrange any publicity around availability of the books or the publication date until the publication date has been set.
  • The various "Help" icons should be self-explanatory. The first points here are general writing advice which may be useful if your manuscript is still at the draft stage. For more particular information about finishing the manuscript, please move on to the section Preparing the Manuscript.


Add your final manuscript here as a Microsoft Word doc. "Final" means including any contents page, foreword, acknowledgements, copyright acknowledgements for the cover—everything except the index (if any). Tick the three boxes and click on the "Approve/Confirm" button to notify the Editorial Manager. Also, please go to Adobe.com and choose a cover image for your book (see Cover, below).

  • A PDF is OK if we have agreed to publish it as it stands. The PDF must be 216mm(H)x140mm(W) with text embedded and 5mm bleed all round. Ask on the Editorial and Production forum for a text-flow template. We cannot "get into" a PDF that we have not produced, so the author is taking responsibility for editing and proofing their own work.
  • Add any diagrams, illustrations, photos or tables separately. See Appendix 7.
  • Add some notes to the Author Stylesheet box.
  • We cannot pick up manuscripts from other sources.
  • Do not make any changes to the manuscript after you have entered it here, as it will have been sent to a copyeditor. There is one last chance to do that when you check the copyedited MS, see Copyediting.
  • Do not include page numbers or references to page numbers in the Contents. They are added on the proofs.
  • The main rule is to keep the document simple. Do not try and design the book yourself; the designer will do this at the proofs stage. Any specific layout requests should be added to the Author Stylesheet section of your Production page.

Follow these steps:

  • Check the default style of your document. For newer versions of Word click "Home" at the top left. At the top from centre to right you'll see options marked "AaBb"; click the first one "Normal"; set your font to Times New Roman 12pt black. Older versions: Click "Format," then "style." On the left, click "Normal." This will show you the default font, size and color. Set these as required (12pt Times New Roman black).
  • Setting Indents. We need text without paragraph indents (the design program will automatically add them). If you want to indent a piece of text for a long quote, use the ruler bar at the top of the page. Select the text you wish to indent using the mouse, then slide the manual indent indicator across to where you want it (that is the bit that looks like an inverted pyramid).
  • "Normalize" your text. After checking that your default style in word is correct, select all your text and make sure it all matches. If not, press CTRL+A (or choose “Edit: Select All” from the menu) to highlight all your text, and then select "normal" text from your option bar up above, and then standardize on a single font, single font size, the same line spacing, and the same text justification (left justified). Note that depending on your formatting, when you change the text to normal you will lose some formatting (what was centered may become left-justified or your italics may disappear, for example, as well as other changes) so be sure to carefully re-apply necessary elements.

After you do the above, you will need to go through and re-check the formatting. Some items may have shifted because of the steps above. Bolds may disappear, centered items may become ranged left, font sizes may have changed, and spaces between paragraphs may have disappeared. Just go back and fix, but make sure everything is Normal text and make the font sizes, line spacing and text justification consistent. If you find you change the normal text and suddenly Word labels it something other than normal text, then it means you didn’t successfully disable Word’s nasty auto-format features.


  • Don’t use desktop publishing facilities, unless by prior agreement.
  • Don’t type instructions for the typesetter in the document (apart from the style page, if you have it at the front). If they are missed they may appear in the finished book.
  • Don’t try and style the text to make it look like a printed book. In MS Word use Normal as a default.
  • Don’t use the Endnotes or Footnotes facility on your word-processing program. Don’t use them at all at this stage, they can cause the ebook conversion to fail. Put any references at the back.
  • Don’t use double spaces after full stops. In fact, don’t use double spaces anywhere.
  • Don’t use grey or colored text. You can have any color so long as it is black.
  • Don’t center headings.
  • Don’t type chapter and sub-headings in all capitals.
  • Don’t underline text. To add emphasis, use bold or italics.
  • Don’t use automatic hyphenation; use hyphens only when they are part of a word.
  • Don’t use fancy typefaces, unless you have licensed fonts. If they are unlicensed then it is impossible to make a PDF (proof).
  • Don’t embed images in Word documents (don’t use them at all if you want an ebook). Supply diagrams and graphs as separate items, i.e. Photoshop or Illustrator files or flat artwork that can be scanned. Publishing software ignores text that has been separated from the main text, so the designer will not see it if you include it with the MS (more on this in the help icon against “Diagrams/Illustrations”).
  • Don’t justify text or make adjustments to word/letter spacing.
  • Don’t indent the first line of each paragraph. Leave them flush left. Just hit the “return” or “enter” key at the end of a paragraph. Do the same with dialogue. When a Word doc is fed into InDesign (the program the designer uses), InDesign looks for “returns” and puts in an indent automatically.
  • Don’t put an extra line space in-between paragraphs, unless you are separating sections of the manuscript. If you want to do this, (i.e. you want a blank line or two) hit the "return" or "enter" key twice and add “ZZZ Insert X Blank Lines”. Be sparing in your use of white space. Too much of it can end up looking like a printing error. If text is indented leave a blank line before and after it (don’t worry about spacing issues, the designer attends to them). The only other time to hit the "enter/return" key twice is before a subheading. This action puts in a line space. For fiction only press the enter or return key twice if you want to indicate a break in the text that isn't a new chapter.
  • Don’t use the “return” key at the end of lines. Let the text run on to fit inside the set margins. If you use the return key at the end of every line someone has to take them all out again. Key returns only at the end of paragraphs. You don’t need to worry about what it looks like on your screen, because that is going to change when the designer fiddles with it anyway. This is possibly the most important point of all, and the most expensive to remedy.
  • Don’t use the space or the tab key to indent text. Use the ruler bar. The space bar makes different size spaces depending on the other letters in the line of text.
  • Don’t indent lists. Don’t indent or tab new lines (turnovers).
  • Don’t produce tables of more than 5 columns width (do not use them at all unless absolutely essential).
  • Don't use more than five line breaks to separate text. This creates blank pages in most reading devices.
  • Don’t do the index or page references until you get the proofs.
  • Don’t be inconsistent, especially with things like using the numeral 0 and the capital O, and the numeral 1 and the letter I. Inconsistencies like this cannot be picked up on a global “search and replace” and have to be corrected individually. Other things to watch out for; chapter headings, paragraph spacing, quotes and sources, spelling of names—many of these points are covered below.
  • Don’t use "macros." This is a series of Word commands and instructions that you group together as a single command to accomplish a task automatically. It’s helpful in a document if you perform a task repeatedly (like footnotes) that is not going to be designed and printed. But when the designer converts the document into Quark, for the proofs, it’s liable to duplicate parts of some text and miss others, which the designer can’t spot—they're often not visible. The corrections then needed in the proofs will be at your expense, either directly or deductible from royalties


  • Do use single-spacing for the entire manuscript, including for references, further reading, chapter numbers and titles. Double spacing isn’t necessary nowadays.
  • Do keep the number of different typefaces to a minimum. If content is continuous text a serif typeface like 12-point Times New Roman is the most common, with 14-point for chapter headings, and will be more readable than a sans-serif like Ariel. Do not experiment with typefaces or use obscure ones. A certain font on your computer may not exist in the designer’s or printer’s software. If a legacy font is used which is not postscript it makes it difficult to alter and move around as a PDF. Avoid anything bigger than 14-point, or smaller than 12.
  • Do use accents and special characters from the “Symbols” option in your word-processing program.
  • Do use en rules for ranges and em rules for a dash in the text.[E2]
  • Do use formatting commands (e.g. italics, superscripts) as you would normally.
  • Do use one space between sentences, after any punctuation like full stops, colons etc.
  • Do supply the font for the typesetter if you use mathematical symbols in the text. There are so many different ones around it is better for all if we use yours.
  • Do put in footnotes in superscript.
  • Do add a blank line before and after indented quotes. The design program does not pick up indented quotes automatically, they have to be done manually, and this will help show the designer where the quote is in the text.

On indented paragraphs, we follow the style most commonly used today. The designer will indent each paragraph, with the exception of:

  • The first paragraph of a new chapter.
  • The first paragraph after indented text like quotes or lists.
  • The first paragraph after a one-line space.

As a general rule; the more you try to add in the way of design yourself, the more work it gives us to do.

The two most common causes of designer error:

  • Finding subheads—insert a blank line beforehand.
  • Finding automated lists—do please type in numbered and bulleted lists, rather than using automated lists.

If your manuscript doesn’t follow these guidelines, the editor will send it back to you and ask for it to be re-submitted.

If this is gobbledegook to you, just keep it simple, clean, and aim for consistency above all.

Further notes

  • Print: We are occasionally asked by authors if they can arrange the printing, the answer is no. Considerations of quality, bar coding, pallet sizes, customs—there are a myriad reasons why we have to handle it.
  • Page appearance: There is more info on appearance, font size, paper etc. in the section on Metadata in Chapter 5.
  • Deleting files: Please do not delete any files within the Production Workflow, unless you have loaded something in error. We keep all versions of the text, so we can refer back to them if problems arise later.