Should I Format My Word Document Before Book Design?

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_dropcap]W[/fusion_dropcap]hen preparing your manuscript for copyediting and book design, don’t be tempted to add unnecessary formatting. By doing so, you inadvertently create extra work for your book designer—and for yourself—and possibly hinder the production process as the designer takes time to delete all your extra formatting!

The following list will help you prepare your manuscript. These tips assume you are using Word, and that you have hired a professional book designer to lay out your pages.

  • Use descending levels of font sizes to indicate the hierarchy of chapter titles, major headings, and subheadings, and make them bold. If appropriate, number the sections and subsections. This way, the logical flow of your manuscript will be obvious to your editor, and your book designer will understand how to format the headings appropriately.
  • Bold or italicize words that you want the designer to highlight. Be consistent yet stingy with highlighted words—remember that too much emphasis of any kind is the mark of a self-published work.
  • For your editor, use double line-spacing and at least a 12-point font. A serif font (i.e., Times Roman) is preferable to a sans-serif font such as Helvetica.
  • When sending your manuscript to your editor, include graphics so that terminology and spelling can be checked. Replace graphics in the manuscript intended for your book designer with each graphic’s file name.
  • The book designer will move images and tables to a nearby page top or bottom for a clean look, so plan accordingly and don’t expect each graphic to be precisely where you placed it in the manuscript.
  • Press Enter once only at the end of a paragraph. Indicate a new paragraph by using the indent function; don’t use the Tab key to indent the first line.
  • To avoid confusing your editor and designer, use extra returns or page breaks only where you want them in the final book.
  • Don’t use the space bar or the Tab key to align text in columns or tables. Use the automatic columns or table function.
  • Don’t press the space bar twice after the period that ends a sentence. This is a holdover from typewriters and is no longer necessary.
  • Don’t use text boxes; the designer will delete them. If you want text to appear in a sidebar or pull quote, type ***begin sidebar*** and ***end sidebar*** and your designer will take care of it.

Bottom line: Before you proceed, check with your book designer and editor about what you can do to assist constructively in the page layout process![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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