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Tips for formatting manuscripts

Before you begin: set up your document in Microsoft Word, OpenOffice or Mac Pages software.  Do not use old or obscure word processing packages.  You will need to deliver your book to a publisher in Word, Pages, OpenOffice or as a PDF.

First page:

  1. Top left: your name and contact information.
  2. Top right: accurate word count.
  3. Centered, half-way down page: insert title with “by [your name]” underneath.

If you write under a pseudonym, put that beneath the title but insert your real name top left of the first page with your contact information.


Second page:

Header: insert your name, book title and page number right-justified.  As a header this will appear on every page automatically.  Under no circumstances make this part of the book text.

Begin your text…


General document format:

  1. Use a 12 point size, serif font e.g. Courier and Times – not Arial; this is a sans serif font.
  2. Use black letters on a white background.
  3. Set up as single, separate pages, i.e. do not set up as facing pages/booklets.
  4. Use double line spacing.
  5. Use a single space after punctuation, e.g. after full stops, commas, etc.
  6. Left-justify your paragraphs. Right margins should be “ragged”, i.e. not justified.
  7. Indent the first line of your paragraphs by about 1cm.  Set this up as a single tab – do not do it by counting spaces, as these won’t come out even when typeset.
  8. Leave a minimum 2 cm margin all the way around your text.  This allows for annotation on a printed copy.
  9. Don’t insert extra lines between your paragraphs. To indicate a blank line, insert a blank line, then a line with a hash tag (#) in the centre of it, followed by another blank line.
  10. You can insert a line break for a new section within a chapter.
  11. At the end of a chapter insert a page break.
  12. Do not use bold or italic fonts or unusual formatting; simply use the italic and bold options within your word processing software.  This avoids problems with font versions.
  13. Number formatting: 1-10 to be given in numbers form; 10 plus to be given in words: e.g. eleven, twelve etc.
  14. Ellipsis: (…) leave no space between the dots and the word they relate to, e.g.: discover… Also, always use the keystroke ellipsis – not three full points. Three full points will vary in spacing depending on how the justification is set up by the typesetters.
  15. Use hyphens within words, e.g.: up-to-date.
  16. Use an en-dash for a ‘pause’ with a space either side and be consistent throughout the text.
  17. Centred on its own line, insert “End” after the last line of your text.

Last but by no means least:

Proofread before the book goes to typesetting, it will drastically reduce the number of amends the typesetter will have to take in, which will save you a lot of budget. Typesetters can charge corrections to text that is set at £100+VAT per hour

Edit before your file goes off to the typesetter for the same reason.

Letting us format and proofread your book will save you a lot of time and energy.  If you have a project you would like to discuss, don’t hesitate to talk to us about your eBook formatting today.