Manuscript Tips & Tricks

If you are unsure about how to format or structure your contents, here are a few suggestions we have found that will improve the look of your final product.

Text Tips:

  • Type your manuscript in Microsoft Word or a similar word processing program . If you don’t have access to Word, consider a low-cost or free alternative like Open Office. It is generally best not to use Publisher, PowerPoint or another graphic design program.
  • It probably seems very obvious … but be sure to spell-check your manuscript. Proofread thoroughly for typographical, grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Reading it out loud may help you catch some mistakes.
  • Use an EM dash rather than two or more short dashes in your text.  It will give your manuscript a much more finished look. We can convert these for you if you desire.
  • Look for inconsistencies in your manuscript and correct them. If you capitalize all words in subtitles, be sure you have done this throughout.
  • If any quotation marks appear in your document, use double quotes. Don’t use two single quotes in place of a double one.
  • Use only ONE space between sentences, not two. (Yes, this is different from what you learned in typing class!)
  • Scans and photographs for commercial printing must be done a specific way or they may not produce acceptable quality in your book. If your manuscript contains photos, please ask for specs on how they should be scanned. We can scan your photos and/or documents for an additional cost.
  • Don’t type your manuscript entirely in upper-case (with the SHIFT key on). It will be very hard to read.
  • Don’t put returns at the end of each line of typing. Put a single return at the end of each paragraph.
  • Use the TAB key to indent your paragraphs rather than a few spaces.
  • Don’t use any fancy fonts, unusual headings, page numbers, headers and footers, or other formatting, etc. in your manuscript.

Photos and Artwork:
To produce the best possible printed photos, be sure to scan all photos at 300 dpi.  If you are not sure how to do this, please ask us.  It is probably best to scan and save color photos as color images; they can always be converted to black and white if your book will be printed in black only.

Please save each individual photo as a separate file.  The filename may end in JPG or GIF.  Photos to be used in a printed book should be high-resolution.  This is VERY important.  If you have questions or concerns about this, please ask and we will be glad to take a look at a photo or two and let you know if they should work.

If your photos are already digital, they do not need to be scanned, but they may need to be adjusted to produce the best contrast.

If you’re not sure how to prepare your photos, please ask us for more information.