Most designers prefer plain text – NO formatting that they have to undo (which causes more work, time and cost).
Ensure all text components have been thoroughly edited and reviewed:
• spelling (including names, etc),
• citations for third-party references have been sourced and are included as required
Of course you’ve already looked at style (is the voice, time, etc. consistent; messaging good, book talking to your audience?), See article on professional edit – very important!
Have everything ready before submitting. Once manuscript has been submitted, keep all changes &/or additions on hold until pre-production review stage. (Making ad hoc changes throughout process is inefficient and will delay processing and increase costs. All adjustments should be done at pre-production review/approval stage.)
Once file is on the press, higher costs are incurred to take file off press, make adjustments, review, re-finalize print file & then set up again on press – and will undoubtedly result in delayed production. SO, make sure you submit final copy and then review carefully at per-production stage.
If your book will be produced in print and eBook formats, be sure to familiarize yourself with the requirements for your chosen eBook retailer(s) prior to finalizing manuscript.
eBook coding has certain requirements that are best taken into account prior to producing any format of the book. See ‘Other Notes’ in the eBook section of these tips.
The cover is the window to your book! Professional help includes providing in proper resolution – 300 d.p.i. images at size for book, geared for orientation required – either licensed stockart (purchased by author, i.e., then you own the license, so you can use it for other things) or using artwork that author has commissioned under explicit agreement – in any case proper credits must be supplied to your designer and included on the copyright page.
An amazing back cover blurb, engaging key words, etc. are key to setting your book apart! Checkout what’s online for examples of how you should position and/or phrase your back cover + ebook description. Then emulate the bits that work & add something different to set your book apart!
Seeing mock-ups of pages with samples of your content is key ~ So ask for a pre-production proof!
The most efficient process (from a cost,ownership and responsibility perspective) is to have your designer layout not just the book cover but also your book — it makes a difference in reader engagement to see the book in consistent flow.
Other items you should provide (as applicable):
• author pic (300 dpi, full colour, JPEG),
• author bio,
• short book description,
• price (CAN, US if applicable),
• any logos (300 dpi, full colour, JPEG or .png file),
• quotes (and source of quote) or other text to be included.
If author has a branded ‘name’ in a particular font – you will need to provide actual font file (i.e. not a .jpg, .png or .psd file as these do not allow flexibility to incorporate into layout and may have licensing restrictions).
If the author has a concept for how they envision cover, by all means provide a sketch or mock-up but make sure to provide individual components as outlined above.
Think about your content!
It is up to each author to ensure their work is original, all copyrights are in order, and any third parties are credited as appropriate (with permissions as required) ~ for example:
- who is the copyright holder (author, organization, other)
- is there an editor, illustrator, photographer etc., that should be credited
- stock art credit, indicate credit
- website or email for the ‘For information:’ line
- review standard clauses and advise if any clauses require adjustment (consult your legal counsel as required for your specific book)
- if people are included, do you have their permission?
If in doubt – leave it out and/or consult your legal counsel!
• NO double spaces after periods.
• NO spaces at beginning of paragraphs
• Single hard return at end of paragraph
• Do not manually insert spacing (i.e. to push text down a line or to centre a passage) by using the space bar key
• If there are bullet-lists – do not use manual symbols and tab key – either use bullet function or leave single spaced and advise under separate cover what passages should be formatted as such
• If you see any TM or ® symbols/references in manuscript, be sure to ask author/org’n to include appropriate notation as appropriate.
• If book contains images (not applicable to eBooks), ensure all images are provided as separate, labelled (book name, subject name, chapter) JPEGs scanned /saved at min. 300 dpi.
• Do not include manual or auto-generated hyphens, e.g., at the end of sentences in order to create a forced break in the line. These will cause errors and require manual adjustment.
• Avoid use of double dashes instead of em dash & unique symbols/characters (®, ä, â, happy face, etc.) unless required as part of name/registered entity.
Some online retailers have special content requirements for eBook files – such as those listed on the checklist below >> Ensure your content meets the requirements of your chosen online retailer(s) to which you are uploading.(Check your online retailer account agreement or directly with your retailer regarding their policies.)
• Is original, created by the Author, and that the Author has legal authority to publish the work.
• Is not, in whole or in part, in the ‘public domain’ and the Author is the sole owner and copyright holder of the content.
• Is accurate, and any quotations from or references to any other literary or artistic work are accurate, factual and explicitly authorized by appropriate parties.
• Does not plagiarize or pirate any other work or infringe upon any rights of any third party, including patent, trade-mark, trade secret, copyright or other proprietary, statutory law or common law rights.
• Does not include any defamatory or unlawful content, or otherwise damaging or unsuitable content.
• The Author has permission to use the name and likeness of each identifiable person whose name or likeness is contained or used within the content.
• Is not currently available as a free download in full or part anywhere on the Internet.
• Is not available in full or part anywhere on the Author’s website, blog or social networks.
• Does not contain SEO keyword spam, multiple hyperlinks to advertisements or affiliate marketing pages, or content primarily intended to advertise or promote products or services.
• If any recipes, formulae, instructions, or recommendations are included, these have been tested, and are not and will not be injurious to any reader, user or third person, and appropriate warning and safety precautions, etc., have been included.
• Ensure there is only one space after the punctuation ending a sentence.
To help ensure your manuscript is layout-ready:
• Do not use tabs or the space bar to format paragraphs or individual lines. Keep paragraphs flush left, no indent.
• Only include a single return between your paragraphs. Adding extra lines will cause very large spaces between paragraphs. Do not use the Paragraph Tool within Word. Do not put a space before a hard return.
• Do not use columns.
• There should be no breaks (i.e. Section or Page) in your document. They are ignored in the manuscript conversion process.
• We will have added a page with basic info such as any appropriate cover credits. Review and adjust as required for your book.
• Be aware that special symbols may not convert properly unless they are characters in a standard font set. Only use a standard font for your document like Times New Roman or Courier New.
• Do not use very large or very small font sizes. We recommend 12pt font size for the body text and 14-18 for chapter titles.
• Extract content that is displayed in tables or sidebars and list it as ordinary text. Tables, inserts and sidebars will not display properly in ePub/eBook format.
• To create a bulleted list, use built in bulleted list tool. Do not insert symbols to create bullets – most symbols will translate into a question mark (“?”).
• Do not include any elements that refer to page numbers. On an eReader, whatever the user isolates on their screen is a “page”.
• Use Caps Lock to type in capital letters if you want text to appear in all capital letters. Do not use the Word format for All Caps.
• Do not use superscripts and subscripts, as they will cause extra leading (space between the lines of text).
• Ensure that any fractions are kept as “1/4” and not auto-formatted to appear as the symbols “¼” as they do not translate correctly into ePub/eBook.
• Ensure that any ordinal endings are kept in line with the text (“1st”) and not auto-formatted as superscript. (As mentioned above superscript will produce added leading.)