How to prepare a manuscript for publishing

I can't teach you everything about preparing a manuscript for publishing, but the following tips will save you a great deal of time:

1. Unless you are going to self-publish, or use POD (print on demand) yourself, DO NOT extensively format your manuscript with properly aligned illustrations (images), page numbers, footers and headers, proper fonts for sections and the like. Your publisher will request a plain-text version of the manuscript, and their professionals will format the book by using professional desktop publishing software, not Microsoft Word or Publisher.

2. Do not attempt to use Publisher to prepare a manuscript for a publisher. This Microsoft program is not taken seriously by anyone as it has too many problems.

3. Run a spellcheck, a grammar check (in Microsoft Word), and have the book proofread by half a dozen people. You must proof-read the book yourself as well, but from a printed copy. Looking at a printed copy is very different from staring at the screen. And it is not all due to being distracted with a million other things on the computer -- your eyes notice things you miss on the screen.

4. SAVE SAVE SAVE your work as you edit it. Don't keep just one file -- create many copies of the file as you work on it.

4. When working with illustrations and images:

a. Always note the source of the illustration.

b. Always save the original as the highest resolution available.

c. Only use third-party illustrations the licensing terms of which allow you to use it in your book. For example, images and content on "free" sites such as Wikipedia may be under a share-alike license, which means that you cannot use it for commercial work. If you see an image or content without any mentioning of licensing terms, then it is automatically copyrighted and not available for use without the author's or creator's permission.

d. Whatever processing you do to the original, always keep a copy of the original for backup

e. If your publication will be in B&W only, then all illustrations must be converted to grayscale first. Also note that the image may look very different, or much worse compared to the full-color original.

f. Images are imported into a text file as the last step, if ever. It is better to keep images out of the body of your manuscript.

g. Make sure that no processing on the image is done within the word processor or desktop publishing program such as resizing, conversion, etc. These programs always mis-handle the images, and introduce pixelation, aliasing, and the like.

h. Keep vector file formats away from raster file formats, and do not convert vector file formats to raster file formats just to consequently import them in a word processor or a desktop publishing program. Find an editor which can work with vector file formats directly.


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Page last modified 15-Apr-12 22:23:40 EDT
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