Tactical Tuesday: Advice for Self-Editing

True. Most publishers do not expect an author to know their formatting requirements. There are certain variables between publishers such as spaces between lines, font, and indentation, and these are not necessarily the responsibility of the author.

However, learning how to and implementing the following formatting rules will at least gain an author a smile from an editor.

v  One inch margins all around. This means up, down, and sideways. More specifically: top, bottom, left and right.
v  Headers that are 0.5” from the top.
v  Manuscripts should be double spaced
v  Font should be 12 pt and easy to read. An author is always safe with Times New Roman.
v  Eliminate all double spaces after end of sentence punctuation.
v  Eliminate all tabs. Use the automatic indent and set it at 0.5” unless told otherwise.
v  If unaware of the publisher’s preference, use a page break at the end of a chapter. Note: some publishers do prefer section breaks, however, this break can mess with some formatting. Use it only if you know it is your publisher’s preference.

In addition to the above, Pelican Book Group utilizes the following formats. While these are not required, and a manuscript would not be rejected for failure to implement these, editors are always grateful when such issues are resolved:

v  Four asterisk indicate a scene break. These should be centered. Note: use caution. When a return follows the asterisk, authors get that mysterious thick dotted line that is near impossible to remove from the manuscript once it has been saved. To remedy that line (before you save the document), press Ctrl Z immediately after the line appears, and the asterisk will return.
v  The chapters are entered numerically.
v  The chapter numbers should come four double spaces from the top of the page with one double space separating the chapter number from the beginning paragraph.

These simple format changes to a manuscript prior to submission, do provide a look of professionalism to the manuscript. With those in place, an editor can get right to the task of reviewing an author’s work.

Happy editing.


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