Formatting Guidelines
 

Before you submit your book to us, we ask that you follow the guidelines on this page. It must be formatted according to our guidelines before you send it to us. The guidelines below are not difficult, but it will require attention on your part.

1.  1" margins all around; 8.5 by 11 inch paper

2.  No headers or footers

3.  No page numbers

4.  No section breaks

5.  Single space lines within paragraphs

6.  Single space after periods at the ends of sentences

7.  Center chapter heads in BOLD type, 14 point font with capital and lower case letters (Chapter Twenty-one). Spell  out the number of the chapter (Three, not 3). The preferred format is to use the word "Chapter" as in Chapter One and not just the number as in "One." This makes final formatting easier and also the creation of a table of contents, which Amazon requires. If, however, as an author you prefer just the number, we can work with that.

8.   Center scene breaks; the preferred format is ~ * ~ with spaces and two paragraph returns before and after.

9.  Page breaks: should be used after last paragraph in a chapter.

 

MANUSCRIPT STYLES:

1.   Use Times New Roman font, and set it for 12 point.

2.   In fiction numbers are generally spelled out. Some numbers are acceptable, such as years (1863, 2005), a full date (25 January 1973, July 4, 1776) military time (07:45, 22:30), house numbers (421 Main, 20512 East Thirty-fourth Street), but when in doubt, check a good style manual or English composition text.

3.   Avoid the use of symbols or abbreviations whenever possible (e.g., percent, not %; Avenue, not Ave.).

4.   Foreign words should be italicized. Be careful about diacritical marks; they are often important and a wrong or missing one can make a word's meaning change. Foreign names and place names are usually not italicized. If you must use them, keep them to an absolute minimum.Many readers don't enjoy plowing through words with accent marks they don't know how to interpret. Foreign words will be left as is. We will not attempt to correctly spell or change an incorrect word to the correct one. Same goes for references to popular culture or technical jargon of any type. Further, we discourage authors from overusing these references (foreign languages, etc.). While theauthor may understand the term, many readers might not and may be turned off to a book because of them. 

5.  Use italics instead of underlines for inner thoughts, emphasis and foreign characters/words. Do not use underlined characters. We seldom use underlined characters in novels.

6.  Use ellipses for omissions in quoted material or for showing incomplete thoughts or faltering speech or thought, not interruptions.

Do not format ellipses and do not space between the periods in an ellipsis. (i.e., ... not . . .). Spaced periods will wrap around from the middle of an ellipse. Then we have half the ellipse at the end of one line and the other half at the beginning of another. Just type in 3 periods, no spaces between and no spaces at front or back. The 3 dots should sit...between words.

7.  Use and em dash or two short dashes in quoted material for an interruption, not incomplete thoughts or faltering speech or thought.

8.  Ending sentences. Whenever possible, stick with periods or question marks to end sentences. Use exclamation marks sparingly; they have far more effect that way. When a sentence ends with an ellipse, (3 dots) you can leave it as if it is deliberately or grammatically incomplete (e.g., "If you ever..." or "I wish..."). When in doubt, use a period and you'll probably be safe.

 

 

PUT A TITLE ON YOUR BOOK! You would be amazed how many authors send us manuscripts without a title!

PUT YOUR NAME BELOW THE TITLE! Again, you'd be surprised how many authors forget to tell us that they are the author! Also, put your EMAIL address below your name. This won't be included in the published version of your book, but it will help keep track of your book.

 

COMMON PROBLEMS:

Please go over all of these points when you polish your manuscript.

 1. I would like you to look for repetition of words (descriptive words should not be repeated within a two page window.)

 2. Some problem words and phrases:
 And then, took, only, just, well, and got: to name a few (should be used rarely if at all) They are poor choices and are not descriptive words
 Be careful of THAT: Reread the sentence. If it makes sense without the word THAT, delete the word.
 Be careful of IT: Ask yourself what it is, then replace the word it with those words.

 3. Punctuation and capitalization around quotations.

 4. Please check point of view and make sure you are not head hopping. One point of view per scene. This is very important to your story. The article at this link is very helpful in understanding pov and how important POV is to your story. This link also explains showing vs. telling.

http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/POV.shtml

 5. Check tags and make sure they are not redundant ie. "Get dressed. Meet me at the church," he said out loud. (This is redundant. Because it is dialogue we know it is said out loud.)
 
 6. Be careful of overused phrases such as--he/she sighed, he/she nodded, he/she shook her head etc.

 7. Check your spellings of same sounding words: to, too, and two.

 8. When you write dialogue, please check and make sure you have a comma at the end of the dialogue before the quotation mark when you have a tag. i.e.
   "Explain it to me," she said.

 9. Your tag needs to be, he/she said or he/she asked. Mumbling, or demanding, or stuttering tend to distract the reader from what needs to be said. Don't use a tag unless it is absolutely necessary to identify the speaker.
 

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