To make editing a smoother process and to avoid extra charges, please format your manuscript as follows before emailing it to me. I edit in Microsoft Word and utilize Track Changes for inline edits, comment boxes, and may also include feedback via email or documents.
Send me doc or docx files for editing. As for specifics:
- Body of the text should be formatted with:
- Times New Roman, 12 pt. font. Black text.
- 1 inch margins.
- 2.0 line spacing. Yes, double spacing. Please. It makes for easier editing.
- Left aligned or justified.
- First line of each paragraph indented using First Line Indent, not a tab.
- Cut extra hard returns. They are ignored by e-readers. At the bottom of this page is a cushion solution.
- Mark scene breaks with either # or * * * so I can find them. Be consistent.
- Use the ellipses character as you write. I’ll hand build and ensure consistency.
- Remove double spaces after periods and stray spaces before hard returns.
- Use Curly Quotes when writing rather than straight. If there are stray straight quotes in your doc, let me know.
- Insert a page break at the end of each chapter. A shortcut makes this easy! CTRL and Return on PC. Command (⌘) and Return on Mac.
- Set Word doc to your preferred language. Select all text in the document and then change the language.
- Include the story title and/or author name in file name.
- Consider formatting text messages in Arial so they are easier to find for final formatting in your preferred book-creation software.
A few more tips to help you save time, effort & frustration.
Easily find Text Messages in your manuscript so formatting your final finals is a breeze.
For those who want to preformat, use the Styles Pane. This tool will make your life easier once you learn how to use it. Beyond Normal, a few styles I use consistently are:
- Chapter heading – Header 1
- Subtitles – Subtitle
- POV changes or dates – Subhead
- Scene breaks – Ornamental Break
- Quotes or anything that needs to be offset from normal text – Block Quote or Quote
- Letters, poems, notes – Verse
If you want more details, here is a simple video tutorial to get you started.
To change Word’s Normal style so it opens a new blank document to look exactly how you want it, watch the video below that I found. She demonstrates how to change the global Normal Template and several other tips I found useful. Each document you open will then be formatted as you choose. If you want Georgia or Times New Roman rather than the default font, Calibri, or new documents with double spacing and an indented first line, then this is the video to help you out. I recently made this change. Now starting new docs is a breeze. No more tedious style changes once I’m 10 pages in.
If you write in Word, this is a great trick to use when you begin your story without changing your global template. This is a per document change and should be done early, before any special formatting like italics, bold, underline is implemented. You lose special formatting once you adjust the Normal style, so I repeat: this is for when you are first starting a new document. 🙂 However, it’s a great tool when used at the right time.
To make changes to the Normal style, format one paragraph as you’d like the body of the document to look. Now select that paragraph text, right click Normal in the Styles Page (Home tab), and click Update Normal to Match Selection. This will ensure the body of your document looks the same throughout. See screenshots below of this magic in action.
This can also be used to change chapter titles, ornamental breaks, subheadings, all with minimal effort. If you realize your chapter headings are indented by half an inch when you wanted them centered, you don’t have to go to each chapter heading to fix it. Instead, edit one chapter title formatted with style Heading I, then update to match selection. Anything that already was styled as Heading 1 will be updated.
Use Line Spacing Options to insert cushion before or after chapter titles, subheadings, and ornamental breaks rather than using multiple hard returns you only have to go back and delete. All those hard returns entered one after the other are ignored by e-readers, so you’ll only end up with only one blank line. E-readers rely on styles, CSS (cascading style sheets). See how to do this on Word for Mac below. Word for Windows and 356 will be similar.