Friday, February 22, 2008

Editing's Do's and Don'ts Part 2

To continue on from yesterday's post, here is Candace with more tips for you when you're doing your edits.

Format, format, format
*Don’t make your manuscript hard for an editor to read. Your manuscript should use a good sized font, and be laid out and formatted properly. Just think of all the poor, unappreciated editors out there who receive submissions that are so hard to read they make their eyes blur. This one factor alone could be the difference between getting a contract or not. (I, for one, am considering lasik surgery and it’s all because of the numerous manuscripts I have to read that make my eyes cross…so come on, lighten up on me already).
*Make Microsoft Word your friend. When in doubt, ask Clippie, the handy little Microsoft Help guy. Make sure you know how to use it to format correctly. If you are unfamiliar with many of its features, take a course – it will pay for itself in the long run.
*Most publishers will post their formatting requirements online. Read them carefully and strictly adhere to them.
-Many times this is your first test as an author. If you fail because you can’t follow the posted instructions, then most publishers will have a pre-formed opinion that you do not pay attention to detail or just don’t care enough to get it right.
-If there are no formatting guidelines posted, use the standard of:
*Times New Roman, 12 point font
*Double space
*Paragraph indent of .5” or 48 px.
*Margins are 1” all the way around
*Prepare a cover sheet which includes:
-Your legal name, address, phone number, Email address, and website (if applicable) in the upper left hand corner of the page
-In the upper right hand corner type the name of your book and word count.
-In the middle of the page, type the book title again followed with “by” and “your name” on the next line.
*If you are using a pseudonym, state your real name followed by “writing as” and “your pen name” on the line below.
*Insert a section break. In Word, go to File/Page Setup/Layout and select “first page different” so that when you create your header there is no page number on this page.
*The first page of your manuscript should also have the title of the book and your name as author.
-Running header of the abbreviated title and your last name on the far left, page number in the far right (remember, cover sheet does not get a page number).
-Chapter Number can be either justified left or positioned in the middle
-Begin the text of your book. There should be no more than 7 lines of text on the first page of each chapter.
-Do not add returns at the end of each line except when transitioning to a new paragraph.
-Turn off all options under Format/Paragraph/Line and Page Breaks – no widow or orphan control, no hyphenation.
-Enter page breaks for subsequent chapters.
-Use *** centered for scene breaks in a chapter.
-On the last page, place the words “the end” centered after the last line of text (and doesn’t it feel good to get there???).

There’s a lot of information here. If anyone has a question regarding specifics on any item, please leave it in a comment and I’ll respond to them all at once in a future post.