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Guidelines for Text

Original Manuscript

You are required to prepare a print version of your manuscript as well as an electronic file.

To ensure the fastest, highest-quality production, please be sure your print manuscript is clear and legible and allows enough space for copy-editing, typemarking, queries, and directions to the typesetter.

In addition:

  1. Print out your manuscript on one side only of 8 1/2" x 11" paper.
  2. Use a good quality paper and be sure your printer has enough toner to produce a clear, readable copy.
  3. Always send the original (clearest) copy to us; keep at least one photocopy for your own reference.
  4. Double-space everything and leave generous margins- about 1 1/2" inches on all sides.
  5. Number all text pages consecutively from beginning to end or use a double numbering system of chapter and page numbers (for example, page 2-4 for Chapter 2, page 4). Do not number the frontmatter: title page, preface, foreword, dedication, or contents. Assemble the manuscript in the order elements should appear, including manuscript placeholders for part openers, cases, appendixes, etc.
  6. Make sure head levels are easily recognizable. The easiest way is to make main heads all capital letters, second level heads caps and lowercase, third level heads caps and lowercase underscored, and so on. These heads should provide an outline of the text and will comprise the detailed contents.
  7. Prepare a title page with your name and affiliation exactly as you want them to appear in the finished book.
  8. Prepare a brief table of contents listing part, chapter, and appendix numbers and titles. Include such backmatter as notes, references, glossary, list of credits, and so on. We need to know the proper sequence of material even though you may still be working on some of it.
  9. Send clearly labeled disks with the manuscript, and be sure the disks exactly match the hardcopy you send us. For an error-free book, it is critically important that we avoid working with multiple, often conflicting, electronic versions. If you need to make a minor change or update after submitting your manuscript and disks, hand write the change on a printout of the page and send it to us. The typesetter will input the change. Never send revised disks while a manuscript is in production. Besides creating confusion over which file is the most current, if we switch to a revised file in midstream, we lose time redoing work that was already in process or completed.

Remember you are preparing a manuscript, not a final printed document. Please resist the temptation to design your material by using different kinds and sizes of type. We ask this for several reasons: a plain double-spaced manuscript is easier to work with and typemark and is less distracting for the copy editor to read. The embedded word-processing codes that create the design may have to be stripped out before we can use the electronic file. And when we design your book, we change the look of the material anyway.

Preprinted Material

Printed pages of text or illustrations clipped from published sources are acceptable as manuscript provided that you glue or tape the pages to separate sheets of 8 1/2" x 11" paper. (Note: multi-columned copy should be cut apart and pasted one column to a page). We can't accept loose tearsheets because they tear and wrinkle too easily, and they have no space for typemarking.

We can work with photocopied material if it is complete and legible, and if you've allowed enough marginal area for typemarking. Don't copy pages sideways (all text must be right side up and only one page on each sheet), and don't reduce oversized pages to make them fit on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet (the type is too small).

Be sure to include a source line and, if required, a permission acknowledgment. The section on copyright and permissions gives more detail on permissions and fair use.


You can prepare a revision in one of two ways: (1) electronically, by updating word-processing disks from a previous edition, or (2) manually, by pasting printed pages retained from the previous edition on 8 1/2" x 11" paper.

If your new edition will be heavily revised but will retain some lengthy sections from the previous edition, we can usually provide you with a downloaded text file of the previous edition in the word-processing format you prefer. Ask your sponsoring editor about the advisability of working from a download. He or she will contact us to provide the needed disks. Be sure to send your revised text disks along with the paper manuscript. Label every disk you send to us with your name and the title of your book, as well as the contents of the disk, the hardware, software, and version it was created on. If you have questions on how to manage this process, one of our project managers will be happy to consult with you.

If you're working with pages from the previous edition—tearsheets—make sure they're from the most recent printing of the book so they include all reprint corrections. You can write short corrections or changes directly on the manuscript (print if your handwriting is illegible). Use a fine point felt tip pen to write on the manuscript; pencil smears with handling, and ballpoint doesn't show up clearly if we have to make a photocopy. Cross out copy you want to delete by drawing a line neatly through words or sentences or by circling a block of type and marking an X in the center. Longer changes and new copy should be typed on separate pages with directions on where to insert them. Finally, be sure to cross out any artwork including photos that you do not intend to retain.

Tearsheet manuscripts are very efficient to produce if your revision is fairly light and you are reusing much of the text and art. If a revision is so extensive that neither of these methods is efficient, prepare your material as though it is original manuscript.

No matter how you prepare your revision, you must include tearsheets or photocopies of any artwork (line art or photos) that you want to retain from a previous edition. A list of figure numbers is not sufficient. We need a visual guide to locate the correct pieces and to ensure that we reuse the right ones. Make sure it's clear what the old figure number was and what edition and page the illustration appeared on. For 2- or 4-color art programs where color is used pedagogically, use tearsheets rather than photocopies, as the color is lost on a photocopy. Write any corrections or updates on the photocopy or tearsheet just as you would do on text material. Incorporate these pieces- and any new ones- into your illustration manuscript. Remember to put a copy in the text manuscript for reference.

A Note on Electronics

Because our books are composed electronically, we may use your word-processing files to avoid rekeying. If so, we don't have to retype each character and word. However, we still have to insert copy-editing changes and formatting codes (the typesetting codes that create the graphic design of the book); render art; crop, size, and scan photos; place illustrations; and make up pages.

When you have several draft chapters, send us both a printout and a disk. We will review them to guide you on efficient preparation of your content and files. Note: if your material is heavily edited, it will almost always be rekeyed. It's much quicker and more efficient to retype the material rather than insert heavy changes and corrections in every line of text.

If we use your disks, keep the following in mind. We don't save months in the production cycle. Keying takes less time than any other step- only one to two weeks for a 1,000-page text. Also, don't assume that it's safe to avoid proofreading. The typesetter must insert many editing changes and formatting codes and import the content into a page makeup program. Software and computers are not infallible, nor are the operators. Careful proofreading is the only way to be sure nothing went wrong. Finally, follow the guidelines for preparing original manuscript, and don't spend needless extra time trying to make your manuscript look like a finished document.

Camera-Ready Copy

Authors sometimes create "camera-ready copy," an old term for finished pages ready to be made into film for printing or printed directly from the author's electronic file without the assistance of a commercial typesetter. If you feel you have the equipment, time, and skill to format finished pages of acceptable quality, a project manager will be happy to discuss our requirements with you, send you a copy of our camera-ready copy guidelines, and evaluate your files for usability.