Preparing Your Manuscript

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In this section:

    Sample manuscript layout

    In order to make the design process efficient, we need you to format your manuscript, as a Microsoft Word file, in a very specific way. Click here to download our Sample Manuscript Layout Word file. This shows you what your finished manuscript should look like and offers lots of useful advice. Please read the entire document.

    Before you start

    You’ve signed your contract, now you need to prepare your manuscript for production. Take your time. We would much sooner have a clean manuscript than a rushed book; the end product will be better, and the process will be quicker.

    We have put down a target date for the manuscript in the Manuscript Upload and Approval Workflow section of the Production page, under Expected Date. Please change this to a later one as appropriate – it will help us keep track of progress.

    Before you begin, make sure your manuscript contains:

    • Any Introduction or Foreword.
    • It is polished and complete.

    House style

    Our feeling is that it’s best to stick with your preferred style, and confine copyediting to ironing out clear grammatical mistakes and making it consistent.

    However, we do have a House Style, (eg we prefer American Spelling) and which our editors will work towards unless you tell us otherwise.

    Never assume that the Copyeditor or Designer will understand what you want unless you spell it out clearly.

    The basic formatting rules

    • Do make sure your entire manuscript is in Word's normal style, with paragraph indents removed (see instructions above).
    • Do left justify your text.
    • Do use Times New Roman, 12pt for text, 14pt for headings, single spacing.
    • Do use accents and special characters from the “Symbols” option in your word-processing program.
    • Do use en rules for ranges and em rules for a dash in the text.
    • Don’t use grey or coloured text. You can have any colour so long as it's black.
    • Don’t indent or tab new lines (turnovers).
    • Don’t use double spaces after full stops or any other punctuation (full stops, colons etc.) In fact, don’t use double spaces anywhere.
    • Don't use a carriage return at the end of lines (except for poems).
    • Don't number your pages. Our design program does that automatically.
    • Don’t underline text. To add emphasis, use bold or italics.
    • Don’t use Macros. Macros are a series of Word commands and instructions that you automate group together as a single command to accomplish a task automatically.
    • Don’t use automatic hyphenation; use hyphens only when they are part of a word.
    • Don't use multiple returns to start a new page.
    • Don’t use the space or the tab key to indent text - use the ruler bar. The space bar makes different size spaces depending on the other letters in the line of text.
    • Don't use more than five line breaks to separate text. This creates blank pages in most reading devices.

    Set your entire manuscript in Normal style

    Do not try to design your book in the Word file! This is the Designer's job. If you have a specific font in mind for the finished book, please make a note in the Author Stylesheet section of your Production page. Otherwise the Designer will choose an appropriate font at the Proofs stage.

    Please just follow our instructions.

    • Select all your text by pressing CTRL/(CMD on Mac) +A.
    • In the Home menu, click Normal style.

    Modify the Normal Style to the following setting:

    • In the Home menu on the Styles section of the toolbar, right-click Normal and then Modify.
    • Change the default font to Times New Roman.
    • Set the default font size to 12.
    • Set the color to black.

    Now you need to make sure there are no paragraph indents. Click Format, then Paragraph:

    • In the Special box, select None
    • In the Spacing box make sure Before and After are set to 0.

    This puts the text in a consistent style and removes any paragraph indents. InDesign, our design program, adds indents automatically, if you do it yourself it will mess up the process.

    Modifying the Normal Style will change the formatting on your document so re-check it THOROUGHLY.

    Go through your manuscript carefully and re-apply any elements that may have been lost. For example:

    • Your italics may have disappeared, and you will need to re-add them.
    • Word is sometimes buggy and some bits of text may not have been successfully applied as Normal, and will need to be selected manually and done again.

    Carriage returns

    Don't use a carriage return at the end of lines (except for poems). If you do that, then someone has to take them all out again.

    A carriage return is when you press the return button (⏎) on your keyboard in order to move your cursor to the beginning of the next line.

    Use a carriage return only at the end of a paragraph by pressing the return button once.

    You can see the carriage returns in your document in Microsoft Word by clicking the Show/Hide formatting marks on the Home ribbon.

    This is possibly the most important point of all, and the most expensive to remedy.

    Order of material

    The majority of authors won’t need all these preliminary pages. Just add the ones appropriate to your book.

    • Preliminary pages.
      • Endorsements.
      • Previous books with ISBN.
      • Title page (Title, Subtitle, Your Name).
      • Dedication/Epigraph.
      • Contents page.
      • Preface.
      • Foreword.
      • Acknowledgements.
      • Abbreviations or acronyms.
      • Maps.
      • Introduction.
    • Manuscript.
    • End Matter.
      • Author Biography.
      • Previous titles.
      • Note to reader
      • Appendices.
      • Notes/References (comprises works mentioned in the text).
      • Further reading.(suggestions for texts that will provide additional information).
      • Bibliography.(texts consulted by author, maybe organized by chapter).
      • Glossary.
      • Index.


    Lay out your endorsements like this:

    An important and fascinating book about the origin, history and impending demise of the ego – humanity's collective dysfunction. The Fall is highly readable and enlightening, as the author's acute mind is at all times imbued with the higher faculty of spiritual awareness.

    Eckhart Tolle, bestselling author of The Power of Now and A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose

    Feel free to add all your other books whether we are the publisher or not.

    Provide the:

    • Title.
    • ISBN.
    • If you already have a book(s) published with us, leave a note for the designer to update the prelims on your previous title(s) to include the current one.
    Don't include links to book retail sites in your manuscript. If the front-matter or end-matter contain a link to a website that references books for sale other than through Apple, the book is rejected for sale on their platform. If you add a link to your book or Author Page on Amazon, it will be rejected. If there is a link to a webpage that appears to sell books, it will be rejected.

    Title page

    Add the full title and any subtitle, the name(s) of the author(s).


    This should include:

    • Foreword (with the name of the writer).
    • Preface and Introduction (if any).
    • The Part titles (if any).
    • Chapter titles of the text, together with subheadings within each chapter.
    • End-matter titles including the Index.

    Check that the chapter titles match those in the text.

    Remember, don't add page numbers – these will be added at the Proofs stage!


    Written by the author to explain the purpose of the book and its target audience. It’s a chance for you to communicate directly with the reader, establish a relationship with him/her. It usually ends with your name or initials. Personal thanks are, generally, included at the end of the preface.


    Usually written by a renowned expert in the subject at the invitation of the author.


    Can be listed separately or included in the preface. It is not necessary to ask permission from people to acknowledge them. Acknowledgements for borrowed illustrations and tables should be included in the captions.

    For fiction, and certainly for children's/YA, it's better to have Acknowledgements at the back of the book, so that there's less to scroll through on Amazon Look Inside at the start.


    This may form part of the prelims or be included in the text, depending on length. Broadly speaking, if it’s short and by its nature stands outside the text, it should be in the preliminary pages; if it is long, it may be better treated as an introductory chapter to the text and numbered accordingly.


    If you have Parts, number them I, II, III, IV and refer to them in the text as Part I, Part II, etc.

    Part titles normally stand on their own on a new right-hand page, with the next (left-hand) page blank and the following chapter starting on a new right-hand page.


    New chapters start at the top of the next page. Do use the Page Break feature when starting a new one.

    • Don’t type chapters in all capitals.
    • Chapters should be numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 and referred to in the text as Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc.
    • Chapter titles should not be too long – certainly below 50 characters (letters plus spaces etc.), so that they can be repeated at the top of each right-hand page as headlines.
    • Chapter titles are best in capitals (i.e. the first letter of each word capitalized). If you want upper and lower case, their use should be consistent with the same words in the main text.
    • For non-fiction, it is almost always preferable to have chapter titles. For fiction, its more usual not to. If your book is non-fiction do not have chapter titles, skip the Contents page, and make a note to that effect in the Author Stylesheet box.
    • If your chapters are short and there are lots of them, as in daily readings, and the length of the book is an issue, they will run on. If that is a problem, make a note on Author Stylesheet.
    • It does not matter if chapter headings have already been used as titles for articles.


    Do not use more than three levels of heading (the chapter title does not count). Preferably, do not use more than one.

    • Ensure that the headings within a chapter are consistent and logically ranked.
    • Do not center your headings.
    • Use 14 pt font size.
    • Do insert a blank line before subheadings.
    • Don’t type headings or subheadings in all caps.
    • If you have more than one level, indicate your headings’ relative importance by using consistent fonts and/or type sizes for each level of heading and provide an explanatory key on the first page.


    Don't indent paragraphs, as the design program will register the carriage return and do this automatically.

    Don't add an extra line space between paragraphs where the subject changes (they create too many problems, particularly at the top and bottom of pages, and are too easily seen as errors. Either change the text to avoid the need for the extra line, or please use three asterisks or a subheading.

    • Do use a carriage return at the end of paragraphs.
    • Your manuscript will look as though it has no paragraphs, but our design program WILL format them correctly. Trust the process.
    • If you must have a blank line or two, hit the "return" or "enter" key twice and add “ZZZ Insert X Blank Lines”. Be sparing in your use of white space. Too much of it can end up looking like a printing error.


    Do add a blank line before and after indented quotes.

    The design program does not pick up indented quotes automatically, they have to be done manually, and this will help show the designer where the quote is in the text.


    Avoid tables if you can.

    A handful of them can take more time to set than the rest of the book.

    If there are any changes at proof stage, the whole thing has to be reconstructed bit by bit.

    They also don’t transfer to ebooks.

    If you really need to, we offer presentation guidance in Tables, Images, Illustrations, diagrams, and photos (and we reserve the right to discuss a charge for it).


    We generally prefer you not to use images, but if you have to, do not add them to the Word document.

    Images must be uploaded separately and their place in the manuscript marked with zzz. See Images: Illustrations, diagrams, photos for instructions.

    Other textual features

    Type in numbered lists, rather than using automated lists.

    If you want to use other ways of presenting information, such as boxes or tinted panels (tinted by typesetter), mark the first page with the relevant passages. Type “zzz” before and after the relevant text. Similarly type in “zzz” to mark where you want illustrations to appear, as in: zzz Fig 3.

    Special and mathematical symbols

    If you use mathematical symbols in the text, supply the font for the typesetter.

    There are so many different ones around it is better for all if we use yours.

    As well as having them mentioned in the prelims, you may also wish to add a more extended look at your previous titles to the end-matter with accompanying description and blurbs.

    Note to reader

    An increasing number of authors do want direct contact with readers, and put their website and maybe email address in the prelims or end-matter of the book. You may want to consider this. There are disadvantages – there can be no responses, which might be discouraging; there might be too many, which can get tedious; they might be aggressive, which can be upsetting. But in general, it helps to create a community of readers. Don't mention specific sites, as Apple will reject any book that references a competing site such as Amazon.

    Example: Thank you for purchasing TITLE. My sincere hope is that you derived as much from reading this book as I have in creating it. If you have a few moments, please feel free to add your review of the book at your favourite online site for feedback. Also, if you would like to connect with other books that I have coming in the near future, please visit my website for news on upcoming works, recent blog posts and to sign up for my newsletter:}. Sincerely, AUTHOR


    Many books do not need footnotes. But if it is a reference-style work, it always helps to cite your sources, particularly for reviewers. They often come to snap judgments on books on the basis of the range of reference used. Give credit where it is due.

    If you DO use footnotes, put them at the end of each chapter, not at the bottom of the page. Footnotes at the bottom of the page do not work in ebooks – pages show differently on different e-readers, and if you increase the font size for ease of reading, they are no longer at the bottom of the page. Linking notes is too expensive to do.

    If your manuscript comes in with footnotes at the bottom of the page, we will ask you to resend it with the footnotes at the end of the chapter.

    The position of footnotes in the text is indicated by footnote indicators – superior numbers running serially throughout each chapter.

    Present them in the numerical “Chicago” style. Please don’t use roman numerals. They have to be changed individually, and it takes too long.

    Use the Superscript function for footnotes and endnotes.You must enter each endnote number in the text in Superscript to make it the right size. Superscript is on the Word formatting toolbar – it is the button that has x2 on it. To superscript, just highlight the item and click on the button, then type the endnotes in manually at the end of the chapter or the end of the book, in the same size type as the rest of the text.

    Check that there are no omissions and that the number of notes in each chapter corresponds with the number of notes in the notes section.

    Do not use the Microsoft Word automated footnote feature. If you want to use footnotes or endnotes you must enter them manually. Our design program does not translate footnotes or endnotes correctly when we feed the Word document into it. These can also cause the ebook conversion to fail!If you send in a manuscript that has used this facility we will have to return it to you for amendment.

    If you have used automated footnotes or endnotes, here is how to strip them and add manually:

    • Copy and paste all endnotes (in order) to a new document. They will all come out numbered 1, so renumber them manually in the new document.
    • Go through the automated superscript numbers in the text one by one.
    • Delete the automated superscript number (this will automatically delete the corresponding endnote).
    • Replace it manually in superscript (press CTRL+SHIFT+= to superscript the number). Important note: Once you’ve deleted an automated superscript number the next automated number will become 1, so keep track of where you are.
    • Copy and paste the list of notes from the new document back into the manuscript (at the end), and label them endnotes.


    Add them in a list at the back of the manuscript under "References."

    Please cross-check that all the references cited in the text are included in the list (and vice versa), and that the name(s) and date match (if using the author and year system).

    Please include the publisher and place of publication for book references, and the volume and page numbers for journals. Most manuscript queries arise from missing or inaccurate information presented in references.

    For more detailed information, and on how to quote internet sources, read the OU Harvard Guide to Quoting References.

    Check your notes and references otherwise Apple may reject your book from its store

    Apple is very picky about its ebook files. They will reject your book for sale if:

    • It has notes or references that are not linked (this element will add to the conversion costs, approx. £0.10/$0.17 per page for one-directional notes. Our sales through Apple are marginal. We will assume you prefer not to have the cost deducted from royalties and are happy not to have the book available there, if your book has notes, unless you say otherwise).
    • There are links and references to buying on Amazon (and Barnes and Noble and Google is applicable).
    • Nudity is shown on cover.
    • There are spaces in the .xhtml file names.
    • The front cover is too small.
    • The pictures have too many pixels.
    • There is a price on the cover.
    • Any charts/tables/images are scanned in.
    • There is too much interactivity.


    We avoid indices as much as we can

    We are not an academic publisher bringing out scholarly works. For popular books indices are not necessary. Sometimes, where they might be helpful, they are not worth the time and cost. Reviewers who complain about the lack of an index in a book are usually not familiar with publishing economics.

    If you really want an index, we require you to provide it.Do consider that, increasingly, most of your books will be bought digitally, where there will be no index, and making an index could be an unsustainable effort in time and cost. You might want to consider a “Select Index” of a couple of pages; it may be a good compromise, avoiding the need to include everything.

    If you want to use a professional freelance indexer, you can find one via the Society of Indexers (UK) or the American Society for Indexing.

    If you want to do it yourself you will need to pull out words to be indexed as you do your final edit, and add them to the back of the manuscript. Important words can generally be picked out on a single reading.

    Put a note in the Production Workflow Section notes that you would like to do an index. When the final proofs are done, they will be sent to you. You can then manually search the final proofs to find the correct page numbers that need to be in the index. Complete your index and return it to us.

    Use single spacing, with each entry beginning on a new line. Use a comma to separate each entry from the first page number.

    If you wish to provide a full index, minor topics can be included in the more general ones with a “see” reference to the indexed term. This can be done as the index progresses, or a fuller index can be condensed in this way at a later stage.

    Important note: when you get the final proofs in the form of a PDF of the book from the designer, your viewing program may give you two options on how to display pages of the document:

    • Numbered 1 onwards in Arabic, regardless of whether or not there are pages numbered in roman as well
    • Exactly as numbered, e.g. i, ii for prelims; 1, 2, for main text

    When you search the proofs, go for the second option, as otherwise all the page numbers will be out by the number of the prelims.

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