Preparing Your Disc for a Publisher



These days typewriters are rarely used. Authors will be expected to send digital copy once the script has been accepted. A few publishers are dealing exclusively with digital submissions from the start. The editing process varies. Sometimes the editing is done on the paper script, and changes can be incorporated on the disc before it is sent, sometimes the editing will all be done on a computer, normally with the Microsoft Word Tracker facility. As the printing will normally be done from the disc, once the formatting has been incorporated, authors need to make sure all typos have been corrected.

This editing can also be done with Tracker in WordPerfect, but almost all publishers use Microsoft Word. WordPerfect files can be converted to MS Word.

There is no automatic correction of simple errors such as would have been done in the past by the experienced typesetter – things such as extra full stops, spaces between inverted commas and the words they enclose, unequal indents. Instead the copy-editor has to make all these corrections, and can get very irritated with scripts which are full of them! It's not unusual for there to be a dozen such corrections on a page of typescript – within 250-300 words.

It's enormously helpful if authors can deal with such things before they send the final disc, and the fewer the corrections needed, the greater chance of an error-free copy going to the designer and proof reader.

There are other things the author can do to eliminate problems and make life easier for editors. And there are style considerations too.

Note: In these guidelines the following convention is used:

Click Edit > Select     means click the Edit menu, then click Select in the submenu that appears.


What To Do and Why

How to do it in WordPerfect


At the opening screen: To enable you to see what's happening and be able to control it.

Turn on Reveal Codes.
Click View and tick Reveal Codes. You can then drag the bottom edge of the viewing screen up for as far as you want. I find an inch or so is ample, it doesn't reduce the composing section of the page too much. This reveals all the codes with the text in the lower part of the screen, so that you see what you are doing and can, if necessary, take out such things as unnecessar headers and footers.


Control appearance of text easily

Make Property Bar visible
Click View > Toolbars, make sure Property Bar is ticked.


Number pages top right hand corner. This is the most convenient place when looking for a particular page.

To insert a page number:
Click Format > Page > Numbering > Position (drop down menu) > Top right > Set Value (It will normally be set at one so you won't have to do anything else) > OK


Use Times New Roman 12 or 13 point, and double, not one and a half line spacing.

To set font and size:
In Property Bar drop down the menu showing the font names, select the one you want, highlight and press enter. It will apply from that point until you change it. Do the same for the font size.
Format > Font > and select from that drop down menu. At this point you can also set the size, make it bold or italic, and many other options. Then click > OK.
To set line spacing:
Click Format > Line > Spacing and type in 2, then > OK.


Don't change the font size or margin settings part way through.

Set margins at the beginning of the document:
Click Format > Margins > in the boxes type the size you need > OK. It's best to have 3 to 4 cm or 1.5 inches to the left, slightly less elsewhere.


Indent paragraphs by a tab or paragraph format of around half an inch or a cm, not by several taps on the space bar. Spaces for indents tend to be ragged and have to be taken out one by one. It is easy to miss them.

To indent the first line of a paragraph:
Click Format > Paragraph > Format and in the highlighed box 'First line indent' type .5 if you use inches, or 1.5 if you use centimetres. > OK


Justify to the left, not fully. There is no need to centre chapter headings. Do this at the start of the document, or by highlighting the text you want justified differently.

To justify left:
Click Format > Justification > Left > OK.
Use the button on the Property Bar which has several parallel horizontal lines: click on it and the drop down menu shows options. You can choose left, centre, etc.


Let the text run over.

Don't hit the enter key at the end of any line apart from the end of a paragraph. If you do, when the text is set with different margins this return could come mid-line.


Don't leave extra spaces between paragraphs unless you want to indicate a new scene, a change of time, viewpoint or location.

An asterisk here helps to clarify that it is meant to be a break, especially when it comes at the end of a page.


Have only one space after full stops.

Double spaces can sometimes increase to big gaps when the text is right-justified in the book. (If you are used to putting two, a search and replace scan will remove the extra ones.)

To eliminate extra spaces:
Click Edit > Find and Replace > Type in two spaces in the 'find' box, and one in the 'replace' box, > Replace all > OK. A box shows how many have been removed. You will then get a prompt asking if you want to search to the beginning. Click 'Yes', and go through a couple of times until you get 'None found', and click Close.
Tools > Quick Correct > Format-as-you-go and tick the box 'Change to one space between sentences'.
However, as this won't change accidental double spaces elsewhere you will need to search and replace as well.


Check there are no spaces between inverted commas, punctuation marks and text, eg:

'Will you?'   not:   ' Will you ? '

or space between text and punctuation eg:

she said,   not:   she said ,

They are difficult to spot and have to be removed one by one.

Checking for superfluous single spaces is best done on hard copy where they are easier to spot than on the screen.


Don't leave spaces between the three (only!) dots of an ellipsis, or they could run over to the next line.

For the same reason if your paragraph ends with a space and punctuation mark, eg:

' -'   or:   '- ?'

insert a hard space, which will keep the marks together.

A dash or question mark on its own on the next line looks very odd.

To insert a hard space:
Hold down the control key while you type the space,
Ctrl and space bar, then a dash: ' -'
Ctrl and space bar, then question mark: '-?'
(or whatever).


Use as few dashes and ellipses (...) as possible, only where absolutely no other punctuation is appropriate. A dash indicates an interruption, an ellipsis a tailing off.

Too many look like Morse code. They leap off the page and draw attention to the device when the text is single-spaced in a book.


Use italic font, not underlining, for emphasis, but restrict the use of this emphasis to really important words. Too much all together can be difficult and tiring to read. Put titles of books, plays, songs and names of ships in italics.

You can select any words to italicise by:
Hold down the shift key and cursoring along, release the shift key, then on the Property Bar click on the I for italic.
select the words, then click Format > Font > tick the italics box > OK.


Use single or double inverted commas consistently. Check what your publisher uses. If you use curly ones, make sure they are the right way round after spaces.

To change single to double or vice versa:
If you need to search and replace, follow the steps as in 8, insert the " in the 'find' and the ' in the 'replace'. Or vice versa. But – if you have used the opposite to indicate a quote within a quote you will need to go through and replace the double quotes individually. Eg: 'I said "Yes" to it.' should not be left as 'I said 'Yes' to it.'
You can set the automatic correction:
Tools > Quick Correct > Smart Quotes > and tick the relevant boxes, such as single or double quotes, or straight quotes after numbers > OK.
You can also choose which sort of quotation marks to use, straight, curly, sloping.
If you have a curly opening quote after a space (to indicate a missing letter) which is the wrong way round (ie like a figure 6):
Click Insert > Symbol > Typographic symbols (or Current Font Symbols) > select the one needed > Insert and close.


Use ise, not ize endings, if this is the house style of your publisher (or vice versa).

The easiest way, though tedious, to check ise endings is to search for z:
Edit > Find and replace > type z in the find box > click on Find next repeatedly > at each one that needs to be changed to s, and type it in the document.
Don't depend on 'Find' ize and 'replace' with ise because this will change all the correct ize words such as sized. And it will not find words such as realizing where the z is followed by a letter other than e. So checking to change ize to ise needs to be done on hard copy. See list of ise words below.


For alternative spellings, hyphenation, single or combined words, follow a good dictionary. Use English, not American spellings. Be consistent in using them, eg tee-shirt every time, not T-shirt or t-shirt or teeshirt.

To use English spellings:
Tools > Language > Settings > choose English UK > OK.


While spell checkers cannot differentiate between correctly spelt words used in the wrong context, have it switched on to alert you to problems, and if anything is underlined, question it!

To have the spell checker underline in red what it thinks may be errors, or words not in the dictionary:
Tools > Proofread > make sure there is a bullet point before Spell-as-you-go to indicate it is on.


Remove all headers apart from the one for page numbering, and remove all footers. The title and author name should be in the header at the beginning of the file only. Too many headers and footers, eg at each chapter beginning, get in the way and can do odd things to the layout.

You can see these in the reveal codes window – go to each in turn and delete the code.


Combine chapters into one file before sending the final disk, and take out headers etc which you may have used for each separate chapter.

If you have initially made each a separate file, combine all the chapters:
Open a new document, click Insert > File, then go through the folders to find Chapter One, click on the file name > Insert.
Go to the end of the document, press Control-Enter or Alt I P to insert a page break.
Repeat for each chapter.
Save frequently with a new file name.


Turn off the widows and orphans facility. If this is still operating it could upset the page lengths.

To control (disable) Widows and Orphans:
Format > Keep text together > ensure the box beside 'Widows and Orphans' is not ticked.


Turn off the automatic hyphenation, so that you can control the placing of hyphens.

To control hyphenation:
Tools > Language > Hyphenation > and make sure the box beside 'turn hyphenation on' is not ticked.


Turn off automatic capitalization after punctuation marks. This stops a capital after a speech which ends with an exclamation or question mark, eg: 'How are you?' she asked, not 'How are you?' She asked.

To turn off the automatic capitalization after punctuation:
Tools > Quick Correct > Format-as-you-go > and make sure the 'Capitalise next letter after the end-of-sentence' box is not ticked.


Check everything, especially spellings of unusual names, flowers, shrubs, places, and foreign words. Add any accents on foreign words.

To add accents:
Click Insert > Symbol > on drop down menu choose Multinational > find the correct letter and accent > click Insert and go to the next one, or Insert and Close if you have finished.


Include any Acknowledgement or Dedication pages

Best to put these at the beginning, or in a separate file.


If you have quoted from poems, songs, etc, which are still in copyright, make sure you have obtained permission to use them, and include details plus a copy of the permissions letter.

Copyright lasts for 70 years after an author's death, and in some cases longer. You may have to pay a royalty to quote copyright work.


When you do a final check on the computer, put the font to 18 point so that small errors, such as missing spaces or full stops or double ones, are more visible. You can revert to 12 or 13 point afterwards.

Amend the font chosen at the very beginning of the document. Changes of font size within the document will then not be affected.

Words that should be spelt with ise (mostly derived from French):

advertise advise apprise arise
chastise circumcise comprise compromise
demise despise devise dis(en)franchise
disguise enfranchise enterprise excise
exercise franchise improvise incise
merchandise prise revise supervise
surmise surprise televise  

also (different pronunciation):

chemise expertise reprise premise