Marina Oliver – Preparing your disc for a Publisher

Preparing Your Manuscript and Disc for a Publisher

And How to do it in WordPerfect

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.

At other times 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.

Editing a ms for digital publication can also be done with Tracker in WordPerfect, but almost all publishers use Microsoft Word. So WordPerfect files normally need to 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.

WordPerfect for Writers

While many writers prefer to use WordPerfect, publishers expect a digital ms in MS Word on disc or by email.

And documents for publication as ebooks are normally submitted in MS Word format. (Gone thankfully are the days when conversion by ebook publishers to ebook formats did not always produce the expected results. The conversion is now normally very reliable.)

But many writers are not trained typists, and may be unfamiliar with some of WordPerfct's control functions.

And conversion of WordPerfect to MS Word documents can be fraught with problems. The guidelines below may therefore be helpful for new writers, even though they were hammered out many years ago!

In these guidelines the following convention is used:

Click Edit > Select
This 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. 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 unnecessary 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
Font: 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 used 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 whole document to the left, not fully.
There is no need to centre chapter headings. Do that later on finished document 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.
To eliminate extra spaces from whole document:
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, especially at the end of paragraphs.
Eg:'Will you?'   not:    'Will you ? '
A dash or question mark on its own on the next line looks very odd.
If necessary insert a hard space, to keep the marks together.
Don't leave a space between text and punctuation eg:
she said,   not:   she said ,
Don't leave spaces between the three (only!) dots of an ellipsis, or they could run over to the next line.
These extra spaces 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.
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: ' ?'
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.
To select any words to italicise:
Hold down the shift key and cursor over the text to be in italic, release the shift key; then on the Property Bar click on the I for italic.
Select the words as above; then click Format > Font > tick the italics box > OK.
Use single or double inverted commas consistently.
Check which 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:
Use search and replace, as above, inserting " in the 'find' and ' 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.'
To 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.
To change 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 or ize endings consistently
Depending on the house style of your publisher.
To change ise/ize endings
The easiest way, though tedious 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 or American spellings, depending on your publisher or market. But be consistent in using them, eg either tee-shirt or T-shirt or t-shirt every time.
To use English spellings:
Tools > Language > Settings > choose English UK > OK.
Your spell checker cannot differentiate between correctly spelt words used in the wrong context
But have it switched on to alert you to problems, and if anything is underlined, question it!
To set 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.
To combine separate chapters files:
Open a new document, 'save as' with a NEW file name
Note: Many problems can be avoided by always using the full document title in files names. Eg 'The Fallen Idol' not 'Fallen Idol'
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 in sequence.
Save frequently with the SAME file name.
Now check the whole document for extra spaces, headers and footers, etc, as above.
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.
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.
Tools > Quick Correct > Format-as-you-go > 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.
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.
Any quotes 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.
Do a final check on the computer
Change the font to 18 point so that small errors, such as missing spaces or full stops or double ones, are more visible.
Don't forget to revert to 12 or 13 point afterwards.
Make these font changes at the very beginning of the document only.
Any changes of font size within the document will then not be affected.
Words that should be spelt in English with ise (mostly derived from French):
Also (different pronunciation):
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