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Manuscript basics

Manuscript basics. So the only real rule of manuscript presentation is a simple, ordinary one: Your manuscript should look like a clean, professional document. But remember that an agent may be looking at your submission alongside 50 others. Best practice would be to name your file something like The Great Gatsby, Scott Fitzgerald, first three chapters. Or long acknowledgements. But in most cases, all that stuff can wait. Easy readability for the main text itself More on that shortly as well!

Manuscript title page format Applies both to novels and non-fiction books.

Common Editing Issues

A quick genre specifier, if you want it. For a nice looking manuscript, you want to present it in something like the following way: Use double or 1. Use a nice ordinary font. Times New Roman, Garamond, or Georgia are all good choices. Arial is quite common, but maybe better avoided as sans serif text is just harder to read at length.


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Use a font size no smaller than 12, and no larger than Use standard margins. Your existing defaults are probably fine, but check. Chapter breaks should be marked by page breaks, so each new chapter starts on a clean sheet. You can mark each new chapter with a number, if you care to. Do not leave a double space between paragraphs except as a section break.

Professional authors use those things very sparingly. Manuscript format: dialogue presentation. When speech by one character is interrupted by a descriptive line, and then the speech continues, this all counts as one paragraph. Begin the next paragraph with the next speaker. Use single quotation marks for dialogue. This is true even if the dialogue ends with an exclamation mark or a question mark.

If the speaker quotes someone else within dialogue, you show that inner quotation with double inverted commas. Dialogue format: an Example. Manuscript Presentation: Punctuation basics. Your presented manuscript needs flawless punctuation. A few last tips. There is one general rule for punctuation. It is there to help avoid ambiguity. Commas are tricky, but often missed out before names.

Get into the habit of putting them in and you will avoid absurdities like ones noted by Lynn Truss in Eats, Shoots and Leaves. Hyphens are an endangered species, and only the writer can save it. Again, it is vital to avoid ambiguities and absurdities — for instance, the white toothed whale. Is it the whale or the teeth that are white? It is a good rule to avoid lists of adjectives but, when you have them, check to see if any should be hyphenated. You can have a dining room, but a table there becomes a dining-room table. A semi-colon links two related sentences; the second often elaborates or adds context to the first.

A semi-colon is stronger than a comma, not as strong as a full-stop. Colons are used where one sentence introduces another. The rule is simple: use the colon when one sentence introduces the next. The three mistakes that our editorial team sees most commonly are these: Not enough use of commas.

Commas are like a tiny pause within a sentence and they can divide sentences into little blocks of meaning. They can make especially long sentences much easier to parse and comprehend. And commas are free. Use them! These are simple, so get them right. No apostrophes are added to other possessive pronouns like his or hers, either. Get help. I personally charge less, but my definition of editing is very specific. I think your advice was good. I think the article was good also.

I read it as it was saying you could pay up to that much or more. But also that it could be had for less. I am not an English Lit nor have attended writing classes. I am however a published author of two books. I am one of those writers that have run on sentences, mistakes in grammar, improper punctuation etc. I found to college courses that were teaching writing and asked the professor if I could present my book for project grade.

He read my book, called me back in two days and said my book was perfect as it had every textbook error Imaginable and would be great for the class. At the end he gave me copies of all the students work on my draft plus his creative review on my work. A friend of my formatted for submissions for me. We had a good laugh, lunch, and a growing friendship. That may sound trite….. Your advise is wonderful! When I read 18,, 40, just to get it started……no possible way! I do plan on continuing ….

Thank you! Quite right. These are absurd fees when most books sell at most a few thousand copies. Why do you think the advice is wonderful? It might be heart-warming for professional editors, but for writers it is dreadful. If the book is well written it will be ruined by a so called professional editor. I can not understand why anyone who can write would let some hack alter or mess about with what they have written. It reminds me of the credits on a movie right down to the guy that cleans the studio toilets.

Books are not ruined by professional editors.

Manuscript Format: Make a Perfect First Impression | Jericho Writers

Editors are very important in the process of publishing a book. But, editors help even well written books become polished. If you put in a little more effort editing yourself, seek beta readers and critiques, and search for editors who are newer to the field you can get your book where you want it to be without spending a fortune. Your response is appreciated but as expected.

A bit like saying Simon Cowell does not ruin good singers. I still do not understand. If you can veto anything that does not work for you, that surely implies that you could edit it yourself. I can understand that if you are so busy on your next literary masterpiece that you would rather pay someone to edit it.

Surely you are going to edit it again though to make sure the editor has not mucked it up? If someone has to spend 40K to get a book in readable condition, she was either RIPPED off which is very likely or had no business writing a book. Why would anyone edit a poorly written book other to make money out of a hopeless case. Says it all really. So called professionals will do anything for money.

My point was simply that the rates noted in the article were NOT inflated. I completely agree with Lorrie. These prices are not at all inflated.

2. Copyediting

If you value your work enough to invest the time in it, you should value it enough to invest the resources necessary for a quality product. Readers know when something has been done on the cheap. In the end your readers are your harshest critics, they are the ones leaving reviews which can seriously affect your sales. If the book is any good it matters nothing to the reader if so called professional people have been involved. It is the same in all fields,semi proficient, middle of the road journeymen keeping gifted people under. Okay, I understand where we had a disagreement, and I think I may have misspoken.

Readers also pay for a story and I think in the end a good story will always triumph over imperfections Afterall I still find mistakes in the books I read that were published by big name companies. Thanks, Lauryn, for taking the time to explain. Right now, a lot of professionals are having to reprice their offerings, which is precisely why a capitalist economy encourages competition. The market will speak for itself. In the meantime, the Internet has given us access to more knowledge and technology has made everything more accessible to the do-it-yourself types. The truly exploitative will hopefully get weeded out.

I completely agree. Paid transcription from audio about One person did the first edit, I did the fine tune edit and formatted the text to include chapter heading. Did the full color cover myself. Reading this article scared me. I am not a published author but I have always wanted to write. I discoverd CreateSpace and I can design a book cover or ask one of my designer friends to help with that, however I knew there were other costs involved.

The cost of the developmental editor was surprising. Marketing a book properly is naturally going to be expensive. Thank you so much for sharing other cost effective ways of getting a book complete. I am all about shopping around so thank you for sharing another side of the spectrum. Finding quality people is imperative, and many of the higher priced ones are no better than someone on their way up, just make sure you pay attention to recommendations and reviews and do not assume anyone offering services is qualified.

So far as I can see the PURPOSE of the article is to frighten away as much of the competition as possible by persuading first-time writers who cannot get, or do not want, a traditional publishing deal that they cannot afford to self-publish either. U are right its notcheap ursaying but less. Expensive, …. Discounts and free is da shhhhhhiehhhhht. Hey John. I was reading this thread and ran into you.. A traditional publisher will do it all for you, except for the marketing. I did every bit of the research myself in the beginning in addition to working a 60 hour a week job — and still managed to get books written and published.

Hey I want to get started in self publishing my children book. What to do and how to contact you about it? What have you published? What is your experience? Can you provide a link so we can see the quality of your writing? I do agreed with you totally. I am still in the process of copy editing my book etc. I went through seven different editors and they charged me for work not properly done. Book writing devolved years ago. Where have you been? Take a look at the best sellers. They are comic books compared to writing a decade ago.

Your prices are really inflated, for someone on a low budget you supposed to do self publishing because the market is saturated with thousands of writers what if my book sucks? I will be up to my neck in debt. This discussion is a year old, Sunny boy. I encourage all writers to follow their dreams. I self-published with no help at all, and with a zero budget. What prices are you referring to in your comment? Typically, a writer is too close to her own work to be able to see it for what it really is, not what she thinks it is or wanted it to be.

You only have one chance to grab the reader. Make it your best effort. The prices listed are quite typical. Editors, typesetters, cover designers are all professionals, just as are writers. They deserve to be paid for their work, too. If an author tries it out with beta readers, they should be able to tell whether the comments and line-editing the betas are giving them is high quality or not.

The main disadvantage of going with betas is it can take longer. I agree that in the main these prices are way out of range. I think the hours here are inflated. I work with editors who also work for the trad publishers, and the cost is in the range of 1, — ish. These editors are among the best, worth every penny, and get their work from word of mouth. As to covers, Paul is absolutely right. However, my cover artist does covers for the Big 5 and she charges far closer to the low end.

You get what you pay for!! I knew I was a good writer, but the 2 editors I used made my writing so much better! David Lewis, you make a point. It sounds more like coaching than editing. You are wrong, I think that anyone with a good story telling ability is born that way, but needs to be guided because anything in life needs training, if you want to please others! There are plenty of experienced editors outside of the states. I asked for developmental editing and got standard line-copy editing done instead.

I was disgusted after I found out how much money I had lost before I realized. Nothing inflated in these prices — the high end is the high end, which is going to occur when a lot of work is necessary. Plus, publishing a book is no different than starting a business. You have to put in money to get results. Seems that its quite natural for the editors who replied would say these prices are not inflated. Such cynicism. Any decent editor cares more for the quality of work than the cost of the services.

Related What The Hell Happened Full Self Help Manuscript English Edition books

Paul is right; you get what you pay for. Yes, you can go lower, but these are not at all out of whack in my view. Finish it like any project. Then, once you do that, get someone to help you rehearse in the submission of your manuscript! While I agree that some of the prices seem high, I encourage you NOT to mistake developmental editing with beta readers. Beta readers are readers-period-whether they also write is incidental. You cannot compare their reading skill set to that of a professional editor.

Ridiculously low.

Joe Rogan - The Problem with Self Help Books

This makes a lot of sense and this is what I am attempting to accomplish. Especially if you are professional to begin with in your particular field. The story I tell is mostly visual to begin with with wording mainly to guide the student in the proper direction to create the effects found in Art.

So, how can this be done without all the extra go between people to accomplish this task of publishing a good instruction book for others to use, to gain knowledge i have to offer before it leaves with me in the grave? If you are able to judge that your editor has done great work I do not understand why you need him. If you know what great editing is why are you unable to do it for yourself? I ask as newcomer,merely because it appears that by the time ones work gets to the reader it has been turned into a product, much in the same way as the likes of Simon Cowell takes raw talent and ruins it into plastic.

Knowing what good work looks like is not the same as being able to do that yourself. Editing is a different skill from writing. As a writer I also grow my editing skills, but there are people out there who devote all their time to learning how to edit. Just like with cooking you have different options when it comes to editing your book. You can spend a boat load of money hiring a professional chef to cook for you expensive professional editor , or you can attempt to cook an awesome meal from scratch with no help and produce a lesser quality meal not hiring an editor at all , or you can go eat at a culinary school and get a really good meal for a fraction of the price this is my suggestion.

Now, I expect you will say why not just go to culinary school yourself. Having a fresh set of eyes on a piece of writing, eyes that can look at that work objectively, makes a big difference. As for all that nonsense about cooking and restaurants, at least other people agree with me about Simon Cowell.. If they knew how to write ,why would they be editing. If your happy to convince yourself ,go ahead. So much for professionals. Take no notice of me.

I am just a silly, grumpy old man. You seem to have a pretty firm opinion about editors, and a rather negative one at that. But I wonder, have you ever even worked with an editor? Have you ever written something and had it critiqued by another person? I responded to your replies because you seemed generally interested in understanding what editors do, and while I believe authors can get their editing done through a number of different ways to save money, I believe that editors make your book better.

Maybe, if my analogies do not work for you, you should try the process for yourself. Otherwise, you just sound like a know-it-all child, making ridiculous assumptions. How, by the way, is my cooking analogy nonsense compared to your Simon Cowell analogy, or comparing the writing process to a Native American runner? Also, Simon Cowell is a television personality. Yes, if you think what editors do is like with Simon Cowell does, then they would be useless. But what Simon Cowell does is fake TV, bullshit.

I remain firm on my opinion that a second set of eyes is invaluable in the writing process, and my books are better for it. I agree totally and completely. As i have just finished one of three parts in my book series, and have found a publisher, who will handle everything i need handled for less than a thousand dollars. They are a reputable publishing source as well. Im excited for it, and found this article to help out as far as what i could potentially be looking at as far as price. As opposed to believing it to be the end all price.

There are some mispricing measures on the low end though, but the high end is a tad off as well. Shop around. Publishing is becoming a competitive market, so it is vital to keep in tune with what other writers are doing, and get as close as you can to it. There are ways to apply for funding resources. Anyone with a marketing background can point you in that direction. There are grants, and fundraising events that can help obtain the listed prices. Lauryn was also correct in stating, quantity doesnt always ensure quality. Nothing is impossible to the determined mind. Laziness will almost always reflect the effort though.

I would like to warn new authors about 5 getting an ISBN. Even if you are publishing a print book through CreateSpace recommended as an easy way to test the waters you can get away with using CreateSpace-supplied ISBNs. Bowker, the U. Further, the rates Bowker charges new authors and small publishers buying in small lots are rip-offs. Bowker also targets inexperienced authors with overpriced website widgets, barcodes, and other services. This is a great, low-cost way to see if there is interest in your books.

If the books do well, and you want to expand to retail, then get serious with Lightning Source, offset printing, ISBNs, and paid reviews. Ilamont, agree! The U. Bowker or ProQuest, which apparently has some management control over Bowker operates an ISBN monopoly that gives it extraordinary market power in the U. This enables it to get away with mercenary pricing that targets new and naive authors.

They would fight any attempt to have this control taken from them. You just need to fill out the paperwork and register your book. Right, but you have to be Canadian. From start to finish. For better or worst. I thank you all for your input. However, what bothers me the most is that I have not read a book from any publisher that did not contain errors in recent years.

After reading all your comments, I am even more nervous about trying to get published! Learn all the points to be self published. Learn how to convert your book to digital. For print go to CreatSpace, which is owned by Amazon. They have self help that guides you. Talk to local people, I looked at my first book as a learning experience, my second book will be better, my third even better and so forth. Jump in the water.. Lots people will help you. Good article, and good discussion. Question: The links for distribution info only seem to refer to ebooks. I am trying to publish a hardback book not that I am closed minded about also doing it as an ebook.

How do you get setup for distribution on a hardback? You can publish and distribute a print book using CreateSpace. They do decent — not stellar — but decent color these days. Thanks for posting this information. I just want to clarify something. Thanks for this.

The Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book

I do think the last category is understated though both in overall expenditure and rates for marketing professionals. Thanks again! Thanks Miral, but I too find these prices daunting. As for editing, I do think writers can trade manuscripts and copy edit and even do developmental editing for each other. We are all professionals. If you pay for developmental editing your low end is too high. I had to send him a hard copy. That said, he was worth it.

You need to ask around. Hi Erica, Formatting can be free. A lot of authors can do it themselves. Also, a lot of books are getting typos in there. Also, these are market rates for professionals who you might need to hire. Thank you for providing self-published authors with a point of reference, Miral. But, as others have said, she is way off base on her high-end prices. Though she makes a few good points, Ms. Sattar is either…. All the numbers are sourced in the article.

And I negotiate pretty much everything and am a huge fan of the bartering system if you can get value that way. Truth is, there is no upper end, simply because the amount of work necessary or desired by the client can be endless. Way too high. Are you trying to scare writers? Editing, I still think you should have a professional or two. However, do your homework. Get recommendations from other authors. Pay the editor to do your first chapter so you can see the quality of his or her work. I could probably cut the cost of my developmental editing if I had critique partners work on my story first, and thus hand in a better book.

But I go straight to the DE with the manuscript. Granted, if you have a poorly written book, the editing cost could be way high. In which case, the author is better off putting his or her time and money into taking workshops and classes in craft. Perhaps that would be found in literary fiction editors?

So maybe trying to generalize prices and the costs of quality over all genres gives an inaccurate picture. The romance genre has been self-publishing longer, so their prices have matured into more reasonable figures. This was great advice and your prices seem reasonable.

Thank you for sharing this, and I also agree about your comment on taking workshops. The fact that you can buy some of these services very cheaply is irrelevant for the author who wants to produce a quality book that can compete head to head with those from traditional publishers. Thanks for providing this point of reference. I do like seeing the whole process. Perhaps marketing — shown as the last step — belongs at the beginning. Building an audience at the outset e. But you do need to be conscious of quality.

My advice to new authors. To those of you who think these prices are too high, you really need to think through the work involved as I thought the writer reasonably laid out. Products of this store will be shipped directly from the UK to your country. Products of this store will be shipped directly from China to your country.

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