Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Publishing Pitfalls

Welcome back! I’d like to take some time this week to look at what exactly authors need to do in order to get their manuscript ready for publication—as well as reveal some common mistakes authors make when submitting for the first time. Hopefully you will gain much more insight into what it takes to get your manuscript “clean” and in line with our guidelines.

When you sign on to publish with Xulon Press, you will have the option of choosing to print your book as either a black & white or color book. Once you have made your selection, you must then review the preparation guidelines for submitting your books according to our printer’s recommendation. These guidelines can be viewed on our website at the following locations:

For the sake of ease, I will list here some items of note. Many of these items are common mistakes that we see repeatedly from first-time authors who have never published a book before. Keep in mind that it really pays to have a second pair of eyes on your manuscript just to ensure you haven’t included any of the following:

• Do not include page numbers on your TOC (Table of Contents) or on actual pages. Our typesetters will add these in during formatting.

• Do not add headers or footers to your manuscript. Your book’s title will be placed in the header by our typesetters.

• Do not use the Enter/Return key at the end of each line as you would on a typewriter. This is called a hard return. Let the text automatically flow from one line to the other. Only insert a hard return at the end of each paragraph.

• Do not use the space bar or tab key to align or indent your text (with the exception of poetry). Any indent you want in your text should be done with the margin controller. Use the tab key only to indent the first line of each paragraph.

• Do not manually insert hyphens to indicate where a word should break at the end of lines.

• Do not alter your document’s page setup. We will do this once we are ready to format your book. Please leave the paper size set to “letter” and all margins set to normal.

• Do not insert graphics into your manuscript; these must be submitted separately to your Author Services Representative, and not within the body of the text. This rule does not, however, apply to PDFs.

If you do not feel comfortable submitting your manuscript as-is, or if you are having trouble understanding the guidelines, we offer an approved list of Xulon Press referrals who can proofread and copyedit your manuscript to get it in ship-shape. All of these professionals have experience in the publishing industry and have worked under extreme time constraints, so rest assured that you—and your book—will be in good hands.

Once your book has been copyedited and/or proofread, you are now ready to submit it to your Author Services Representative. Congratulations! From then on, it will be considered “In Production”—and the Xulon “wizards” will begin weaving their magic to turn your hard work into a beautiful end product.

Next week, we will discuss what happens when your book is “In Production,” as well as what you can expect during this process.

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