Self-publishing: file formats from writing to proofreading
Most manuscripts are written and edited in MS Word or other word processing programs. The program you then use to design and proofread your manuscript depends on the type of publication.
Editing your manuscript in the correct format
You can do all the editing in Word (or another word processing program). For more information about the editing process, go to: The three stages of editing.
If the manuscript is going to be designed using a graphic design program, before you start editing, ask the graphic designer to clarify how they want you to format the manuscript.
The formatting in a Word document will need to be kept simple for easy conversion into the graphic design program. The graphic designer will tell you what fonts to use for headings and sub-headings. If there are any graphics, images or diagrams, they will ask you to leave those items out of the Word document and those items will need to be inserted during the graphic design stage. And you’ll need to type in a ‘tag’ (or whatever type of identifier the designer has requested) wherever a graphic, image or diagram needs to be inserted into the publication.
File formats for electronic publications
Your manuscript needs to be designed and proofread in a format compatible with the e-publisher’s requirements. For more information go to: Epubbing: ebook formats.
File formats for hard copy publications
Most printers need you to submit your manuscript in PDF format.
Designing your publication in Word
If the manuscript is mainly text-based (for example, a novel without many illustrations) and simple in design, the printer may give consent for you to design then proofread it in Word format. The manuscript is then submitted to the printer as a PDF file, and the printer converts it into their own format and creates a final ‘proof’.
As errors can be created during the conversion process, you must check or proofread the ‘proof’ to ensure the manuscript is error-free prior to printing.
Designing your publication in a graphic design program
All manuscripts can be designed then proofread in a graphic design program; for example, Adobe InDesign. The manuscript is then submitted to the printer as a PDF file, and the printer converts it into their own format and creates a final ‘proof’.
You must check or proofread the ‘proof’ to ensure the manuscript is error-free prior to printing.
Note: On Time Typing uses Adobe InDesign to design our publications.
For information about e-publishing in general, go to: Epublishing guide.
For information about publishing in Australia in particular, go to: Epublishing Antipodean issues.
For articles about editing and proofreading, go to: Editing and proofreading (for writers and editors).
For articles about self-publishing, go to: self-publishing.
Proofread by Dee Sansom, On Time Typing
Sally-Anne Watson Kane is owner/operator of On Time Typing, specialising in self-publishing services: writing, editing, proofreading, graphic design and producing publications. For more articles go to: blog.
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