This is an appeal to make life easier for the poor typesetter. Just think of me slaving away twenty hours a day (Kim is such a hard task master). Sweat dripping over the hot metal (computer keyboard really but I’m laying on it thick). Just think of the frustrations and pain that poor formatting causes for this weary body.

How I’m a doing, are you feeling sympathetic?

Here are a few wee tips for those of you who use Microsoft Word to produce your manuscripts that will make my life easier and help me to produce a better book for you (without pulling what’s left of my hair out).

  1. Please, no double spacing. I know there are many of you who were taught to leave a double space at the end of a sentence but in the age of computers that is no longer necessary. I realizethat it may be breaking a habit of a lifetime but if possible, please try.
  2. Don’t use double carriage returns between paragraphs. I have to remove carriage returns using an automated process. If I don’t it would take me a long time to process, and as a result the automated process may remove carriage returns that are required to format a specific passage. This is particularly true for tables that have been laid out as just text.
  3. Make a section break obvious. One problem I frequently come across as a result of removing carriage returns is that a section break in the text is removed. If you use either a star or a line to indicate a break, then it will be clear to me and will not be removed by the automated process.
  4. Use page breaks. At the end of a chapter instead of filling the space with multiple carriage returns use the insert page break function in Word. Again, this will speed things up and also ensure that I don’t miss the change to a new chapter.
  5. Use Styles. The best way to ensure a simple and accurate transfer from Word to a finished book is to use the Styles function in Word. By identifying Chapter Headings, First paragraphs, Body text, italics etc. I will always know exactly what you intended for the text.

I know that this post is slightly selfish but these simple tips will help to ensure that I produce the book you want more efficiently with less back and forth between us.

Think of my poor fingers.

If you would like to ask me about any of these suggestions leave a question in the comments below.

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