Following this advice will significantly  increase your probability of acceptance and get your book to market faster.

Submit Clean Manuscripts

  • Ask me for a Word template that comes with the right styles and margins. Deliver manuscript in Word 2007 (.docx) if possible.
  • Use the styles features in Word.  Each paragraph should have the appropriate style, e.g. Body Text or Heading 1. Don't give them all Normal format and don't apply direct formatting.
  • Remove leading tabs from paragraphs.
  • All sentences should be followed by a single space.
  • Expand all acronyms at first use.
  • Check spelling of all proper nouns.  Make sure you are using consistent transliteration schemes (e.g.  ”Peking” v. “Beijing”).

Submit Hi-Res, Organized, Captioned Images

  1. Please provide images in high resolution - 300 dpi is best. Any file format is ok. PNG and JPEG are safe choices.

  2. Images should not be included in the text of your manuscript submittal. Instead, mark each place where you want an image. The paragraph should use the Picture style of Microsoft Word.

  3. Ask me for a Dropbox file request and I will send you a link that you can use to upload your images. I have Dropbox Pro so I should have ample space. Each image should be named with a unique and human-readable description (e.g. "TexasatNormandy.jpg", not "93jas91f0aa-021fas.jpg")

  4. Please provide a spreadsheet or json document that has the following information for each image:

  • short title of caption (e.g. Figure xx. Battleship Texas at Normandy.) Don't try to apply figure numbers, they often change during layout.

  • caption filename (e.g. TexasatNormandy.jpg)

  • discursive caption: (e.g. "Texas, along with several other older battleships, provided direct fire support for the American forces at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. General Matthew Ridgway commented ...")

    Long captions are generally well appreciated by readers, but remember captions and image are sharing the same limited amount of space on the page. There is a tradeoff between length of caption and maximum size of image!

What Else I Will Need

Book descriptions of 10, 25, and 250 words.

Author biography 1-2 paragraphs, emphasizing reasons why you should be considered expert in your field.

Should I ...?

Have someone write a Foreword?

Yes, definitely. They can have a significant impact on the sales of your book.  They can be short -- one or two pages is plenty -- so they add very little to editing time.

The ideal author of a Foreword is a best-selling author on a similar topic who has a relatively low number of books in print, since this means that when people click on that author’s name they will see one of your books come up in the top few results.

Include a bibliography?

For nonfiction, yes. Because of the impact of additional pages on cost, we should agree beforehand on its length. Also, remember that “complete” means complete: if you are going to have a bibliography, turn it in with the rest of the manuscript.

House style is that the bibliography should reference the most important documents that were consulted that are relevant, even if they are not cited directly in the text. My rationale for this rule is that what you need to cite in the final text depends on the exact points you make, how you phrase them, what happens during editing, and so on. The point of the more complete reference strategy is to give knowledgeable readers a sense of confidence that you consulted the best known sources and to give less knowledgeable readers a better set of jumping off points if they choose to read further on their own.

I like annotated bibliographies, but I do insist that if you are going to annotate it, you need to say something worthwhile about most (if not all) of the books you discuss. Don’t just say “X is a good study”: explain why you like it, and be candid about which books are better and which are worse.

Expect to include an index?

No. Creating an index is expensive in terms of editorial time. Worse, they add duration and opportunities for error to the project at the end of production, the worst possible time. For readers who are determined to have index-like capabilities, I recommend buying the e-book version.