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Three Special Formatting Tips for Authors

Obviously, when you are submitting a manuscript you will need to check the publisher’s requirements to ensure you have used the correct font type and size, the correct margins, and the correct paragraph style and line spacing. However, there are three other things for which you should also watch out, and which will make your editors love you.

1) Tabs

Tabs are evil. Never use tabs. If you wish to indent the first line of a paragraph, do so in the paragraph settings. Tabs can cause all sorts of issues when the publisher formats your manuscript for publication, so if you want to avoid their ire, leave that tab button well alone.

2) Double Spaces between Sentences

This was common practice in the days of hard-copy submission, but in the present era it is frowned upon. Unless the publisher specifically requests a double space after each full stop, stick to a single one.

3) Spaces after the Full Stop at the End of a Paragraph

This is something else that can cause formatting issues during eBook preparation. They tend to occur at times when a writer pauses before typing the next sentence, only to decide to start a new paragraph instead. When I self-edit my works prior to submission, I always check for this and delete any spaces that have slipped in. I’ve yet to find a way in Word to do this automatically, but either enabling paragraph markings or simply clicking the cursor at the end of each line will show you where they occur.

Hopefully following these three tips will help you submit beautifully formatted manuscripts. However, if anyone has any formatting queries, feel free to add a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.


Asta IdoneaAsta’s Annotations is a bi-monthly column in which author and editor Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J. Markus) discusses the world of LGBT publishing and offers tips and tricks to help budding authors.

Asta was born in England but now lives in South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel, all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing. She is never found too far from her much-loved library/music room.


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