Dog Ear Publishing

Author Kit

AUTHOR KIT - Manuscript Format

How to format your manuscript for Dog Ear Publishing

(Please note: You do NOT need to "layout" your manuscript in the way you want it to look as the printed book - our designers will do that for you!)

Step 1: Don't "design" your manuscript

Our designers use software specifically created for designing and building books. MS Word and other word processors are great at creating manuscripts, but lousy at building books.

Use BOLD and ITALICs where you need them.

Create space around heads by using a single return before and after. If you want, style the heads uniquely using the "Heading 1" "Heading 2" and "Heading 3" styles used in MS Word (these are in the menu item that typically shows "Normal" on the Formatting menu choices.) Call us if you have questions.

If you want a page to break in a specific place, insert a manual page break - DON'T use a long list of hard returns (hitting enter multiple times). This should be done when you want a chapter to start on a new page, or a specific element to fall on the next page. You DON'T need to put a page break at the end of each page - MS Word and our software will figure that out for you.

Never, ever, ever use changes in page margin to 'fake' a trim size so that you can see what the book will look like in final layout. If you need to, change the Paper Size under Page Setup. Page margin information flows into our layout software from MS Word - and will create much pain and consternation later in the process for both you and our production team.

Avoid getting too "designy" within the manuscript itself - instead, help us understand what you want during our phone call, and our artistic team will build the design for your book.

Step 2: Your manuscript should be a single file

Don't plan on submitting a different file for each chapter. To avoid unnecessary errors and additional cost, please send us your manuscript as a single MS Word file. We can 'stitch' your manuscript together for you, but it will incur a cost and may introduce unintended errors. It is best that you combine your manuscript into a single file, and we've outlined and offered instructions here.

Step 3: Don't embed your art - use art references.

For example, don't paste "picture01.jpg" into the manuscript, but put a simple directive like this: [Insert picture01.jpg here] - and our design team will find that reference and insert the art. Make sure you use the FILE NAME of the piece of art - otherwise we can't find it.


Please place the caption immediately below the directive to insert the image. Place this text at the beginning of the line - [CAPTION]

For Example - your manuscript with an image and caption would look like this:

[INSERT picture01.jpg here]
[CAPTION] The world's largest cheese wheel.

Step 4: Watch out for extra returns.

Don't hit ENTER except at the end of paragraphs and before/after lines that you want to be by themselves. Our software will determine the line length when we layout your book, and will break them accordingly. Adding extra returns (by either hitting the ENTER key, or hitting SHIFT-ENTER) really wreaks havoc with your final book design.

Step 5: Avoid "auto-formatted" fractions, "ding bats" and "wing-dings" in MS Word.

Our system cannot interpret some of the 'special characters' from MS Word - specifically fractions and items from the 'wing-dings type' font sets. A fraction should be represented as 1/2 (one-slash-two) - not the unique 'one-over-two' special character. To turn off Auto Format in MS Word for fractions, go to Tools / AutoCorrect / AutoFormat As You Type and un-check the "Fractions" check box.

Step 6: Do Spell Check.

Spell check, then spell check it again... really...

Step 7

Read the Author Contract.