Tips for Creating a Publishable Manuscript

The best way to ensure that your self-published book looks and sounds professional is to create a professional manuscript. This will make the publisher’s and your job easier when it comes time to creating and reviewing proofs, and it will lead to a finished product that is worthy of your reader’s time and praise. Here are easy ways to create a publishable manuscript.

  • Always run spell check and grammar check, but never rely on these tools alone.
  • Hire a professional copyeditor. Spell check and grammar check don’t catch all errors, and they don’t pick up style errors.
  • Turn on formating remarks so you can see where spacing may be off.
  • Only use hard returns at the end of paragraphs. Do not use them at the end of each line. Computers are not typewriters.
  • Change margin and page settings from “letter size” to “book size.” This will identify any areas that may need reformatting.
  • Do not use space or tab to indicate new paragraphs. Instead set paragraph settings to first line hanging .25″.
  • Use Microsoft Word to type your manuscript. This will prevent conversion problems.

If you have any other tips for fellow writers, feel free to share them by leaving a comment.

Cheri Breeding ABOUT CHERI BREEDING: Since 2005 Cheri Breeding has been working as the Director of Production for Outskirts Press. In that time, she has been an instrumental component of every aspect of the Production Department, performing the roles of an Author Representative, Book Designer, Customer Service Representative, Title Production Supervisor, Production Manager and, Director of Production. She brings all that experience and knowledge, along with an unparalleled customer-service focus, to help self-publishing authors reach high-quality book publication more efficiently, professionally, and affordably.

Ask the Book Doctor – Writing Flashbacks

Q: My question has to do with formatting. Is there a

standard way to insert a flashback? For example, should I

have an extra line space before and after the flashback?

Should I indent the flashback five spaces on both sides?


A: Formatting is not the only way to indicate a flashback;

it must also be handled with a narrative transition from

the present to the flashback and from the flashback back to

the present at the end. You can, however, also add a line

space before and after the transition, but do not indent on

both sides, which is a formatting device reserved for long

quotations. Do indent the beginning of each paragraph,



What’s your question for Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas? Send

it today to