Avoid Using “Hard Returns” in your Manuscript

A few weeks ago, we told you to why you shouldn’t allow your publisher to format your book. As a matter of fact, we gave you 3 good reasons for this. However, neither of those reasons were relevant for you, so you decided to forgo formatting the book yourself.

Formatting a book is not a task to be taken lightly. If your book is poorly formatted, it can mean that you aren’t taken seriously. That’s why most self-publishing companies include interior formatting services in their fee. It is understood and accepted that authors usually don’t have time to learn the nuances of interior layout. When you allow your publisher to format your manuscript, there is one piece of advice you should keep in mind:

Don’t use hard returns.

A hard return occurs when you use the “Enter” key to break the line instead of letting it wrap naturally. Most word processing programs automatically take text that won’t fit on the current line to the next line.  Because your publisher will most likely be copying/pasting the text of your manuscript into their book design program, those hard returns can often throw off the formatting considerably. Because of this, publishers normally don’t accept manuscripts with hard returns. The only exception here is poetry books and using the “enter” key to go to the next paragraph.

Other than hard returns, can you think of any other things you had to change in order for your publisher to accept your manuscript?

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.