Manuscript Preparation

This page provides you with some of the issues you should keep in mind while developing your manuscript.


1. Manuscript Files:

In the case of manuscript files: If you haven’t really laid out your book yet, go to your bookshelf, library or book store and recognize what you like about the appearance of other books. You must consider font types, sizes and spacing, header treatments, chapter beginnings and the placement of page numbers. Remember that all these elements should reflect the character of your book. Make notes of layouts that you like and refer to them yourself or share them when your book is being designed.

Please Note:

a. All fonts that you use must be “embeddable” within a PDF file. The following are “safe” fonts to use:

= Arial
= Book Antiqua
= Bookman Old Style
= Garamond
= Tahoma
= Symbols

Serif fonts are best for printed documents. Use serif fonts like Garamond, Book Antiqua and Bookman Old Style for blocks of body text.

Sans serif fonts are best for online documents and for display text. Use sans serif fonts like Helvetica, Tahoma, Arial and Verdana if you intend your book to be viewed online.

Although Times New Roman is suggested as a font for books by many, we suggest you don’t use it as readers suffer a “font fatigue” having seen it repeatedly.

Here is a nice article on choosing the right fonts for your book. Here’s an infographic.

b. When using graphics, you should always embed them into the document. Embedding means that when you save the document, the graphic is saved as part of the document file. Do not “link” graphics.

2. Cover Files:

Consider your cover design carefully. It must be readable and appealing and should communicate some of the tenor of the book. To convey this appropriately, gather artwork or photos that you like and you feel reflect the meaning of your work. Please ensure that you have permission to use such artwork and photographs.

If you have the tools and the ability to use them to create a complete cover design, by all means use them. On the other hand, if all you have is Powerpoint or Paintshop or any of the many graphics packages that create lovely greeting cards or edited photos, resist the temptation.

You can calculate the thickness of the spine for your book by using this freely available resource. Guidelines for cover design can be accessed from here.

3. Photo and Illustration Files:

Please Note:

a. All images must have a resolution of 300dpi or higher in order to achieve optimum print quality. Dpi and ppi are explained here.

d. Black and white images should be in grayscale mode. Colour images should be submitted in CMYK mode.

c. One should also pay special attention to the design of the book spine as it is, often, the only way you can adequately market your book while it sits on a bookshelf.

g. Do not go use clipart or pictures downloaded from the Internet without ascertaining whether you have the right to use those pictures. Moreover, the use of clipart especially gives the book a bad image.

Software You Can Use:

There are many word-processing programs available that will help you design your book. Among the many that have been tried and tested, we have zeroed in on Lyx. Like one of our users said, “there is a learning curve involved, but it is worth the effort”. Take your time mastering the software, there is much you can do with it. And the Help Files and Internet Resources will provide you all the answers you need.

Scribus is another versatile page layout program you can use, especially if you are familiar with Adobe® PageMaker, QuarkXPress or Adobe® InDesign. Scribus is free to use and can be downloaded from here.

Cover designs and illustrations within the book can be developed using Inkscape, a freely available vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.