First Steps to a Well-Edited Manuscript

A professional editor can polish your manuscript to make it look sensational and make you appear brilliant. But first, here is a useful list of basics that you can take care of yourself.

  1. Single space after the period.

  2. Use a hyphen between words that form a compound modifier, like “long-term.”
  3. Use a dash to indicate an abrupt interruption—like this.
  4. Use true ‘single’ and “double” quote marks rather than foot and inch marks.
  5. Place single quotation marks inside of double quotation marks.
    “Shocked to hear her whisper, ‘Don’t move,’ I froze,” Emily reported.

  6. Use a “curly” apostrophe, not a foot mark.
  7. Place commas and periods inside quotation marks. “Please place your commas and periods inside the quotation marks,” Gwen requested. “If you don’t”, she added, “Your book won’t look as well as it might”.
  8. Avoid the use of bold. For emphasis, use italic.
  9. Do not use underlining for emphasis; use italic.
  10. Choose an appropriate bullet, and use it consistently.
  11. For the main text of your book, serif typefaces are the easiest to read. (Times Roman)
  12. For headings, san serif faces work best. (Helvetica or Arial)
  13. When typing your manuscript, don’t type 0 for O (zero for capital o) or use l for 1 (ell for one).
  14. Use, but do not rely on, spell-checking software.
  15. Pronouns should agree with their subject.
  16. Be consistent.

Copyright 2003 Gwen A. Henson, SageBrush Publications

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