While I'm formatting my manuscript, does Trafford Publishing have any guidelines to help create a clean and professional layout?
Trafford Publishing can offer you guidelines to help you create a clean and professional layout. Having a consistently formatted manuscript means less work for you in the editing stage, less time and effort for our designers to format your book and a quicker turnaround time for getting your book published.
Consistency applies to things like the font you use, line spacing and justification, paragraph indents, spacing after punctuation, chapter headings, etc. Line spacing, font size and style should be consistent throughout the main body of the text, although bold or italics can vary. Additionally, as a general rule, it is best not to overuse bold, italics or underlines, which can be very distracting to the reader.
Paragraph indentation may seem like a simple thing, but many authors do not start paragraphs consistently, switching between using the tab key to start a paragraph and pressing the space bar instead; this causes inconsistent indentation. You may also prefer to have a space between each paragraph rather than an indentation, but consistency is key.
With punctuation and other formatting choices, decide what you like and be consistent. For example, some authors like to use one space after punctuation that ends a sentence and some like to use two spaces. Consistency also applies to other punctuation styles, such as dashes, smart quotes or straight quotes, ellipses, etc. You can use the "find/replace" function in Microsoft Word to assist you in locating and changing these details so they are consistent.