Here's my friend Clayton's second chapter on self-publishing. I share his frustration with submitting.
As I use Microsoft Word 10, most of these instructions are geared toward that. Look at published books to get an idea of what to do.
Font and text:
Once you have the edited manuscript, it’s time to get it formatted for the publisher/ printer. There are people who will format for you for a price, and it may be worth it. I like to do things myself.
See what font to use. I use Microsoft Word and make use of the Styles feature, This is the block in the middle of the tool bar under the Home tab. By right clicking on Normal the conditions can be modified–you can define what Normal is. I use Times New Roman as my font, 12 as the font size, Justified as the setup, and double spacing for my working manuscript. My heading for chapters is New Times Roman font, 14 point as the size, Bold, and center for my text location. That way I only have to click on the Styles block to set up the text. After the editing is complete, I only have to modify the definition of Normal to change the whole document. For submission, those changes would be to 1 or 1.15 spacing.
One advantage to using the Styles is that style changes (e.g. From Normal to Headings) are shown in the Navigation window like an index. This allows you to move rapidly around your document. The Navigation Pane is activated in the View tab.
The chapter heading is not at the top of the page. Publishers vary on what they want. I use 5 spaces (Normal style) before the chapter heading. I use one space (Normal) after.
Size & Margins:
For the working manuscript I use 8-1/2 x 11 paper and wide margins. This leaves room for comments. I also assign Section 1 to the first pages for title, copyright, acknowledgements and other information. If there’s a prologue, that goes before the section for the body of the text. This is so that headings and page numbers apply to the text body. When the editing is complete, change the page size to whatever the book size is to be. Make sure you click on Whole Document box. Once page size is applied to document, set the margins and gutter. Typical margins are 0.5 to left and right and top and bottom. Gutter is the space needed when binding so that the text is visible. Typically, gutter and margin on the inside of the page is about 0.8 inches total. The margins can vary as you decide.
Headers & Footers:
Headers and footers can be installed using the insert tab in the 1st Section. Make sure the “Same as Previous” is off. The first pages with book information don’t normally have headers, footers or page numbers. You can decide to have different headers on odd and even pages, like title on the right hand page and author name on the left hand. Page numbers can be on top or bottom of pages and centered or on left or right. Start page 1 on Chapter 1 which will be the first right hand page of the text body after a blank left hand page. Title page will be on the right hand side with the back blank.
It is usually required to imbed your fonts into the file. I didn’t know that fonts are not part of the file unless they are imbedded, silly ignorant me. To imbed fonts in Word files, click on the File tab. At the bottom of the menu, click on the “Options” tab then on the Save” selection. Under the “Preserve fidelity when sharing this document” heading, click on the “imbed fonts” and check the “Fonts in this document” option. If you imbed all fonts, the file will become HUGE.
It is typical to submit a book as a PDF file rather than a word processing file. Word allows the conversion from a DOC or DOCX file to PDF. IngramSpark (the printer/distributor I use) suggests that the PDF conversion be done under the Print selection under the File tab.
Different publishers want different cover files (JPEG etc.). It also varies whether e-book or print. A template will help determine the size of the cover (page size plus bleed) and the width of the spine (page count and paper type.) My graphic artist, Steve Linebaugh does covers for me which includes the color style. Thank you Steve!
Your cover is the first thing a buyer’s eye catches, so make it eye-catching. Don’t scrimp on cover design. It is one place to put dollars that is needed along with editing. Usually text files and cover files are separately submitted.
I find the submission process the most frustrating part. Don’t be afraid to call and seek help. With IngramSpark, you are the publisher. They are the printer distributor. They are not really helpful, but Steve and I have managed to struggle through the process.