The Style Council…

Nope. Nothing to do with Paul Weller or pop music of the eighties – just a brief post about TWW projects and document formatting that will make your editors’ lives – and therefore your own – much easier.

Many TWW’s projects are published as e-books, and preparing those manuscripts for uploading is a long and arduous job for those taking on the editor’s role. The task is hugely simplified if those submitting adhere to a universal “House Style”, as detailed below. Where these rules don’t apply (e.g. for poetry or scriptwriting projects), the project outline will offer alternative guidelines.

  1. Submissions should be double-spaced and formatted in 12pt Times New Roman.
  2. Paragraphs should be aligned left (not “justified”, please!), and indented to indicate new paragraphs rather than “double spaced” as for web viewing. It’s useful if first lines (e.g. those after a section break) are fully left aligned (no indent), but not a huge issue if you don’t know how to remove them!
  3. Section Breaks should be clearly highlighted using asterisk(s)  – e.g.  *** – with a single space above and below. You can centre them if you like, but it doesn’t really matter.
  4. Dialogue and Quotes: Use single inverted commas for speech (‘Go away, or I will taunt you a second time,’ said the French soldier) and double for speech-in-speech (‘So then the soldier said, “Go away, or I will taunt you a second time” in this outrageous French accent’).
  5. “Scare Quotes”, used to highlight irony etc, should be double too.
  6. Thoughts / Internal Dialogues are best emphasised with italics (I’ll tell him where he can stick his italics, the annoyed reader thought.)
  7. PLEASE DO NOT use double spaces after a full stop AND / OR add extra space(s) to the existing indent when writing lines of dialogue.
  8. All Documents should be saved in Word .doc or .docx formats. Never EVER as PDF files!

PLEASE NOTE: items 4 – 7 are absolute MUSTS. These are not edits that can be easily corrected with find and replace, particularly if “Smart Quotes” are enabled and embedded in the original document. Extra spaces, if unnoticed, look bloody awful in a finished e-book. Any submissions received with speech marks wrongly formatted or more than the occasional (accidental) extra space will be shunted back to the writer pretty sharpish!

Finally, please ensure that your documents are carefully proofed and vetted prior to submission. Those undertaking the editing of full manuscripts should be the braces end of a belt and braces process, with the original author providing the belt! With the best will in the world, it’s not really fair to expect the editor to do your first draft editing and formatting for you if you can’t be arsed yourself! They’re doing it out of love, you know, so don’t they deserve a bit of love and consideration too? 🙂


Thank you.



2 thoughts on “The Style Council…

    • It doesn’t matter too much, David, as part of the process of preparing a document for Smashwords’ “meatgrinder” involves deleting them all anyway!
      It’s more a proof reading thing – much easier to read initially and to cross reference with the ‘Smashwords’ version when stitching the whole manuscript together. The same applies to the section breaks – Word inserts all sorts of ‘orphan control’ breaks and people add extra returns to balance their pages for online reading – so a clear indication of where breaks are actually wanted makes putting them back much easier.

      That said, I have my ‘Smashwords Style Template’ set to a 0.3cm indent, so if you do that it should come out right whatever the meatgrinder does to it!

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