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Give that Publisher What They Want Dernit! #4: Formating #2 (Advanced)

I am uber stoker to be able to dig into the wild and crazy brain of someone who is out there doing this crazy publishing stuff professionally. When you read this, you’re gonna want to slap yourself silly, because this is hearing it right from someone who does this for a living. For the next few weeks, we will be delving into the slush pile with professional editor and author Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Here we go…

The Writer’s Toolbox: Give ’Em What They Want! Why Formatting Is Important By Danielle Ackley-McPhail

(Originally published in Allegory Magazine ©2011)


So far, we’ve discussed that nothing will help your manuscript if the editor in question is not even willing to read it.

We’ve discussed remembering your contact information, and some basics… How to identify yourself, and your manuscript.

Last week we discussed basic formatting.  Now we’ll go into some special stuff.

Formatting #2

Special characters/formatting – originally when manuscripts were all submitted in hardcopy it was not possible to implement certain formatting or characters in print. Because of this certain conventions were developed to represent the formatting desired. As technology progressed, this changed, thanks to the advent of electronic typewriters and word processors, which had features for special formatting. This formatting issue was rendered all together moot once computers were on the scene. However, even once we had the ability to represent format true to form, manuscripts still had to be physically typeset to create the plates used on a printing press as recently as the mid to late 20th century, and publishers held to the traditional conventions because formatting was often easy to miss, causing errors in the typeset manuscript. Even now that most books are digitally typeset some publishers still require these methods of marking the format be observed. Here they are, for your writerly edification:

Bold – represented by asterisks bracketing the text to be set in bold.

Italic – represented by underlining text to be set in italics.

Underline – I am afraid I could not find a reference to how this was represented originally (before the age of computers) particularly given that underlining was used to indicate italics. I can only presume that is because it was and/or is exceedingly rare for underlined text to appear in books. (That, or I’m just not hitting the right search phrase that would give me the information I’m looking for.)

Next week we’ll discuss my personal nemesises… ellipsis and emdash.

Be there or be square, or, ummm… rejected?

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over seventeen years. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books.

Her published works include four urban fantasy novels, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, and The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale. She is also the author of a single-author collection of science fiction stories called A Legacy of Stars, the non-fiction writers guide, The Literary Handyman and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In An Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections, including Rum and Runestones, Dark Furies, Breach the Hull, So It Begins, By Other Means, No Man’s Land, Space Pirates, Space Horrors, Barbarians at the Jumpgate, and Mermaid 13.

She is a member of the New Jersey Authors Network and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

Danielle lives somewhere in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail, badassfaeries, darkquestbooks, lit_handyman), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DAckley-McPhail). To learn more about her work, visit http://www.sidhenadaire.com, http://www.literaryhandyman.com, or www.badassfaeries.com.

Website and/or blog www.sidhenadaire.com, http://lit_handyman.livejournal.com, http://damcphail.livejournal.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/DMcPhail

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/danielle.ackleymcphail

Amazon author page   http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-McPhail/e/B002GZVZPQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1331314265&sr=8-1

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/989939.Danielle_Ackley_McPhail



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