Publishing Tip: File Formats

There are many different types of software on the market; some come pre-installed on computers while others you have to purchase. So as an author, what software should you use to write your manuscript in?

Different publishers might have their own preferred software, but generally the best file formats for authors to use when writing their manuscript, is usually a Microsoft Word file and pictures as high-resolution jpegs.

Word is a common text programme on most computers so authors should use this to set up their manuscript. Word can also make a graphic designer’s life less frustrating when it comes to using the supplied manuscript to set up into a professional book layout. It can also save on extra design time costs to the author.

Most professional designers will use programmes like the Adobe Creative Suite (which is industry standard). The Adobe Creative Suite contains programmes such as Indesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. The text written in Word can be imported into Indesign and edited into the desired layout by the designer. Programmes like Word are compatible with Adobe which is why it’s importable. Programmes like Publisher for example (though similar to Word) is not compatible with Adobe and therefore cannot be imported.

When it comes to picture files, it’s always best to have those stored as separate high-resolution jpegs in their own chapter folders to keep things organised.

The manuscript you submit to a publisher for initial viewing (if it's digital) can have both pictures and text together within the Word file to show where the pictures go and by what text sections - it acts as a guide (check with your chosen publisher though in case they have a different requirement). If the manuscript is accepted to be published, a publisher may ask for the pictures to be in separate files so the designer can take those files and do any necessary editing within programmes like Photoshop to clean up, change it into the correct specs for printing etc.

Here at World of Creative Dreams, when an author contacts us about a book they have written, we ask them to submit their manuscript as a digital file using Word which contains both the text and pictures. It gives us a visual idea of how their book looks as well as the amount of content, quality of pictures and book context. If the book is accepted for publication, we ask the author for the pictures in their own separate chapter folders so we can easily take the pictures into Photoshop to clean up and edit as well as being able to import it into Indesign and control the placement within the design layout.

Hope this quick tip has been useful. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below.