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Electronic Files

It is nowadays advantageous, for reasons of time-saving in production as well as accuracy of the final product, to generate the text of books direct from the author's floppy disk or other electronic source, rather than having such text typeset from scratch by another party. Once we have tested your sample disk and confirmed that it is compatible with our systems, it will be possible to go ahead on this basis. The following is a brief explanation of what will be involved for you the author.

When you submit your final manuscript for production, you should send us a printout and (as a back-up) a disk that corresponds precisely to the printout. A designer and copy-editor will then be assigned to the project at our end, and you will hear from the latter, probably within a matter of weeks, once she or he has had a chance to start work on your typescript.

Testing a sample disk to ensure compatibility

Unless you are already in a position to submit your final manuscript ready for production, we would be grateful to receive from you, at the earliest possible opportunity after the signing of your contract, a sample disk containing parts of your book. This need be nothing more than a segment/segments of draft text, but it should contain at least an example of each of the following wherever appropriate to your book:

  • some lines of straight text
  • some underlining and/or italics
  • a numbered footnote/footnotes (either at the bottom of the page or in a separate file)
  • some quotation marks
  • a chapter title
  • a chapter number (i.e. an arabic number on its own near the chapter title)
  • a prose quotation set off from the main text (unless inappropriate to your book)
  • a poetry quotation set off from the main text (if appropriate)
  • a bibliographic entry (if appropriate)
  • a table (if appropriate)
  • an equation (if appropriate)
  • an example (if appropriate)
  • any other 'displayed' data in lists, columns, etc.(if appropriate)

Your test disk should be accompanied by a double-spaced printout (corresponding exactly to what appears on the disk) and the completed Electronic Manuscript Information form giving details of your hardware and software.

Remember to label the disk with your name, the title of your book, the name of the program and the word 'test'.

Preparing your manuscript on disk

You should follow the general guidelines outlined in Preparing a typescript. In addition, please observe the following:

  • Save your files in a word-processing format unless we have given you other, specific, advice.
  • Use a separate file for each chapter and, if possible, for the notes. The notes should be numbered consecutively throughout each chapter and printed out separately from the text.
  • Number your pages in one sequence throughout the typescript, even if you have to do this manually after you have printed out the hardcopy.
  • Make sure that the accents and special characters are clear. If your computer cannot reproduce an accent or special character clearly, please 'tag' it with a code in angle brackets so that we can change it globally on your disk, and ensure that it is clearly marked on the hardcopy.
  • If your book contains tables, please avoid using complex commands for laying out the content. Use only the following to distinguish between elements of a table: one word space to separate words within a column; one tab to separate one column from another; paragraph end to separate one row from another.
  • Ensure that no computer codes are left visible in the hardcopy.
  • Label all disks with your name, the titles of your book, the program and the word 'final'.
  • Make certain that the disk and double-spaced hardcopy that you send to us are the final version and are identical. Keep a back-up copy on disk (we cannot guarantee to return your disk to you after the production process is over) and a complete, paginated hardcopy for easy reference during the copy-editing stage.
  • Remember to protect your disk in the post.


Once we have received your final disks and hardcopy, and the book has been assigned to a copy-editor, production will proceed in one of the following ways:

1. The copy-editor will edit your book on-screen or on hardcopy, correcting spelling, grammar, punctuation etc. The copy-editor will correspond with you in detail during the copy-editing process and discuss any proposed changes with you.

2. The copy-editor will tag the electronic copy or mark-up the hardcopy so that the typesetter can correct and code your disk.

Design and production

Once the disk is in its final, corrected state, the design will be concluded and the disk used to generate page proofs.

It is worth emphasizing that the text of your book must be absolutely finalized, in consultation with the copy-editor, before the disk is used to generate the page proof. As proof correction is prohibitively expensive, changes at proofreading stage must be restricted to actual errors. All necessary last-minute checking of quotations, reference etc. should be undertaken before copy-editing is complete, during your period of correspondence with the copy-editor.