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Home > Book Production Guide > Cambridge > English for Language Teaching / English as a Second Language > Preparing a typescript for submission
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Cambridge English / English Language Teaching

1. Preparing a typescript for submission

Your commissioning editor will have provided you with a clear brief of the material you have been asked to write. This brief will include information on some or all of the following:

  • extent (i.e. how many pages your typescript should be)
  • structure (e.g. how many units, subsections, answer keys, etc.)
  • style for the given project (e.g. does the material follow the style of another book in the series)
  • font and point size
  • tapescripts and/or artwork briefs

If at any point during development you are unsure about aspects of the brief, then you should contact your commissioning editor for clarification.

What do you need to provide?

The standard requirements, as stated in your contract, are:

  • One original and one duplicate copy of your typescript (See section 1 The final typescript)
  • A computer disk or email attachment of your work (See section 1.2 Submission of electronic scripts)
NB It is vital that the hard copy you supply to your editor is identical to the electronic version you supply. Make sure that you retain one duplicate of the hard copy yourself.
  • An artwork brief containing details of all line illustrations, artwork and photographs needed (See section 3.1 Artwork brief)
  • Originals of any illustrations/facsimile material you are providing (See section 3.2 Photographs and 3.3 Facsimile material)
  • Permissions list with accurate details of the sources of all copyright material you wish to include (See section 4 Copyright)
1.1 The final typescript

With virtually all types of publication, a typescript will go through several draft stages. Even if a lot of redrafting is involved, it is essential that the final version of the typescript that we receive from you is complete, accurate and legible.

The typescript should contain everything that is to be printed except the index (see below).

In addition to the main text this may include:

  • the title page, including the way you want your name/s to appear on the cover and in publicity material
  • thanks and acknowledgements
  • contents list and/or an overview of the units in the style of a map and where applicable:
    • dedication
    • introduction to reader/teacher/student
    • preface
    • grammar reference section
    • vocabulary lists
    • tapescripts
    • appendices
    • answer key
    • bibliography
1.2 Presentation


  • The typescript will be photocopied so you should print your typescript single-sided on good quality A4 paper with clear black text
  • Margins must be of at least 1 1/2 inches (4cms) on all four sides to allow space for the editor's, designer's and typesetter's marks
  • Everything must be double-spaced including lists, quotations, footnotes and references
  • Do not staple together the different units or chapters of your typescript
  • Start each unit or chapter on a fresh page

Changes and corrections

  • Any corrections made to the typescript must be legible. If you do want to write in minor changes, do so above the line. Do not correct a typescript with proof correction symbols and avoid writing on the wrong side of the paper, on flaps, or in the margin, as these may be missed
  • If you supply replacement pages after your typescript has been submitted, date them so it is obvious which is the most recent version


This is prepared at proof stage when the page proofs are available showing page numbers. Your editor will tell you how many pages there are available for your index, and how to calculate the length to fit the pages.

Your editor can arrange for a freelance indexer to compile the index at your expense, but it would still usually be necessary for you to list the items that must appear.


The length of units in student material will be agreed with your editor and material written to fit the space available. The approximate length of a professional book will also be agreed with your editor.

1.3 Submission of electronic scripts

Submission of a typescript on disk is essential for all projects. NB It is vital that the electronic copy you supply to your editor is identical to the hard copy you supply. Make sure that you keep a back-up of the files you send to your editor.

The disks you supply are used to provide the initial input into a conventional typesetting system. You are not expected to 'design' the final book in your word processing program. In fact it is more helpful in the long run if you can avoid too much formatting of the text (i.e. bolding, italicising, indenting, etc.). The more fomatting there is in the typescript, the more difficult it is for the typesetter to convert your files into the programs they use to design your book.

1.4 Style and Conventions

Your editor should supply you with a style guide that we ask our authors to use. There may be particular styles or spellings that are not in the standard style guide. You should discuss these with your editor and agree a style.

See sections 2.1 Style and 2.2 Conventions.

1.5 Bias / Cultural sensitivity

Cambridge ELT endeavours to ensure that our publications are free from bias and stereotyping of any kind and you should be aware of this as you write.

A further consideration is that, theoretically, ELT books could be sold virtually anywhere in the world and so it is important to avoid causing unnecessary offence. Be aware of the subjects that you know to be taboo in other cultures but avoid presenting an unduly sanitised view of Western culture. Your editor will also look out for topics, etc. which may be inappropriate.

2. Style and Conventions

2.1 Style


It is Cambridge ELT style to use minimum capitalisation so use only initial capital letters in all headings (e.g. Unit 2.2 The family, not Unit 2.2 The Family).

In professional books we generally use two or three weights of headings within a unit/chapter: main headings are sections within a unit/chapter, secondary headings are for subsections within sections and minor headings are for yet further divisions in subsections. To avoid confusion for the reader, try to avoid using any more subdivisions than these. In student material the subheading system can become very complex and so, if massive reorganisation at a later date is to be avoided, it must be discussed and agreed with your editor as soon as you have written one or two units.


As a general rule, units/chapters are divided into decimal numbering, i.e. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and so on. Sometimes the numbering system will need to allow for more subdivisions and in such cases you should discuss the various possibilities with your editor as early as possible in the writing process. We do not usually use full points after numbers in exercises. With both headings and numbering we try to keep to a particular system (or a variation of it) within a series and so it is advisable to refer to similar Cambridge University Press publications for guidance.

Exercise rubrics

Try to be as clear and consistent as possible in your rubrics. Make sure the instructions in the student's material are directed at students and not the teacher and vice versa.


It is costly to use page and line cross-references because they have to be inserted at page-proof stage. Wherever possible, refer to other parts of the text by exercise or section number as these remain unchanged and can be typeset at the same time as everything else.


Give a simplified reference in the text after each extract, e.g. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. Your editor will prepare full acknowledgements for inclusion at either the front or back of the book when copyright permission has been cleared. (See section 4 Copyright)

Phonetic transcription

Use the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). The best models are found in:

  • English Pronouncing Dictionary 16th Edition, Daniel Jones, Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • English Phonetics and Phonology, Third Edition, Peter Roach, Cambridge University Press, 2000.
2.2 Conventions


We use capitals without full points, e.g. USA, EFL.


In formal prose (e.g. text in methodology books) we prefer to avoid contractions. In student material we use contractions and full forms as they would be used in natural speech and authentic texts. For example, a rubric may be worded 'Don't forget to...' while an example of an instruction would read 'Do not use a dictionary'.


We use the forms 4 May 1954, 1990s, nineteenth century.


We normally close up obliques only when they separate two words, e.g. to have the final/last word. Otherwise a word space is needed on either side to avoid misunderstanding, e.g. My car broke down / wouldn't start.

Inverted commas

Single quotes are used except for extracts (which have none) and for quotations within a sentence or paragraph which is already in single quote, e.g. 'Comments ranged from "a unique approach" to "inaccessible and self-indulgent".'


In general, measurement should be metric unless it is appropriate to use imperial units.


Where there are two possible spellings use the first spelling given in The Cambridge International Dictionary of English and then be consistent. We will accept either version of common spellings, e.g. 'recognise' or 'recognize' but make sure that 'recognise' does not mutate into 'recognize' and ensure that all other -ise endings (rationalise, criticise) are standardised. Look out also for consistency in the use of hyphens and one or two words, e.g. role play/role-play. One should be chosen and used consistently.


The consistent use of punctuation, e.g. in exercises, lists, etc. makes a book easier to read.