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illustration by tom osbornePREPARING THE MANUSCRIPT

The first step is to get the text of your book into a computer file or files. These days most people type their manuscripts using a program like MSWord but if this is not the case, there are several options open.

Computerized Manuscripts
If you have already keyboarded your manuscript into a computer file, you should have it proofread and corrected, preferably by a professional editor (see Editorial Work).

Typewritten Manuscripts
If your manuscript has been typed on a typewriter, it can be scanned into a computer file that can be edited in a word-processing program. This is faster and easier than having the manuscript keyboarded.

After the pages have been scanned, the computer file that contains the text should be proofread, preferably by a professional proofreader (see Editorial Work) as the scanning program is "guessing" at each letter and any smudging or marks on the pages will be confusing. Following this proofing, corrections should be made to the computer file(s) before the file is sent for layout.

Handwritten Manuscripts
If your manuscript is written in long-hand, you will need to have it keyboarded into a computer. If you don't have any long-suffering relatives or close friends who will do this for you, local university or college bulletin boards are a good place to find listings for people who you can pay to keyboard your manuscript. Another possibility is to look in the Yellow Pages under "Word Processing" to find a list of companies who provide this service.

After the manuscript has been keyboarded, have the file proofread, preferably by a professional proofreader (see Editorial Work), and make the necessary changes.

Once editing is complete, the manuscript file or files can emailed for layout or supplied on a CD/DVD.

Make sure that you keep a backup copy of the computer file or files for your book in case something happens to the computer that holds the files.


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