How can you save yourself money and keep your designer happy to boot? By preparing your documents in the correct way.
If you have written something you would like published (it could be a book, a brochure, an article for a magazine or a blogpost,) in an ideal world you would hire a copy editor to refine your text – but sometimes that’s not possible. Here are a few suggestions on how to prepare your copy which will save your designer time, and will also save you money.
1 Please don’t put two word spaces at the end of a sentence; this is incorrect. If you look at any professionally published material, like a newspaper, you will see that double spaces do not occur. To take them out can be quite time consuming. A relatively easy way for you to do it yourself is to use the Find/Change function in Word or Pages. Don’t make a global change (i.e. ‘Change All’); approve each change individually, then save the document.
2 Don’t use unnecessary styling in your document. If you use lots of different text sizes, colours and font variations for decorative reasons, they will all have to be stripped out by the typesetter. By all means use bold and italic for emphasis, but use very sparingly. Never underline.
3 If you are using photos with your text, feel free to put in a placeholder image (i.e. to import the photo into Word or Pages to show its position) but please also send the picture file separately. If your article is for print, make sure that your image is high resolution. Not sure what this is? Read this blogpost. It’s also fine to say ‘place image xyz.jpg here’ instead of inserting a placeholder.
4 This is optional, but if you learn how to use style sheets, you can communicate to your designer the exact hierarchy of your headings. She will be using style sheets herself (probably in Adobe InDesign for print and in WordPress for your website) and replacing style sheets leaves less room for error than creating new ones does. Find out how to use Word style sheets and Pages style sheets by following these links.
5 Don’t use the tab key to indent paragraphs, they all have to be removed when typesetting takes place. Use a style sheet to indent your text if required.
6 Finally, proofread, proofread again, and then get a colleague to do it. Producing a publication with errors will not reflect well on you or your business.
Need help? One of our regular writers should be able to help you, or if you need someone who specialises in your niche, we’ll know a writer who does.
About the author
Annette Peppis leads the team at Peppis Designworks, a creative hub of established publishing industry experts who create books, branding, marketing material and design templates for leading publishers and businesses. Keep in touch by subscribing to her bi-monthly emails.