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This brief author’s guide is based on our own writing and publishing experience. Please contact us for more detail. Also, for reference we suggest the article preparation guidelines for Over the Front at:

www.overthefront.com/Over-the-Front-Submissions.php

General

All manuscripts must be submitted as Word-compatible electronic files. All our books are designed and laid out on a computer, so electronic text files are essential for speed and accuracy.

Above all, please be considerate of the reader when writing. In particular, that means being clear and consistent in style, spelling, abbreviations, etc. (It would be a big help if you would make a list of important terms [unit designations, etc.], key names, and other style decisions so we will know the preferred form. This list will also help you while writing—if you make it at the start of the project [very highly recommended] instead of the end.)

Many readers have a primary language other than English, so please avoid slang, idiomatic usage, or references to cultural terms that may not apply to other cultures.

Use charts, graphs, or tables instead of text to present large amounts of data.

The purpose of formatting, layout design, and punctuation is to help the reader. The recent trend in some publications has been to eliminate as much punctuation as possible to reduce keystrokes; this makes reading harder. 

Please remember to be consistent in your style of presentation. Consistency of style, formatting, and presentation is important to help the reader navigate the book and make sense of the contents.

When sending anything irreplaceable (e.g., original photos or artwork), please use a commercial service such as UPS or Fedex. Commercial services are more reliable, have package tracking, and the package can be insured as appropriate. Regular mail is less expensive for copies and other items you can easily replace.

Text File Basics

Please use text wrap within paragraphs rather than using a line return as you would with a typewriter.

Please do not hyphenate words; we will do that when typesetting if necessary.

Please run the spell-checking program for obvious errors. We use Americanized English spelling because we are American and they are easier for us to proof-read.

We depend on you for correct spelling of foreign words and names. Please pick a spelling or transliteration and use it consistently. We recommend entering the spelling of unusual terms in your custom spell-checker.

If you are including tables of data, please send the table file separately from the files with the body text. This avoids the problem of changes in one affecting the other. 

Please do not use end note references in tables; the tables may be placed out of sequence of the body text end notes during layout. Instead, all notes referring to tables should be placed below the table. Please note that once text files are placed in InDesign, the layout application, all edits must be done manually, including re-numbering end notes, etc.

Please avoid footnotes, which are difficult to handle during layout. Please use end notes instead.

Using styles in Word can help keep your text formatting consistent and makes it easier when importing the text to the layout program. However, please avoid manually formatting text in tables, etc., to look right in Word; we have to remvoe all that in the layout program. If you are creating tables and want the columns to align, learn to do that using tabs or create an actual table in Word.

If there are specific places where photos or tables should be, please note them in the text file and highlight so they are easily seen. These notes will be removed and not appear in the book.

Photographs

Photographs are very important to our readers, and the higher the quality the better. Photographs may be submitted as originals or high-resolution scans, but please do not send Xerox copies! Xerox copies lose information and lack the subtle gray-scale graduation information needed to print a quality photograph on paper.

Scanned photographs should be in TIFF format and scanned at a minimum of 600 dpi in gray-scale; higher resolution is better. 

Photos come in many shapes/dimensions/sizes and so some guidelines are good to follow. A good guide to scanning for preservation and for restoration/publishing purposes is as follows:

Transparencies:

35mm slide = 4800 dpi
2 1/4 x 2 1/4 transparency = 2400 dpi
4x5 transparency = 1200 dpi
8x10 print or glass plate = 1200 dpi

Photographic Prints:

(2 inches to 3 inches) = 2400 dpi
5 x 7 = 1200 dpi
8 x 10 = 600 dpi

Other considerations:

1. Always use gloves when handling photos and transparencies. Oil from fingers damages the print and transparency and the emulsions on them.

2. Always clean the glass of your scanner before using. Spray onto the cloth and then clean, never spray directly on the glass. If sprayed on the glass, capillary action will suck the solution into the scanner... not a good thing!

3. Some photos have curled edges or are stiffened with age into a curved piece of paper stock. Use a heavy book like an encyclopedia to place on the scanner lid or on top of the items to make sure they lay flat on the glass. This will prevent odd reflections from curved surfaces and allow for a better scan.

4. Always scan as a TIFF file, never as a JPEG, GIF, or PNG. TIFF is the archival standard when scanning and allows for maximum capture of information.

5. Always scan photos in RGB or Full Color mode even if they are grayscale or sepia. Scanning in Grayscale limits the amount of grays captured to only 256 levels from black to white. There are a lot more tonal values in these old prints than 256. If you limit to 256 you are throwing away detail information that can be coaxed out during the restoration process in Photoshop or another editing program.

6. When scanning line drawings, etc. NEVER use the lineart mode on the scanner. This causes the lines to be interpreted to either black or white... thus throwing out a lot of subtle detail and ruining the digital version of the drawing. Line drawings should always be scanned at a minimum of 600 dpi and as Grayscale. 256 levels of gray from white to black is perfect for scanning line art. Or, you can scan in RGB as well. Size will be huge, though.

7. Archive to a backup hard drive and also DVD/CD. If your computer goes down for any reason, it is good to have things backed up on multiple sources.

8. Scanning printed materials. When scanning old photos from books, newspapers, or other printed sources, you have to consider the screened pattern and allow for that. To prevent "ghosting" from the backside which is caused when the text or images from the backside can be seen bleeding through the front side... use a black piece of card stock or construction paper. This will keep the light from reflecting back at you through the paper, which causes that annoying ghosting effect.

9. When scanning from old books or other sources scan at 1200 dpi. 300 dpi isn't enough! You can scan in grayscale (256 levels) if it is page printed with black ink and is screened. That is adequate. (If it is a color image, then use RGB) You absolutely need the higher resolution to be able to work with the image to get rid of the screen pattern. De-screening filters don't work well and higher resolution is the best starting point to be able to repair/remove the screen pattern to gain the continuous tone look of a real photograph.

Please include photo captions in electronic text files, note their order, and identify them by file name like this:

1-Filename1.tif

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua.

2-Filename2.tif

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua.

Illustration Files

Illustration files may be in EPS format or Adobe Illustrator, or converted to those formats.

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