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Silver Spring, MD
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Stories To Tell is a full service book publishing company for independent authors. We provide editing, design, publishing, and marketing of fiction and non-fiction. We specialize in sophisticated, unique illustrated book design.

Stories To Tell Books BLOG

Creating a Manuscript - Think Ahead in Word

Nan Barnes

Getting your book printed may seem like a long way off. But if you plan ahead now, as you’re working on your book, you can save time and expense when it comes time to design and print your book. Here are steps you can take to stay organized as you plan, write, and complete your manuscript.

As You Are Planning the Book

1) Use an outline

No matter how large or small your project is, creating an outline will force you to make logical categories. Your book chapters might be organized according to time periods, or topics, or any other system. Chapters can also be grouped into sections, if you like. An outline is the only way to step back and get an overview of what has gone into each chapter. Inevitably, you will revise your book as you go, and knowing where everything is really helps.

2) Create a separate document for each chapter

The length of a book can quickly become too unwieldy to manage. By creating each chapter document separately, you can easily skim through the text to locate information, and then add, move or revise it. Try to keep your chapters short and focused on just one subject. As experienced writers know, once you have written a long, convoluted chapter, it can be very difficult to tease apart. Shorter chapters are better, as you can always merge them later. This method also makes it much easier to reorganize the book when you change your outline.

As You Are Writing the Book

3) Use the Styles in Word

Word’s default Style is “Normal”. You can use this common Word menu to designate your chapter titles “Heading 1” and designate any subsection headings as “Heading 2”. The font and style of text you choose can be adjusted to your taste, and they can also be changed later. Assigning Styles is useful for two reasons, aside from appearance. You can now use the “browse” function in Word to skip from section to section. Styles will also carry over into InDesign, the book design software, preserving the difference between headings and normal body text for your book design. (If this is difficult or unfamiliar to you, skip it, and we can do it for you.)

4) Keep a separate folder for your pictures

Create a folder for each chapter of your book that will include pictures. Many people have multiple copies of the same image. Choose your best, highest resolution images (300 dpi minimum, or the largest KB size you have) and store a copy in this folder. This way, you will provide the right picture files to the book designer, associated with the correct chapters. You can place pictures into Word just to get a sense of how you want the book to look, but any resizing/reformatting of pictures you do in Word will not be used in the final printed book, (so don't work too hard at it!) Word reduces the quality of pictures, so your book designer will crop and resize your original images professionally.

When Your Manuscript Is Completed

5) Use a system to label your pictures

Your image files have all sorts of confusing names. To make it easy for the book designer to locate and place the right photo, try this system using location numbers.

1. Once you’re sure your book is done and won’t change, make a duplicate of your picture folders. Name these folders "Chapter #(x) Final Images".

2. Go back through the text of each chapter in Word. Wherever you want an image to be placed, create a new line in the text and  note that a picture appears in that spot. For example, for the first image in chapter three, write "3.1."

3. On the same line, type the symbol %%%. We will use the "find" command to locate each instance of %%%. That is how we know where to place your images.

4. You may list more than one image location number, i.e, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, if you wish to group images. Continue to number each image location sequentially.

Example: A note "3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9 %%%" would tell the designer to group those four images on that page.

4. In your duplicate pictures file, rename each picture to correspond to the order of its appearance in the Word chapter. (A photo named “3.1” means chapter 3, picture 1. 3.5 would be the fifth image to appear in the chapter.)


6) Write your captions separately

Word has no workable solution for captions, so don't bother trying! If you want captions with your pictures, create a separate Word document called "Captions". Using the same chapter #, image # system as above, write and list all your captions in order.

The captions can then be easily placed in your book to match with the pictures named with the same location numbers. If an image does not need a caption, list its number and write, "none" so we know the omission is intentional. 


3.5- Aunt Margaret on the porch on Hope Street with Charlie Holt, 1904.

3.6 - none

Finally, do feel free to ask for clarification if these instructions are not enough! We are happy to help.