Once your manuscript has gone through peer review and been approved by MSU Press’s editorial board, it is time to prepare it for production. Please see our Manuscript Preparation Guidelines below for detailed instructions on how to properly style and format your manuscript.
If your project includes art, make sure to review our Art Submission Guidelines as well.
Failure to comply with these requirements may delay production of your book or result in the omission of the images.
Manuscript Preparation Guidelines
- Please let us know if your manuscript was prepared using a word processing program other than MS Word.
- If you used Citation Machine, BibMe, EasyBib, or another program to automatically format or generate your references, you will need to replace that linked content with keyboarded text before submitting the final manuscript. Text generated in such programs can become corrupted or disappear when it is uploaded into typesetting software.
- Do not use styles or advanced formatting functions in Word for text formatting; instead use toolbar buttons, F keys, and keystroke commands. For example, to italicize words, use the I button on the Home toobar, F7, or ctrl + i. Do not use Emphasis in the Styles menu.
Manuscript organization and formatting
- Files: Break the manuscript into multiple files, one per chapter and one per table or figure.
- Figures: Do not include figures or tables in the chapter text. Instead, indicate where figures or tables should be placed by inserting a callout like this: <figure 1 about here>. Provide each figure and table in a separate file in an appropriate file format. See the art guidelines to ensure figures are acceptable for publication.
- Consistent styling: Treat consistently elements such as dates (American or European style), hyphenation, capitalization, variant spellings, and the formatting of text elements such as lists and subheadings, citations, and bibliographies.
- Author’s name: Make sure that your name on the title page is presented exactly as you want it presented in the final book.
- Table of contents: Cross check the contents page against the chapter titles. Do not include page numbers in the table of contents.
- Chapter titles and subheads: These should be similar in tone and construction (for example, all should be either title-only or title-subtitle construction). Straightforward informational titles help browsers discern the content of a book, and they help readers navigate to their areas of interest.
- Epigraphs: The press discourages the use of epigraphs in scholarly books. However, if you include epigraphs, use them on all chapters, with no more than one epigraph per chapter. No epigraphs should appear after subheads.
- Cross-references in the text: Change references to manuscript locations such as “in the figure above” to specific identification such as “in figure 1.” Avoid cross-referencing your own text or notes, as contents tend to shift during copyediting and typesetting.
- Extracts: Generally, six or more lines of prose and two or more lines of verse within the text should be set as an extract (also known as a block quotation), whereas shorter quotations should be run into the text. Do not set off prose quotations in the notes as extracts, regardless of length.
- Spelling: Use U.S. spelling, except in quoted materials.
- Diacritics: List all special characters (any characters that do not appear on your keyboard, such as accented characters—á, é, ö, etc.) used in the manuscript on the first page of the manuscript.
- The press uses The Chicago Manual of Style. If you are following a different style guide, check with your acquisitions editor ahead of time.
- In-text citations: The press strongly discourages the use of in-text citations. If you would like to use them, clear this with your acquisitions editor before submitting the final manuscript. If you get approval to use in-text citations, include a comprehensive, alphabetized reference list to support the in-text citations.
- If you used Citation Machine, BibMe, EasyBib, or a similar program to generate your citations, you will need to rekey them or otherwise strip the coding behind them out. Text generated in such programs can become corrupted or disappear when it is uploaded into typesetting software.
- Quantity of citations: Avoid excessive citation. Particularly if you are revising a dissertation, pare the notes down from exhaustive to complete.
- Note numbers: Place note numbers at the ends of sentences where possible (at the end of a phrase otherwise). Do not attach more than one note to a sentence; when combining notes, make sure you do not lose any content.
- Electronic sources: Internet postings are inherently unstable; even long-established resources regularly move and remove materials. If there is a hard copy form of a cited material, cite it, even if you actually viewed the material electronically. If citing an electronic-only work, provide a DOI or other stable identifier whenever possible.
- Websites: If citing a piece posted to a publically available website (as opposed to an electronic journal), provide a general web address (for example, “available on NationalGeographic.com”) in lieu of a more detailed URL.
Illustrations and tables
- Separate files: Do not include illustrations (including all visual representations) and tables in the chapter text. Submit each figure and table as a separate file.
- Placement: If illustrations are to be scattered through the text, mark approximate location for each with a callout using carets (for example, <figure 1 around here>) in the text. Also use callouts to indicate the placement of tables. Callouts are not necessary if the illustrations will be grouped together in a gallery.
- Check the art guidelines to determine whether your illustrations are suitable for publication.
- With the exception of the index, everything that you want included in the printed book must be submitted with the final manuscript. This includes items such as dedications and acknowledgments.
- Acknowledgments and information about earlier versions or publications of a chapter should appear in the acknowledgments or preface.
- Mentions of dissertations and dissertation advisors and committee should be avoided.
- Preface vs. introduction vs. foreword: All material referring to the assembly of a text (the inspiration, the process, decisions made about content) belongs in the preface. The introduction focuses on the subject matter of the book. A foreword is written by someone other than the author, such as a series editor.
- The press strongly discourages including chapter summaries in front matter and at the beginnings and ends of chapters.
Please understand that failure to comply with these requirements may delay production of your book or result in the omission of the images.