Manuscript Guidelines

If Thinking Ink Press asked you to send us your manuscript, please follow these guidelines in the document that you send us so that the book creation process can go smoothly. We will give you instructions about where to deliver the manuscript file through Dropbox or on our Google Drive.

We prefer Microsoft Word format documents, but we also accept RTF, PDF, OpenOffice, or text (.txt) document files for the words in your manuscript. If your book includes art, photos, or other graphic elements, we need those images provided as individual files. See Art, Graphics, Photos, and Images (below).


Stick to common, legible fonts that your word processor automatically selects, such as Times, Arial, Calibri, Cambria, and Courier.

Headers, Footers, Page Numbers

Page numbers are helpful for long works. You can use headers or footers if you want, but they aren’t required.

Paragraph formatting and line returns

Keep the formatting simple, so there are fewer hidden characters like paragraph returns for us to remove when we do the desktop publishing for your manuscript. Please use the following guidelines:

  • Use only one space after a period.
  • Press Return (Enter) once at the end of each paragraph and do not type extra returns to force a page break.
  • Do not use tabs to indent the first line of paragraphs. If you want to indent the first line, use the paragraph formatting feature of your word processor.


Begin each chapter on a new page (using a page break). Use simple formatting for headings and type them in title case (do not type them in all capital letters). You can apply Word styles to the headings, or you can identify headings by typing <H1> before heading level 1, <H2> before heading level 2, and <H3> before heading level 3. Please do not use more than three heading levels within chapters.


Use simple formatting for tables and include titles and column headings.

Specify the Location of Images within the Manuscript

If your book includes images, let us know where they belong in the manuscript like this:

  1. After the paragraph prior to the image, press Return and type <ImageFileName Around Here>, where in each case you type the unique file name of the image.
  2. Press Return again, and type the caption for the image.

If your book includes a lot of graphics, and you have specific ideas about how to integrate them with the text, you can provide us with a PDF example to refer to. We will place images close to the relevant text in the manuscript, while working within the constraints of the page size of the finished book.

Callouts for Images

If images in your book require callout lines and text, or legends, we’ll work out an individual plan for you about the best way to handle them.

Manuscript Elements

If your manuscript includes sections other than the table of contents and chapters, please put them in the manuscript in this order:

  • Preface
  • Table of Contents
  • Front Matter (Acknowledgement, Dedication, Foreword)
  • Chapters
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography

Editorial Style Guides

Please refer to the Chicago Manual of Style for editorial questions you may have. If your book includes specific technical language and you use conventions from a relevant style guide, please let us know. To format sources, we recommend using Easy Bib

Art, Graphics, Photos, and Image Files

Artwork must be professional quality and must be executed in such a way that will reproduce well in the book. If you’re not sure, contact us so that we can arrange to evaluate what you have. If your artwork is hand-drawn, scan it at 300 dpi or higher and size it to dimensions that will fit onto the live area in the finished book. (We can give you those dimensions.) For image files, we prefer TIFF format, but can accept JPG and Adobe Illustrator files. Each image file must have a unique file name. You can use meaningful file names or numbers.