What format for a manuscript?

Case Studies

I received an email from an author I’ve been working with. Here it is:

I do sometimes get asked to read manuscripts. Generally I prefer not to, because I take a jolly long time over it.

But this is somebody I started working with three years ago. We met on an Arvon course, and continued to talk every month or so afterwards, in a tiny group:

Group writing exercise
Group writing exercise. Drawing by JP Flintoff

Anyway, back to the question about manuscripts.

I hate reading loose sheets of A4. And I can’t read anything book-length digitally, because I like to make marks and comments I can flick back through. I much prefer to read something book-like.

So I always print my own work in progress as an actual A5 book, glue-bound, with a cover image that changes from one iteration to the next. Like this:

Four draft copies of What If The Queen Should Die?, with different covers
Draft copies of my 2016 novel, What If The Queen Should Die?

My preference is to upload a simple PDF to Lulu.com, and a cover image, and get a glue-bound “proper” book. It’s cheap, for a start, and effective. Roughly £6 plus postage for the book I’m working on now.

But even without Covid-19, Lulu.com doesn’t deliver fast, so I couldn’t do it this time.

My own publisher wants me to make additions to my forthcoming book quite quickly, so today I got it printed and bound at a local print shop. Here it is, ready for collection with a happy smile from Charlie at The Print Team in Golders Green.

The same 280ish pages cost me £32, but it was a quick turnaround and I think it’s worth it.

Any questions, please leave a comment below.

JP

One thought on “What format for a manuscript?

  1. Go on. I know you’re itching to leave a comment. Make my day.

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