Notes for inexperienced Authors 2016

PDF printer copy Notes for New & Inexperienced Authors 2016

The Stuart Rossiter Trust (‘the Trust’) is a Charitable Trust supporting research and publication relating to the history of communication through postal systems of the world. Authors of previously unpublished study on any aspect of postal history are welcome to approach the Trustees with a view to publication of the results of their original research.

Most of the following Notes may be adjusted to suit the Work. However, they represent the preferred format and may well help inexperienced authors. The Trust also has Guidelines for Authors on Preparation of a Manuscript which includes preferred styles and should be consulted.

he format adopted for the publication will be chosen to suit the Work and its content. The paper will normally be about 100 gsm and should aim to fulfill, if it does not actually conform to, the international archival standard ISO 9706 represented by an infinity sign (∞). The quality of paper used will also be chosen to make sure that the best impressions can be obtained of illustrations included in the Work. Present day software can retain the author’s shape of his Work yet can be used to change the typeface and font size, use of tabs, margins, running heads and footers such as page numbering. This is how the Trust can maintain its ‘House Style’.

Whether the Work is produced in UK A4 format or US letter size, adequate margins must be allowed for, about 2-3cm to allow also for binding and for thumbing by readers. Similarly, space must be allowed for at top of the page for the running heads, i.e. short title of the Work and indication of what each section of the work is about, and page numbers at the foot: see Binding and Paper below.

Style Guide Font and Font size
A Guide to style of narrative and data are set out in the Trust’s Guidelines.

The body of the text should be printed on a modern computer in 11 point. These Notes are set in Times New Roman in 11 point. An alternative font is: Garamond. Courier, which is not proportionally spaced, is not a good type to use; neither is Arial or Univers, they are both modern open-faced fonts, are not serif and are difficult to read, and have to be reduced to 10 point (which the above two are), which makes computer screen reading quite hard. Most computers and printers now use Times New Roman or Garamond: see some samples at the end of these Notes.

Computer automatic Formatting
Be very careful how you set up formatting on your computer, such as automatic numbering, automatic bullets, and other ‘gadgets’. More time can be wasted on sorting out formatting that has gone awry than on almost anything else. Keep to a straightforward page arrangement, leaving all formatting to the very last stage, not a penultimate stage when text may still be inserted. Unless you are very experienced, much hassle can arise and will take up valuable time and patience of others, such as a printer.

Cover to the Work
The cover illustration will be one eye-catching piece of (preferably) postal history, with the caption below the illustration. The back cover can also be used for one or two illustrations so that a blank page is not wasted, as it will be passing through the printing machine anyway.The point is that marketing of softbound works can be enhanced by striking illustrations and careful use of typography. It is also helpful to state the ISBN on the back cover.

Title of Work
Choose a precise and accurate title for the Work. It should be short and relevant. Colourful adjectives may seem nice, but may actually confuse. Remember that the CIP system will take all key words in the title for indexing in the Bookseller’s reference. Potential buyers of the book must be able to identify the Work and recognize that the title is of relevance to their enquiry.

Preliminary pages
These are most important and are often printed in the wrong sequence. These guide-lines are taken from Philatelic Literature Compilation Techniques and Reference Sources by James Negus.

Title Page
(see the indicative layout of Half title and Title Page at the end of these Notes.)

Left-hand page       Right-hand page
- i           Half-title
ii          blank (sometimes used for a Frontispiece illustration)   iii         Title-page
iv         Reverse title-page  v          Dedication
vi         blank   vii        Contents
[NB: this is not an Index, but the Chapter headings with their pagination.]
viii       Contents [cont.]   ix         Foreword 
x         Foreword [cont.]   xi         Preface & Acknowledgements
xii        Preface & Acknowledgements [cont.]     

NB: That makes a total of 12 pages in multiples of four. These preliminary pages are subject to some condensing/expansion depending on what is needed for each specific book.

The next following page may well be the first page of Chapter 1 or the first page of an Introduction. In either case that page would begin on the righthand side. If this means that a white blank page arises, it is a good idea to juggle with the prelims to avoid this, possibly inserting an illustration as a Frontispiece.

Where a dedication is to be included, it is usually placed on a page after the verso of the title page, that is on the right side after the page behind the title page. Otherwise a Note from the Rossiter Trust will take this place, so please annotate that page and the printer can insert the text from the ‘master’ it holds for the Trust.

ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
An ISBN number will be allocated at the appropriate time by the Trust. This is almost the last thing to do as the books should be allocated numbers in sequential order of printing for the publisher, the Trust.

ISBN CIP (Catalogue in Publication) Form
Inclusion of ISBN CIP is an essential, as the book is then on Nielson Book Data (formerly Whitaker Information Services) who are the UK authority on books in print and issue the sequences of ISBN numbers. Neilson issue an extensive and comprehensive listing of all books in print, a listing of which booksellers generally have a copy. The Trust will complete the CIP form and this will be sent to the Author to fill in any blanks if necessary shortly after publication.

Page Layout and Printers
The precise size and format of the page will probably be set by the printer who would add the necessary guillotine markings, etc., and other print instructions to suit that firm’s machinery. Comparative quotations will be obtained by the Trustees from which they will decide which printer is to do the job.

It is usual for page numbering to begin on the right side when viewing a finished book lying open flat on a table. That means that odd number pages are on the right and even numbered pages are on the left. Please ensure that your computer is programmed for justified margins on both sides, i.e. line ends align with a uniform right hand edge, as these Guidelines are.

The printers will judge how large a printing machine is to be used when they see the finished draft of the Work. Sometimes small runs are printed 4 pages at a time; others are printed with as many as 32 pages in a set. So some care is needed to avoid too much wasted white space especially at ends of chapters.

The opening page of a new chapter should be set differently from other pages. First it is best working practice to begin a new chapter on the right hand side, i.e. on an odd numbered page. Many designers layout the heading of a new chapter by setting the chapter title and chapter number in a larger font size than is usual for the body of the text, say 30pt when 11pt or 12pt is used for the text. This opening page has no ‘running head’. When beginning a new Chapter or separate section of the text it is usual to have no indent. Then paragraphs thereafter are indented about 1cm.

Pagination or Page numbering
Preliminary pages and any pages after the main body of the text should be numbered using Roman numerals, i, ii, iii, etc. Page numbers in the body of the text will be set in Arabic numerals, 1, 2, 3, etc. Page numbers may be set in the center of the foot of the page or to one side, in which case they should appear at the foot of the outer margin.

Running headers
These are the page headings if felt necessary.  Some authors prefer them, some don't. But if used, should NOT appear on chapter start pages.

Quoting of dates
The Trust would expect the English style of dates to be used, i.e. day/month/year. The US style of month/day/year can be confusing in publications in Britain.

Where quoting a datestamp, it should always be quoted as it appears struck, i.e. JY 20, not 20 JY if it is struck month/day.  If month is in roman numerals, i.e. XII, quote in roman numerals, do not transcribe to arabic or letters, because that would not be a ‘quotation’ from the datestamp.

Quoted passages of text from other sources
If using more than a couple of lines of quoted material from other works, probably one of the most satisfactory ways of delineating the quote is to indent the left and right hand margins by about 2 spaces and start and finish with “.....”.

You can, if the quoted text needs highlighting or bringing especially to reader's attention - indent both margins and type in italic, but in that case do not use “/” at the beginning and end as “/” and italic font both mean the same thing.

Binding and Paper
The Trust believes that its publications having more than a minimal quantity of pages will have some sewing of sections to hold all pages together with any other binding materials. That is why some allowance should be made for binding at the margins, i.e. right margin of left-facing pages and vice versa. A substantial Work may be placed between covered boards for a handbook. Otherwise a limp cover may be printed in colour and be laminated for strength.

Scanning of philatelic material, maps and pictures, that are not subject to prior copyright claims, can very easily be made. The usual standard is for all these images to be scanned at 300dpi and saved as .tif files in CMYK colour mode, not RGB mode.

Once an illustration has been inserted in this format into the text, a ‘frame’ showing ‘handles’ can be selected by which the size of the image can be altered to fit the page format. Not too much work should be done by the author without consultation with the Trustees who will guide the author on this depending upon the quantity of illustrations. The colour illustrations for the cover of the book may scanned in the same way unless there is some special need for the printer to do so.

It is no good saving these images as .jpeg files (a form of compression) or compressing a file and re-expanding it because much detailed data will have been extracted on compression and cannot be regained. Forward thinking printers are today accustomed to scans, provided that they are of a suitable standard. Most outputs can be managed by printers. The Trust is no longer looking for ‘camera ready copy’ such as could be obtained from photocopiers.

Captions to Illustrations
Captions, not more than a single line of text to fit with the illustration, should be added below each illustration. The font size may be smaller than used in the body of the text.

Some readers will not have the overall or detailed knowledge of the author. So it is best to avoid the use of ‘P & O’ for the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company without stating what this stands for. On the first occasion where the name or title to be abbreviated is used, state the full name or description and insert after that in brackets the abbreviation to be used throughout the Work, thus (P & O). Once adopted, maintain absolute consistency of lettering and punctuation throughout the text. Where many abbreviations to be used in the Work, it may be worthwhile adding to the prelim pages one or more pages of abbreviations with the full names and descriptions: see the Trust’s Guidelines.

Including footnotes on the page on which they appear can be intrusive and sometimes, if quite long, can take up more space than the text to which they refer. Where there are many footnotes or they are detailed notes, they should be set at the end of the each chapter.  Should the footnotes be very extensive, it may be preferable to set a complete section at the end of the Work before the bibliography and index. There all footnotes can be included chapter by chapter and if the index is being prepared at the end of proof-reading, so page numbers can be included to indicate where in the text the footnotes relate they can go at the end of the body of text chapter by chapter.

Authors must ensure that they have obtained permission from Museums, Institutions, publishers, or from previously published work etc. for the use of any illustrative or textual material to be used in the book, i.e. maps, charts, lithographs, prints, auction catalogue illustrations etc.  This is most important as the use of non-authorised material can end up as a matter of dispute: see the Trust’s Guidelines.

Acknowledgement must be made for each item, either under the relevant item or in the Acknowledgements in the preliminary pages. If using other collector's items, do please ensure you get their permission to so use, and whether they want their names specifically mentioned as being the owner of the item, or just in the general Acknowledgements, or maybe not at all.

The Trust appoint two referees, a Special referee and a general referee.
The Special referee who is a specialist on the subject of the proposed publication will most probably nominated by the author, and be approved by the Trustees,.

The General referee is an all-round philatelist or postal historian who will take a general over-view of the Work, but is not required to have a detailed knowledge of the subject.

Both referees submit a detailed critique to the Trustees. When the Special referee has read the Work he will particularly advise the author on any anomalies found in the text, incorrect statements, or bring some new research of which the author may not be aware, and suggest improvements to the content. The Trustees have found this to be a beneficial consultation.

Author's Agreement with the Trust
There is a standard author's agreement which is tailored to suit each author. This agreement forms the basis of the Contract between the author and the Trust and outlines the print run, all monetary affairs and various other aspects. A draft of the agreement is available from the Trust.

Print Run
The number of copies to be produced is agreed between the author and the Trustees and is dependent upon the subject. It is the policy of the Trust to allocate to the author 5 gratis copies of their work. The Trust undertakes the despatching of all the mandatory legal filing in the UK and other free and review copies.

Final Text Print Out
The text must be ‘proof-read’ in its final form before it is given to the printers for printing. A single proof is usually provided by printers otherwise successive proofs can be prohibitively expensive. It is paramount that this final proof read is carried out with the utmost care. Making corrections once the text is at the printer is prohibitively expensive, and every ‘key-stroke’ is charged for. Should the Trust find that many author’s errors arise at this late stage, the cost of making corrections may be recovered from the author before the Work is printed.

It is very helpful if the printers are supplied with a correct mock-up of the text showing where the illustrations have to be inset and what is the correct sequence of pages, even if done as a rough paste-up. This may save page collation mistakes later. As stated before the printers are not philatelists or postal historians and what is obvious to you may not be obvious to them.

Three good reference books for authors to follow

  • Ritter, Robert, & Whitcut, Janet, The Oxford Guide to Style – The style bible for all writers, editors and publishers, Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 10 0198691750, ISBN 13 978-0198691754 being a revision of Hart's Rules for Compositors & Readers at the University Press Oxford. London: Oxford University Press. (37th edition of 1967). 
  • Domanski, Peter, & Irvine, Philip,  Publishing Books Using Your PC, available from: Coldwell Farm, Stretfordbury, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 0QL, 1997, ISBN 10 0952604329, ISBN 13 978-0952604327.  Some of the contents are not entirely relevant to the Trust publications, but it is a very useful and sensible book in understandable language; and 
  • Negus, James, Philatelic Literature Compilation Techniques and Reference Sources, James Bendon, 1991, ISBN 10 9963762433, ISBN 13 978-9963762439.

References Bibliography and Index
Other essential components are a list of references, a bibliography and a good index. The Trust’s Guidelines should be consulted.

Sample Half title

The Half title page actually not numbered but where the page numbering starts for any book thus numbered (i) for the first Prelim page and the text appearing on the right side of an open book, would have only: click for illustration

 Specimen title page: click for illustration

 Sample font sizes: click for illustration 

The Stuart Rossiter Trust
Contact details by post:

Corresponding Trustee:
Andy Gould, 56 James Street, Selsey, Chichester, PO20 0JG, U.K. email:

By E-mail: see this website and either complete the 'how to apply for funding' or the 'contact us' form.
Date September 2008 


;       © Copyright Stuart Rossiter Trust 2008




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