- Avoid widows and orphans. Widow lines are single lines which appear at the top of a page and widow words are single words which are on a line by themselves at the end of a paragraph. Orphans are similar lines or words which appear at the bottom of a page. A few of them are okay, but too many, and the book starts looking unprofessional.
- Use one space after periods. The reasoning for this was only explained to me recently, and I was very resistant up until that point, since I'd been trained in the good old days, and I was an adamant two spaces after a period gal. But apparently if you do that, it tends to create the effect of rivers of whitespace running through your text -- distracting!
- After a space break, the first new paragraph is not indented.
- Avoid fonts that are too big, too small, too fancy for regular text, and fonts which display well but don't print well. Fonts which work well for the bulk of a fiction book would include: Times New Roman, Centaur, Garamond, Bodoni, Minion (slightly more modern), Hoefler. You can buy any of these for roughly $100 on the Adobe website, and we highly recommend buying at least one good font set, since the ones on your computer don't actually have everything that you need -- they're partial sets.
- For headers, like Chapter Titles, you can choose a nice, slightly more dramatic display font.
- What else? Help!