Avoid introducing wrong styles into your text

Among the most common yet avoidable errors when formatting a book to be self-published is inserting the wrong font, font size and or other style into the manuscript. For example, if you want your text to be in Times Roman, 12 point, and single spaced, you might find when editing it that a few paragraphs are in Helvetica, 11 point and have 1.15 points of space between lines.

Not fixing the problem results in an unprofessional-looking paperback and can get your ebook rejected from print of demand houses, especially at Smashwords.

This error typically is introduced into the text when cutting and pasting. The text in the other document – whether it be another Word document, a website, or an email – probably contains different instructions about how the text should appear. Simply cutting and pasting them carries those instructions to your manuscript.

While restyling the text so that it fits how you want your manuscript to look can be done, the wrong styles still have been introduced into your master copy. When revising the manuscript, should you need to deal with the paragraphs you restyled, the old style you changed can suddenly reappear.

The simple solution is to strip copied text of its styles before pasting it into your manuscript. This can be done by pasting the copied text first into a .txt document and then copying the stripped text from the .txt document into your manuscript. Almost every computer these days comes with a .txt document that you can use (In Windows, it’s Notepad), so there’s no added expense.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.