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Tip Tuesday #62

Guys, sorry the blog has been so quiet! My last day of work was this past weekend and I met a big school deadline yesterday, so I'm hoping I'll have more time for you in the coming weeks. I'll try to write up some posts that have been requested.

It's Tuesday today, however, which means a TIP, and I have a great one from Lisa Nowak. Please visit her blog, The Tao of Webfoot, after you give this a read!

Formatting and Binding Manuscripts

It's helpful to look at your manuscript in different formats when editing, but 300 unsecured pages can be tough to maneuver through. They're also a pain for beta readers to deal with. For those reason, once I've done my second draft, I make bound copies. I bought a duplexing printer (Brother HL 5250DN) so I can easily print double-sided. (Warning: duplexing printers have lots of extra moving parts, so it's wise to cough up a few bucks for a warranty.) I reduce the size of my font, set my line spacing at 1 1/2 and my margins at .8 inches, and eliminate all space between chapters. This cuts a 300-page manuscript by nearly half. Since you're printing on both sides, you wind up with only about 75 sheets of paper. I make covers out of heavy paper, printing the title on the front and my contact info on the inside. Then take the manuscripts to an office supply store for coil binding.

My betas really like reading a manuscript in this format. After going over their comments, I transfer the suggestions I like to my working copy. This copy also makes editing easy, as it's simple to maneuver through (I use tabs to mark each chapter) and the different formatting makes it easier to spot typos. When it's time to transfer the edits to my computer, I simply put a checkmark on the hard copy beside the ones I've completed. By using different colored pens for each edit, I can re-use my working copy several times before I need to print a new one.

Love this tip, Lisa! I bet the thrill of binding a draft for betas and read-throughs gives you extra motivation to finish. Do you ever add a cover? Thanks for the tip!


  1. Love your new photo, your glasses are awesome!

    Also great advice. My crit group uses digital copies, and it can get really hard on the eyes.

  2. Oh, I JUST did this for my last proofread (though I don't have a nice printer so I took it to Kinkos) and it was SO much nicer. Definitely will be doing it again. Great tip!

  3. I like this idea. I hadn't thought of it before. I guess my only problem would be all the tweaking in a manuscript. I would think that by the time you sent it along to your betas that some of the writing would have changed and therefore make the manuscript obsolete? Good advice all the same!

    ♥ Mary Mary

  4. Great tips Lisa and Shannon. I never thought of it.

    And Casey, your new picture is great.

  5. fantastic tip - thank you!

  6. Thanks for using my tip, Casey. And it's true that the manuscript does eventually change. I wait until after my second draft to do this, when I've taken the story as far as I can without outside input. I gather feedback from my first round of betas and incorporate it before printing off more copies. They're not that expensive to print.

  7. Great idea - saves on paper, and makes it a lot easier to physically manage. Thanks!

  8. Oh, such a good tip, Casey! I love this idea. I do something similar, but only for my mom and for my grandparents who always get a special copy of my manuscripts. But I think I will do this for betas as well. Will be easier on them than trying to read and comment on a computer.

    P.S. Loving the new profile pic, love. Gorgeous!!

  9. This is great advice, thank you! I was just talking to my husband about buying me an awesome super-duper printer. I need to make a note to get one that prints on both sides.