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ATD Manuscript and Style Guidelines

Preparing Your Manuscript

ATD prefers simplicity in the presentation of a manuscript. Overly formatted, bolded, italicized, and indented manuscripts, while attractive to look at, present a problem to our production professionals when it comes time to edit and code your manuscript and to create page composition. You may submit a formatted version for clarity's sake—for example, to show where you think charts, graphs, illustrations, boxes, etc., should go—but you should separate the text and the graphic files when you submit your manuscript electronically. Here are some other basic guidelines that will help us get your book published. Happy writing!

Style and Tone

Manuscripts should be clean and crisply written, with the fundamental goal of conveying information to the reader in a compelling and digestible manner. The message of each book should be clear, written in language that avoids lengthy sentences and rhetoric, while also avoiding being overly casual and simplistic. To achieve this, please observe the following guidelines:  

  • Tone should be accessible – neither too academic and scholarly, nor too familiar or folksy. 
  • Write in the active voice instead of the passive voice. 
  • Do not write in the first person. 
  • Avoid generalizations and personal opinions. Use (and cite) recent research, rather than personal experience, to support content.
  • Avoid bias; do not promote a specific organization, product, or agenda.
  • Use gender inclusive language (“he or she” rather than just “he”).
  • Define jargon and technical terms.
  • Avoid current event, technological, and cultural references that will quickly become dated. 
  • Author is responsible for the spelling of proper names and nouns.
  • To avoid overly fragmented or granular sections of text, using no more than three levels of headings is recommended. Headings should always have at least one paragraph of text beneath them and should never be stacked one level directly above the next.
  • For questions of style, ATD generally follows The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. Please refer to this text for all general grammar, punctuation, and style rules. 

Manuscript Preparation

  • Manuscripts should be created in Microsoft Word, using basic styles; we recommend using our template. It is acceptable to bold or italicize text, but do not otherwise introduce styles or fonts to the template.
  • Do not indent text except to begin a new paragraph.
  • Do not use tabs around or within text.
  • Do not capitalize text for emphasis or use quotes except around a direct quotation.
  • Do not place tables, graphics, or text box directly in the body of the manuscript. Instead, insert a callout as follows:

    <<Insert Table 1-1>>
    <<Insert Text Box 1-1>>

  • Make and submit each table and figure as its own file. Acceptable file types include .eps, .tiff, .jpg, .docx, and .xslx. All images must be high-resolution, at least 300 dpi. Contact your CoP manager if you anticipate needing assistance with any graphical elements. 
  • If you need footnotes for references, do not use the footnote feature in Word. Instead, place a superscript numeral reference at the place in the text where the footnote is referenced, and place the actual footnote text with corresponding superscript numeral at the end of the chapter where the footnote is referenced.
  • Completed manuscripts should include tables of contents, prefaces (if applicable), acknowledgments, introductions, chapters, references, tables, and text boxes.

Permissions and References

  • Use references whenever you quote text directly from another source, or when an idea originated with the source named and isn't widely known. No references are needed for paraphrased ideas or widely known information. For additional information about when to cite a reference, consult The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, 4.68-4.101. For information on how to construct your references, consult The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, Chapter 15. 
  • The author is responsible for obtaining worldwide rights for each reproduced figure and excerpted passage of text they intend to include in the manuscript, including electronic rights, in all languages, for all editions, in all media, and for any fees associated with obtaining those permissions. Permissions for all reproduced figures and excerpted passages of text must be obtained prior to submission of the manuscript to ATD. Please submit the documentation granting use of the material for each permissioned element with the manuscript. For more information about permissions, see The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, 4.68-4.101.

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