These guidelines are designed to help smooth the progress of your work from typescript to bound, ebook and online copy. Please take a few minutes to read through, even if some of this may not be relevant to your script.

Speed and accuracy in editing and book production are greatly aided by the quality and presentation of the typescript. All our typescripts are copy-edited. Consistency and clarity are more important in the long run than any minor detail of house style. We hope that the following notes will help you achieve that.

Preparation of the manuscript for submission

  • Please provide your text to us either as an editable Google Doc or a DOCX file.
    • If you are using OpenOffice or Pages, please make sure to convert the file before sending it.
  • Please provide your entire manuscript in a single file if possible.
  • Please use plain fonts and formatting: none of your stylistic features can be preserved and may make our work harder. We recommend using Arial or Times New Roman 12pt and standard margins.
  • Please remove any fancy features and image placements. It is preferable that you include a note in about the placement of an image (and attach an image file) in double braces, rather than have it placed in the text itself.
    • Eg. {{please insert image001.jpg here. The caption should read…}}.
    • For text boxes and other features, please also simply describe them in text eg. {{the following section should appear in a text bok}} or {{the following section should be in a slightly different font to indicate its distinction from the main text}} etc.
  • Make sure your headings hierarchy is clear. If you wish, you can include the {{h1}} or {{h2}} and so on before a heading to be clear. You could also use the Markup standard (h1 = # ,  h2 = ##): just make sure it’s clear for us.
  • Begin each chapter on a fresh page. Insert section breaks between chapters if you are using numbered endnotes and format these to restart at 1 in each section.
  • If you want a line or page break in the text please indicate this by typing [line break]. Otherwise we shall assume that any spaces are accidental and close up and indent.
  • Please include a table of contents and a list of illustrations.
  • If you have a lot of abbreviations and acronyms then a separate list is useful. If any unusual abbreviations are used, explain them when they first appear.
  • Acknowledgements can be added or amended at proof if necessary.


  • As above, do not include or embed images in your document, rathwer indicate their placement in {{double braces}} and send the image files as an attachment.
  • Please ensure you have secured the rights to reproduce all the images you wish to include.
    • NOTE: We cannot offer financial or logistical assistance with securing rights.
  • When indicating the placement of images, please include
    • The filename of the image
    • Any indication of where the image should appear
    • A brief caption for the image
    • If required, information of where the image was sourced, who holds the copyright, and by whose courtesy the image appears (ie. From whom did you get permission).
  • In the vast majority of cases VAGABONDS can only reproduce images in greyscale. For this reason, it may be worthwhile using an image editor to convert colour images into greyscale and make some adjustments to brightness and contrast to achieve the best quality before submitting them.
  • Photographic images
    • Must be supplied in either JPEG or TIF format. The resolution needs to be between 300 and 1200 dpi. The file size would be between 2MB and 5MB – anything smaller or bigger might present problems.
  • Charts and diagrams
    • Reproduce best if they have been produced from a vector-based package, such as Adobe Illustrator. These could be supplied as EPS files or a PDF taken from the native file. Charts/graphs that are based on data should be supplied with the Excel data files. Pixel-based artwork will always look poor on the printed page. Avoid using large areas of solid black. Line widths need to be at least 0.5pt or there is a risk they will not reproduce. The chart should not be so large it cannot easily fit the page.
  • Maps
    • Maps in colour do not convert easily to black and white, especially if tints are used. Hatching often works better than tints. Maps are usually better as vector-based artwork. If the lines and lettering are in pixels the map will be difficult to read. It is better to seek professional help with maps and make sure the cartographer is aware of the image area (about 100mm wide by 180mm deep) and that colour printing will not be available. Supply a pdf file from the native file or an EPS file. A file size larger than about 5MB might give problems. We can engage a cartographer for you if necessary and can quote you for the cost of this.
  • Tables
    • Should not be supplied as artwork. Create these in Word, to be edited and typeset. Use the table facility in Word to create tables, but avoid shading in cells.


There are too many differences between British-English and American-English, especially in respect of punctuation, spelling and phrasing to list here. Follow whichever you are used to, consistently.

  • If you are following a British-English style, New Oxford Style Manual (Oxford University Press, 2016) is a useful guide to spelling, grammar and general points of style, particularly for some proper names or where there are alternative spellings. Chambers 20th Century is the dictionary we use. The Oxford Dictionary of the World’s spelling of place names is preferred.
  • Avoid hyphenated words where possible (so postmodern, cooperative, etc.).

Use italics for

  • foreign words/terms not in common usage (see New Oxford Style Manual for guidance on this)
  • titles of published books, journals, long poems, plays, films, operas, works of art, and TV and radio programmes
  • names of ships
  • for emphasis (do not use caps or bold for emphasis), but sparingly;
  • for parties in legal case references: e.g. Regina v. Smith.

Enclose in quotation marks and do not italicize:

  • article titles
  • chapter titles
  • titles of poems or songs

Acronyms and organization names

Call companies, corporations and organisations by the name they call themselves.

  • e.g.: Rolls-Royce, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Lloyd’s (insurance), but Lloyds Bank, American Labor Pary, Labour Party (i.e. of Great Britain).
  • If some companies and organizations are know by acronyms (eg. WHO) give the full name on the first mention in each cahpter, followed by the acronym in parentheses, after which they can be referred to by acronym. Eg. “…despite pleas from the World Health Organization (WHO) to extend the quarantine. Indeed, the WHO would later release a damning…”
  • In many cases, company names that were once acronyms are now simply words, for instance ING, NASDAQ or HSBC. If it is important to spell out the original acronym, do so with a parenthetical note, eg “…one beneficiary of British imperialism in the Opium Wars was HSBC (then the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) who funnelled the obscene profits…”


  • If your style is for ‘single quote marks’ throughout the text, then use “double marks” for quotations within quoted matter – and vice versa.
  • In quoted material do not change spelling, punctuation (except quote marks) or capitalisation in quoted material.
  • Use square brackets [ ] in quotations for text you have inserted, not in the original, or where you are replacing a word to ensure grammatical clarity.
  • Indent quotes of longer than about 60 words and separate from the main text with a line space top and bottom. Do not type tabs at the beginning of each line in order to do this: use the indent feature in Word.
  • Quotations should not be more than around 200 words. See also the guidelines on Permissions, below.

Non-English names:

  • Ensure consistency of transliterated names and place names, especially those from Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Russian and other languages that typically use other lexographies.
  • Ensure spellings of place names on any maps you are including are consistent with the main text.

Numbers and dates

  • Ideally, spell numbers one to twelve inclusive; digits thereafter (eg “…nine, ten, eleven, twelve, 13, 14, 15…”).
  • We prefer a comma in numbers above 1,000 + (i.e. not 10 000 or 10.000);
  • When possible, use the format “1 million residents” or “$84 billion”.
  • Spell out ‘per cent’ or ‘percent’ in the main text; the symbol % should only be used in tables.
  • Use digits for all numbers with per cent or measurements, e.g. ‘8 per cent’, not ‘eight per cent’.
  • Dates should appear either as 4 October 2017 – no commas – or October 4, 2017. Avoid 4/10/17.
  • Spell out centuries, i.e. ‘the nineteenth century’, ‘twentieth-century madness’ (note that, when a noun, there is no hyphen, yet there is a hyphen when the century is used as an adjective!)


VAGABONDS uses of Oxford University Press style numbered notes for references, with no works cited list/bibliography. The basic template for a book is:

Firstname Lastname, Title of Work (City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication), {page if necessary}.

  • Endnotes appear at the end of the entire book and are numbered consecutively (i.e. the numbering does not begin again each chapter) as VAGABONDS are, in theory at least, coherent essays or pieces. See below for examples of common forms of this citation style.
  • If you use bibliographic software (like Endnote, RefWorks, Zotero) please take a moment to consult the manual before submitting your manuscript to ensure that the references can be read for those without the software. This is different for each programme.
  • Please use the endnote/footnote function in your word-processor to create notes. You may send them to us as footnotes, but know they will be converted into endnotes. Please do not manually create endnotes (i.e. manuall enter a superscript “1” in the text and a matching reference at the end) as this can lead to a lot of complications.
  • Reference note numbers should always be placed directly after the punctuation mark that follows the word or phrase to which the number applies.
  • In exceptional circumstances, authors may include explicatory footnotes, but it is strongly discouraged. In these cases footnote symbols like *, †, and ‡ should be used.    
  • On the first instance of a reference, it should be given in full. For instance
    • Subcomandante Marcos, Our Word Is Our Weapon: Selected Writings, edited by Jaunita Ponce de Leon (New York: Seven Stories, 2001), p. 121.
  • For all subsequent references, an abbreviated reference should be used, eg.
    • Subcomandante Marcos, Our Word Is Our Weapon, p. 122
  • Ibid. should only be used to refer to an immediately preceding reference. Avoid op cit.
  • Newspapers: With the exception of The Times, the definite article is omitted from titles of most national newspapers. The London Times is incorrect. The Times (of London), The New York Times and The Times of India are correct. The title and the date of issue – i.e. Guardian, 8 September 1987 – is usually sufficient, although you can include a headline if necessary. Avoid 8/9/87 for dates.

Online references

  • Do not embed hyperlinks or URLs within words in the main text. Use references.
  • Avoid giving only a URL as a reference. Instead, provide the full citation in Oxford UP style:
    • author, “title or description of the content, owner/publisher, date of publication or most recent revision (or, failing that, date accessed), URL.
    • eg: Haiven, Max, “Style Guide,” VAGABONDS, 26 April 2020,
  • For online content (especially academic articles accessed via databases), please include a generic DOI, rather than its URL within the database
  • If you have a lot of long URLs, we suggest using which will provide you with shortened forms of URLs.
  • If possible, switch off Word’s autoformat option, which converts a web address to a ‘live’ hyperlink. This can cause problems for our typesetters and editors.
  • Unless you have made alternative arrangements with Pluto, you will be expected to obtain any permission needed to make use of extensive quotations, photographs or other illustrations in which you do not hold copyright – and for any diagrams taken from other books – and cover the costs of clearing all such permissions.
  • It is crucial that the clearance of permission and payment of fees are properly documented. Provide Pluto with all relevant paperwork/emails (or copies). Without it we may not be able to include the copyrighted material in your book.
  • Clear permissions for the territory covered under your contract: for example, World All Languages or World English Language (including North America). Most Pluto contracts cover world all languages – check with the editor if you are unsure.
  • Remember to request digital rights too – not just print rights – or we may be prevented from converting your book to epub formats.
  • Supply the required acknowledgement or credit line (as provided by the copyright holder).
  • Make sure you clear for quotation use, unless you are quoting in an anthology, in which case you will need to clear for anthology use.

Fair Dealing

In the UK (and throughout the EU), copyright applies to all unpublished work, artistic creations and work published in the lifetime of the author for a period of 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the author died. The exception to this is material falling within ‘fair dealing’. Unfortunately, ‘fair dealing’ is difficult to define, however in this respect we follow the Society of Authors guidelines:

  • For prose, a single extract, for the purpose of criticism or review, can be quoted from one source, up to 400 words.
  • A series of prose extracts from the same source up to 800 words, provided each is less than 300 words.
  • For poetry, up to 25 per cent of the poem or up to 40 lines, providing that this does not exceed 25 per cent of the poem.
  • Fair dealing does not apply if the quote is to embellish the text, for example as an epigraph.
  • Fair dealing does not apply to song lyrics still in copyright.


Take every possible precaution to prevent libel claims arising. If you are in any doubt as to whether or not your book contains defamatory statements about any living person, you should in the first instance talk to your editor