Author's Guide for Flying Machines
This guide is based on our own publishing experience, our preferences
and priorities, and on The Mac Is Not a Typewriter, The Chicago
Manual of Style, and Webster's Dictionary, with exceptions
All manuscripts must be submitted in two forms: hard copy and electronic
files. All our books are designed and laid out on a Macintosh computer,
so electronic text files are essential to us. We have too many commitments
to waste the time required to scan typed manuscripts. (From actual experience,
it takes longer to scan and correct the text than to lay out the book!)
If you don't use a computer, have a local service bureau scan the typed
text into a computer for you. Text files should be saved in Microsoft
Word format, preferably for the Macintosh, but PC files are acceptable
on 3.5" (90mm) diskette. Graphics files must be in TIF format at 300 dpi
or better. For ease of editing, please double space hard
copy and make it flush left (i.e. ragged right), not justified.
Above all, please be considerate of the reader when
writing. Here are some tips:
Be clear and consistent. Many readers have a primary language other
than English, so avoid slang, idiomatic usage, or references to cultural
terms that may not apply to other cultures.
Use charts, graphs, or tables instead of text to present large amounts
Please use proper punctuation, which helps the
reader. Punctuation was invented to make reading easier. The recent
trend in some publications has been to eliminate as much punctuation
as possible to reduce keystrokes and paper usage; this makes reading
harder. We are in business to produce a product our customers will want
to buy and read, not to make things easier on ourselves.
Our biggest time-waster during editing and production
is inconsistency in style, spelling, and format. Inconsistency and style
changes are the greatest cause of errors. Many style and format decisions
are arbitrary matters of taste; please pick one and stick with it. Please
use the styles suggested in this guide if practical. It would be a big
help to us if you would make a list of the main terms [unit designations,
etc.], key names, and other style decisions so we will know the preferred
form. This list will also help you while writingif you make it
at the start of the project [very highly recommended] instead of
When sending anything irreplaceable (e.g.,
original photos or artwork), please use a commercial service such as UPS
or Fed Ex; do not use the regular mail. Commercial services are
more reliable, have package tracking, and can insure the package as appropriate.
If the post office loses your package, you have no practical recourse.
Yes, commercial services are more expensive; that is the price you pay
for insuring that it gets there. The mail works fine for copies and other items
you can easily replace.
The computer is not a typewriter. Many of the work-arounds
we were taught when learning to type were due to limitations of the typewriter;
no italics or bold, no en-dash, no em-dash, etc. The computer does not
have those limitations, so please read The Mac Is Not a Typewriter
(by Robin Williams) if you have a Mac, or The PC Is Not a Typewriter
(by Robin Williams) if you have a PC, and follow her suggestions. We have
to fix all those things you forget. If we miss them, then that is another
error that gets in the book. A detailed summary follows.
Please submit the text files with all double spaces between sentences
Please indent paragraphs rather than leave a blank line between them.
Please use text wrap within paragraphs rather than using a line return
as you would with a typewritter. If you don't use text wrap, we have
to delete all the redundant paragraph symbols.
Please do not hyphenate words; we will do that when typesetting, if
Please run the spell-checking program for obvious errors. We use Americanized
We depend on you for the spelling of many foreign words and names. Please
pick a spelling or transliteration and stick with it consistently. We
recommend that you enter the spelling of unusual terms in your custom spell-checker,
then give us a hard copy and a copy on disk.
Please use the correct dash:
The hyphen [-] is for hyphenating words or line breaks.
The En-dash , so called because it is approximately the width
of the capital letter N in that font and size, is used between words
indicating a duration. It is created on the Mac by using the option
key and the hyphen. Examples of use:
The Em-dash  is approximately the width of the capital letter
M. It is used similarly to a colon or parentheses, or indicates an abrupt
change in thought. It is created on the Mac by pressing the Option,
Shift, and Hyphen keys simultaneously. The Em-dash is simulated on typewriters
with two hyphens: --. If you do not have a real em-dash, use two hyphens
and it can easily be fixed during typesetting.
Single quotation marks (and) are used to enclose quotations
within quotations. [He said, To say that I mean what I say
is the same as I say what I mean is to be as confused as
Alice at the Mad Hatter's tea party. Double quotation marks would
then go within the single quotation marks, etc.
Footnote references are generally denoted by superscripts.1
However, to make the location of the reference more apparent to casual
readers who may see the footnote first, we prefer to enclose the superscript
in parentheses like this.(1)
Spell out numbers one through nine and larger numbers when starting
a sentence. Use numerals for numbers larger than nine.
We use the North American style of commas and decimal points with numbers.
That is, 12,345.67 means twelve-thousand three-hundred forty-five and
67 hundredths. European practice would be to write the same number 12.345,67
which is confusing to North American readers (our largest audience).
The number of digits after the decimal point indicate the accuracy of
the measurement. Example: 8 meters is not the same as 8.00 meters; 8
meters means approximately 8 m whereas 8.00 m means 8
m to the nearest 1/100 meter. These are not the same to engineers
and scientists. If you mean 8.00 m, then use the extra zeros.
Use en-dashes for ranges of numbers: 191618.
Dates can be either day-month-year (4 July 1776) or month-day-year (July
4, 1776). Please pick one format and maintain consistency throughout
the manuscript. European readers prefer the former.
Italic is used for emphasis; do not use underscores or all-caps
for emphasis. [Bold can also be used for emphasis, but primarily in
less formal communications, such as this guide.]
Italics are used when a word is referred to as a word or a letter is
referred to as a letter: The word sea and the letter c
Foreign words can be italicized if they are not in Webster's, with the
exception of foreign names of people or places, which are capitalized.
Providing a glossary to define the foreign words used can eliminate
the necessity of a lot of italicized words, which is much easier and
helps us avoid typographical mistakes.
Titles of books, newspapers, magazines, films, operas, plays, TV series,
and works of art are italicized: The Illiad, Rodin's The Thinker,
Names of ships and planes are italicized: The Swoose, Dreadnought.
Titles of articles, poems, songs, and TV shows are roman in quotation
marks: High Flight; History of Jasta 79b in
Cross & Cockade, Wings.
Commas and periods in American practice are always placed inside
the quotation marks:
Cross & Cockade printed Rick's article History of Jasta
79b." British practice puts the quotation marks inside the punctuation.
We can use either as long as you are consistent.
In American practice, colons and semicolons go outside the quotation
Question marks and exclamation points go inside the quotation marks
if they belong to the quoted material; otherwise they go outside.
For a series of items the commas are placed: a, b, and c [Not: a, b
and c. The latter is accepted but is not as clear, especially if the
items are long phrases; be considerate of the reader.]
Use 1920s, not 1920's. Use six Albatros D.IIIs, not six Albatros D.III's.
In general, hyphenate compound adjectives:
Able-bodied sailor; red-faced accomplice, single-seat fighter, two-seat
Fuel-efficient engine, 150-hp engine, user-friendly controls
Blue-green paint, black-and-white photo
Phrases of long standing: matter-of-fact, up-to-date, over-the-hill
Please do not hyphenate words in the draft text; the line breaks
in the book will not be in the same place. We will hyphenate words during
layout if necessary.
and Military-Specific Details
As a noun, takeoff is one word, not hyphenated. Take off
as a verb is two words.
As a noun, machine gun is two words, not hyphenated. As a compound
adjective, machine-gun is hyphenated. Example: Machine-gun mount
If you are discussing fuel, use fuel, not gas. To readers
who are not American, gas means matter in a gaseous state, not
the fuel for an internal combustion engine.
Please use airship, not dirigible. Dirigible derives
from a French word meaning capable of being steered or guided; any aerial
device that can be steered in the air is a dirigible. Airship
We prefer engine power denoted as 150-hp engine, but will accept 150hp
engine. Please be consistent throughout the text.
For gun sizes, we prefer 20mm or 20-mm to 20 mm.
Please choose a style for aircraft designations and stick with it. If
there is only one correct form, please use it. If there are several
forms, use the form that is easiest or most common. For German aircraft
use Roman numerals [e.g., D.VII, C.III] as those are correct. For French
aircraft, both Roman and Arabic numerals were used; we prefer Arabic
since they are easier to read [e.g., Spad 13 rather than Spad XIII].
Also, use SPAD, not Spad or S.P.A.D.
For French squadron designations, we prefer SPAŹ124 to Spa.124 or SPA.124.
You can use either a 12-hour clock or 24-hour clock as you prefer, as
long as you use it consistently.
We prefer using the actual rank for all personnel, e.g., feldwebel,
not sergeant. The first time you give a foreign rank, please
give the nearest English equivalent in parentheses after it. And put
the equivalents in your glossary. We generally prefer to italicize foreign
ranks and titles, but this can become too cumbersome. Inclusion of a
glossary can eliminate the need for italics.
Ranks and titles are capitalized when the rank precedes the name, lower
case when it follows: e.g., Lieutenant Thomas Jones, Thomas Jones, lieutenant.
Ranks and titles by themselves are capitalized when used for address,
lower case otherwise: e.g., Sir, would the Colonel like to read
the report? Or, the colonel read the report.
Abbreviations of ranks and titles: use an accepted form and be consistent.
and Typographical Details
It's is the contraction for it is; its [no apostrophe]
is the possessive of it.
Over describes a relationship in space or time. More than
describes a relationship in number (e.g., Over a span of many years,
many aircraft flew over the Alps. But: For more than seven years no
aircraft flew over the Alps.) The same thing applies to fewer
We omit spaces between initials: J.W. Herris instead of J. W. Herris.
Please retain periods after all abbreviations with lower case
letters, such as Lt., Ltn.
In general, use numbered lists only for sequenced steps; otherwise use
Format for numbered elements following colon: (1) copy, (2) copy, and
Format for numbered elements containing commas: (1) copy and copy; (2)
copy, copy, and copy; and (3) copy.
Format for full sentences: (1) Copy. (2) Copy. (3) Copy.