Because the author took it upon himself to format the script in MS Word in order to make it look better. While it might have looked better to him, within the unprinted formatting lies a hundred manuscript mines, ready to detonate when put into another publishing program, blowing the whole thing to smithereens and sending the format of the manuscript into chaos.
And while your publisher is perfectly capable of performing the following tasks, a few ways you can make your job and your publisher’s job easier is to take care of a few things in your document.
2. Spell out your numbers in non-technical text. All numbers under 100 should be spelled out. If you’re describing forty-eight of something, it’s forty-eight, not 48. Larger numbers get spelled out when rounded or approximations, with some exceptions. Just Write Books uses the Chicago Manual of Style for direction on numbers.
3. Remove all the -st, -th, and -nd suffixes after numbers in a sequence. As people read, they’ll naturally add these sounds as needed in the document. Although in British writing, these letters are printed, this is not written out in American English.
4. Remove super and subscripts, except for footnote superscripts. These will be properly formatted during the typesetting process.
5. Spell out all abbreviations and acronyms. Avoid confusing your reader with these unknowns. If you mention something the first time (with the abbreviation or acronym in parentheses), you can then use an acronym for it in subsequent uses. For the sake of clarity, don’t refer to something by its abbreviation or acronym the first time.
6. Don’t use jargon. When writing about an industry that uses specific terminology, it’s up to you to explain inside jargon or lingo or find other, more common terms that serve the same purpose.
7. Remove extraneous formatting. Remove all tabs, multiple spaces and other unnecessary formatting from your document. These will be handled in the typesetting phase.
8. Use automatic page numbering. Using the page numbering function instead of adding page numbers manually helps with the editing and typesetting process.
9. Be consistent with how you handle the names of states. Whether you abbreviate state names or spell them out, do it consistently throughout the entire document. If you spell out Connecticut the first time, don’t use CT later. Yes, spelling out Mississippi every time is kind of a pain, but if you do it the first time, do it every time.
All in all, it’s consistency and a lack of excessive formatting that will help your publisher streamline the editing process, and help you get published sooner. Follow these steps, and you’re sure to make your life, and the life of your publisher, much easier.