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Association of Personal Historians

Norcal Regional Coordinator       2008-2010
Membership Director   2010-2011
Vice President   2011-2012
Manuscript Preparation Services

Manuscript Preparation Services


When desired, we interview the narrator, discreetly taping the answers to a series of questions developed specifically to elicit not only factual information but also feelings, attitudes and values.

Clients have given us high marks on our interviews, calling them "sensitive and discreet" and remarking on the rapport that we have been able to establish in a relaxed and relaxing atmosphere.


After each interview, the tape is transcribed and a copy is given to the narrator for corrections, additions and deletions. It sometimes happens that the transcription raises questions in the interviewer, which can then be asked during the next interview.

Organizing the material

Depending on the narrator, the interviews may or may not follow a roughly chronological outline. In either case, the organization of the material is an important step and may take some time. Usually at this time, preliminary editing of the material is also done, involving corrections in sentence structure, spelling and the like.

It is also at this stage that the client decides what graphic materials (photographs, maps, documents, tables) to include and makes suggestions about where they should be placed.

This step is necessary even for those who have written their own manuscripts. Again proposed changes are to be treated as suggestions, which the client is free to accept or not.

Editing and revising

Once the book has been organized, we give a copy to the client for review. In some cases, revision may be needed, perhaps because more information needs to be included. In any case, the manuscript is edited again after the client has seen it and before it is sent to the graphic designer.

By the time this step is complete, the client and the publisher need to agree on the desired size of the book and, if possible, the number of copies to be printed.

Designing the book

This crucial step is what makes our books special. So much that readers take for granted goes into getting the design right: the width of the margins, the type size of the headings and the text, the type fonts, the placement of the photographs and other graphic material, and so many, many other considerations.

Also critical at this stage is the design of the cover, not only what it shows but also how it is laid out. A cover can invite you in or close you out, depending on how well it is done.


Once the design process is finished, the client and SML Publishing both proofread the manuscript to be sure that it is ready to be sent to the printer.