Submission Guidelines and Other Information

In this article you will find all the guides and information about what we require before we start working on your manuscript and produce a beautifully designed e-book. The query process is also described in detail.

For any additional questions and inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact us.



Your manuscript has to be in a certain shape before you send it to us, whether you require e-book design or print-on-demand services.

  • TEXT

We accept any readily-workable native text files. These include, but aren’t limited to, MS Office, LibreOffice, or Open Office. Whether it’s .rtf, .doc, .docx, .odt, we take them all. PDF is acceptable, too, albeit strongly not preferred.

Your manuscript should be pre-formatted in the way you want it to finally appear. We will assume that all your page breaks or chapter dividers (for example, *** or ###) and everything related to formatting is intended. When designing your e-book we will mimic your manuscript’s formatting.

Included in the file you send us should be all the parts of a regular publication! This includes: front matter, introduction, copyright page text, foreword, afterword, about the author, and so forth. If you don’t include something, we’ll assume it was left out on purpose.

If you do not care about your formatting, or your manuscript is not pre-formatted, please mention so in your query. We will then proceed to format your e-book at our own discretion.


Either embed them in your manuscript exactly on the place you want them to appear in the e-book, or you can send the image files by e-mail, with a note attached on where you want us to place each image inside the e-book. For example, send us a file titled cool-pic11.jpg, and put {cool-pic11.jpg} in your manuscript in the position where you want it inserted.

Either option is fine with us, but please mention it in your query.


If your wishes differ from our default template, you must notify us in your query.

“I want the first three words of the first sentence in every chapter to be in ALL CAPS.”

“I want the first letter in a new chapter to be of a larger font, and bold.”

“I don’t want indented paragraphs.”

“I want a larger spacing.”

Your wish is our command, and we will accommodate you. But again, you must tell us what you want, and we’ll work it from there.



It’s not necessary for you to have the cover picture ready before we start the designing process; however, it is preferred.

Here’s why.

It’s not necessary because a cover picture is embedded separately by the author (that is, you) when you begin the manuscript upload process on your chosen self-publishing platform. Embedding it inside the e-book itself prior to it may result in an e-book with a duplicate cover image. That’s how some of the biggest publishing platforms work, like Kindle Direct Publishing, for example.

It is preferred, however, to have your cover ready because not all platforms work that way. If you send us the cover image along with other extra material, we’ll make a version with and without the embedded cover for each output format we deliver to you.

Don’t have a cover, but desperately need one?

Nine Commas doesn’t offer cover design services internally. However, if you really need a cover in a pinch, we may be able to help you! We know some freelance artists, and we’ll get in touch with them to see if they’re available to make something for you.

You will be charged additionally for these services. For cover design the same terms and conditions apply, as when dealing with Nine Commas. We will do all the correspondence, and – if possible – deliver the final cover to you.

If the cover design services can’t be provided at the time, you will be duly notified upfront.



Ready to make a query? Great! Here’s a guide through the query process and some additional information.

A simplified example of our default e-book formatting template would look like this:

  • common serif or sans-serif fonts (Times New Roman, Calibri, etc.)
  • indented paragraphs (meaning, no empty lines between paragraphs)
  • 1.5 spacing
  • 10pt margins left and right, and 6pt margins top and bottom

You can check how e-books formatted in such a way look in our gallery. Of course, based on the demands specified in your query, we can and will heavily edit this basic template to comply with your desires.

For additional information, please refer to our e-book design and conversion practices.

What do we need from you?

  • A copy of your MANUSCRIPT in any readily-workable, native text format.
  • Any EXTRA MATERIAL, like pictures, tables, graphs, etc.
  • Any SPECIAL REQUESTS you may have.

What will you get?

Once we’re done doing our magic, you will receive your e-book: fully formatted, beautifully designed, in ePUB and MOBI formats. These are the two most common e-book formats, but to remind you: ePUB is the standard open-source e-book format, most widely used and supported by the majority of e-reader devices. MOBI is the proprietary format that Amazon uses for their Kindle devices.

The query process – steps:

1. Query us and send us your manuscript in any native text format (.doc or .docx, .odt, .rtf, etc.). To query us please use our contact form. The manuscript should be formatted in a way that you want it to appear in the e-book. While we design your e-book according to your instructions, we also expect you to have a prepared manuscript to begin with.

2. Mention any special requests you may have in your query. Please explain in detail what you want, so there’s no misunderstanding.

3. Send us any extra material you may have (images, tables, graphs, etc.). Anything that you want included in the e-book.

4. After we have received the files and assess the amount of work needed, we will you send you a quote.

5. If you’re willing to proceed, we’ll start working on your manuscript.

6. Once we are done with the design (usually within 10 business days) we’ll send you the final version of your e-book.

7. If you’re satisfied with our services, you will complete the payment for services rendered.

Please note: we reserve the right to turn down any project that does not fit our content standards.