The Well-Presented Manuscript is a book, of which this blog is a draft. The final book contains extra material not on the blog, and you can get it from Amazon, Barnes & NobleKobo, iBooksOyster, Scribd or Inktera.

I'm Mike Reeves-McMillan, former copy editor and tech writer, current active author (of novels and short stories) and book reviewer. I grew tired of seeing the same simple errors in one published book after another--traditionally published as well as indie--so I decided to write a clear guide to just the things you need to know to come across as professional.

Below is the table of contents for the book, with links to posts on this blog where applicable. Note that the blog is a draft, and I revised and expanded each chapter, and added a lot more material, when writing the book.

I've also written a summary post of the five most common errors, which is included in the revised version of the book (2020) but was not in the original (2015).

Table of Contents


Style and Voice

Basic Building Blocks: Sentence Structure and Punctuation

Nouns and Pronouns

Nouns and Noun Phrases

Capital Errors



Adjectives and Adverbs




Sentence Structures

Punctuation Summaries

Punctuated Equilibrium

Punctuating Dialog

Commas to Leave Out

Commas to Put In

Avoiding Other Common Errors

Commonly Confused Words

Common Typos and How to Check For Them


Names and Words

Common Factual Errors


Submitting to Editors

How to be a Light Hybrid Author

How Editors Decide

Basics of Standard Manuscript Format

Further Reference


Get The Well-Presented Manuscript here:

My next nonfiction project is Writing Short: The Craft and Commerce of Short Fiction. The working outline is available here (Google doc). Subscribe in the sidebar if you want to be kept informed.

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    Mike Reeves-McMillan lives in Auckland, New Zealand, the setting of his Auckland Allies contemporary urban fantasy series; and also in his head, where the weather is more reliable, and there are a lot more wizards. He also writes the Gryphon Clerks series (steampunk/magepunk), the Hand of the Trickster series (sword-and-sorcery heist capers), and short stories which have appeared in venues such as Compelling Science Fiction and Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores.

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