I'm a recovering English teacher, so I know the basics. Still, every publisher has a formatting guide, and NONE of them agree on how one must submit work. So, no matter how carefully an author sets up a MS, there's a point where she must go back and "fix" the things the publisher wants done another way. To quote Robert Frost, "It couldn't be called ungentle, but how thoroughly departmental."

Ellipsis: space before and space after, or no?
Quotation marks around a phrase at the end of a sentence: inside or outside end punctuation?
Em dash: two shorts or a long, with spaces or without?
Chapter headings: bold, all caps, all tiny caps? Numeral or written word for the number?*

And so on, and so on. Who knew publishing could be so much fun?

*Hint: Don't answer these questions, because you'll only be correct for your publisher, not mine!

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Comment by Pepper Smith on December 31, 2009 at 5:20am
As you say, it depends entirely on the publisher and whatever their style sheet asks for. And while there is often some commonality, there are a lot of things that you would think were standard that are different depending on the publisher.

Yup. Lots of fun.
Comment by Dana King on December 31, 2009 at 4:07am
I figure if a publisher wants to reject my manuscript because I didn't do an em dash the way he wants it, we weren't going to get along, anyway. That's what copy editors are for.
Comment by I. J. Parker on December 31, 2009 at 1:52am
Well, the punctuation of quotes (citations) is not up to the publisher. Ellipsis? That's three spaced periods, including before and after.
Otherwise, I let them do their own thing (usually via the copy editor). I have certain habits. For example I still use a double space between sentences, though this has gone out of style. I'm not about to fix all of that to please a publisher. For that matter, neither does the copy editor.

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