A feature is a learning aid consistently built
into each chapter of your book. A feature can
consist of anything from a chapter outline or
summary, to "boxed" material or activities.
A well-developed set of features can help both
sell your book and make it a superior learning
Analyze the competing books to see what
types of features they include. Are they useful
or just "fluff?" Do you need to include similar
features to ensure marketability? If so, how
can you improve upon what has been done before?
What new features would help students learn
the material, maintain their high interest
level, or make the material more relevant?
Once you've established your list of features,
hone it carefully. Too many features will
confuse the reader and the sales staff, and
make it difficult (if not impossible) to develop
an appropriate design. Consult with your editor
before finalizing your feature plan.
Give your features a name where appropriate.
Titles like "Point/Counterpoint" or "Back
to the Case" clearly define the feature and
make the book easier to sell.
- Chapter-opening material
- Vignettes & Cases
- Chapter Organizers (Concept Maps,
Outlines, Lists of Objectives)
- In-chapter material
- "Boxes" (research, controversies,
in the news, cases)
- Lists (of steps, materials, etc.)
- Marginalia (margin notes to students,
- End-of-chapter material
- Summaries (bullet point or prose)
- Appendices & Other End-of-Book Material
- Author Index
- Subject Index
In a heavily illustrated book, it is virtually
impossible to ensure the placement of "boxed"
material in exactly the place you wish it
to be. To avoid surprises during the design
and paging process, you need to carefully
plan your illustration and feature program.
Hints for Good Features
- If it is crucial to the text that the
box appear with the material you've just
discussed, make a note to your editor
of that fact. We can design it as a "flow-through"
box to interrupt the text flow as little
- If a box is able to stand alone, note
in your manuscript approximately where
it should occur, but be aware that it
may float a bit (within a page or so)
to ensure good page layout. With this
type of box, you may want to refer to
it by title. For example, "In this chapter's
'Teachers on Teaching' box, a practicing
teacher discusses how cooperative learning
works in her classroom."
- Do not use such phrases as "in the box
below" when referring to boxes. Paging
considerations may not allow it to be
- Many books include features like lists
of steps or lists of materials. If this
is a consistent feature in every chapter,
you may want to consider giving it a name
and making it a special "boxed" feature.
When preparing your manuscript, think through
your chapter structure and organize your material
into logical segments. A detailed outline is
an excellent way to begin.
Keep your headings as brief as possible.
A reader should be able to glance through
them and see immediately how the whole text
is structured. An organizational structure
with more than three levels of headings under
the chapter title is probably too complex
for the average reader to follow. Consult
with your editor.
Format for Chapter Headings
Headings and subheadings should be typed
uniformly throughout the manuscript. We prefer
the following styles to show the value of
PRIMARY ("A" HEADS)
Secondary Headings ("B" heads)
Third-Level Headings ("C" heads)
Illustrations should be used to clarify the
text to the reader. Art
and Photo Specifications provide further