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Background: Im working on a rather long instructional book, and have just started trying to use LaTeX. The book doesn't have any scientific notation in it, and most of the diagrams I made in other software and rendered to still images. This will be the first thing I submit to publishers. It seems like LaTeX is most useful for writers who end up being in control of the distribution of their own work, I could be wrong though.

Question: Should a writer spend much time using LaTeX if ultimately handing the pack to a publisher? Will they even want a .tex file? Or will they want just a Word file or similar, to which they will apply their own styling to?

I will probably keep learning and using LaTeX because it seems to create very nice and neat work. But I'm more curious in regards to LaTeX and publishers.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I would guess that most editors want readable copies of text, so either a printed version or a common file format such as PDF or Word. You can create both from (La)TeX. Wether or not a publisher will appreciate a .tex file after the manuscript as been accepted for publication by the editor will depend on the publishing process.

Format: Scientific journals and books usually require Word documents (usually .doc, not .docx, as the latter often causes problems), some accept RTF, Wordperfect and Open Office.

Layout: Publishers often require plain text, that is text with no markup. Sometimes they allow italics.

Here are the manuscript guidelines of one of the largest publishers of scientific texts, Sage, who only accepts Word files: http://www.sagepub.com/repository/binaries/Manuscripts.pdf. The requirements of many scientific publishers are similar. Springer on the other hand accepts TeX besides Word and others: http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/instr_print_10459.061023.pdf

For scientific manuscript submission I don't see any benefit in using (La)TeX, because every publisher either accepts or requires Word. If TeX is a benefit for your writing process or even for the preparation of a Word file is a question I cannot answer.


Important edit

Please view the comment by Martin Schröder below who adds that LaTeX is a requirement in some natural sciences.

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4  
Correction: Scientific journals (e.g. math, physics, chemistry) typically require LaTeX. – Martin Schröder Jan 2 '14 at 21:33
    
Thank you, @MartinSchröder. So very likely it depends on the area one is researching in, with natural sciences more likely to require or allow LaTeX than the humanities. – what Jan 3 '14 at 7:24

LaTeX is fine as it will deliver a printable .pdf for initial approval to a publisher and many templates from scientific publishers, freely available from a basic web search can be loaded, including Springer and many others

LaTeX templates

Springer

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Can you say more about how to get from the LaTeX source to a format that publishers accept for editing (not the initial PDF)? Do you know anybody who's done that, or any publishers who've received submissions that way? Thanks. – Monica Cellio Jan 3 '14 at 3:43

You can use LaTeX to create PDFs for publishers who accept submissions in that file format. Otherwise, don't use LaTeX --edit-- (unless they instructed you to use a specific LaTeX class for your document, a specialized situation)

--edit--

I believe there are a few scientific journals that accept LaTeX code as submittals, but they usually require you to use their specific LaTeX Class (document type) rather than the "standard" LaTeX classes (book, report, article, letter etc.)

More than any other file format, LaTeX is used to generate pdf files, which many, if not most, accept. Publishers won't accept LaTeX code because the code is heavily dependent on the TeX Distribution and additional macro "packages" called for from an uncompiled LaTeX document. For example, if you had an indie publishing company, a writer could submit a LaTeX file to you, that called for a font package that you don't have installed, and the result would be that the LaTeX document wouldn't compile.

Since LaTeX is an entire System of Software, more so than a single code recipe, like html, publishers can't expect the LaTeX code they receive will compile. And, publishers don't want to have to ask you how to compile it, they just want a working fully formatted document, which LaTeX does with pdf as well as any software out there.

For self-publishers, knowing LaTeX is fantastic, because Lulu and Createspace both accept pdf, and you only have to generate true to size pdf page sizes, which is easy.

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1  
Done, check it out. – user12711 Jan 15 at 18:25

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