Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Standard Manuscript Format

Today we're going to talk about something that almost all writers despise: formatting your manuscript. Yes, that's right, it's not just enough to write out a whole book, when you send it to an editor, you have to format it as well.

Now, what really drives me crazy is that all kinds of different publishers have all kinds of different formatting rules. For that, you'll just have to check their guidelines. But, a lot of them still ask for 'standard format', so that's what we'll be covering here. To convert a manuscript to standard format, the following should be noted.

1. Make all of the margins one inch.

2. Make the font 'Courier' or 'Courier New' and make the size 12. Also, select all of your text, right click, go to paragraph, and make line spacing double.

3. Indent the paragraphs half an inch using the indent tool on top of the page.

4. Make sure new chapters start on a new page.

5. Remove any special text except for italics.

6. What you should put on your first page varies from publisher to publisher. Most will agree that you should put the title at the top ( all of the things in this sentence should be centered), below it the genre and the expected word count. Then, change the alignment to left and type in your name, pseudonym if any, and any relevant contact details. If your publisher demands a summary or query letter as part of the manuscript, make sure that they start on different pages and you should be fine.

Most of this is with reference to Microsoft Word, the most commonly asked for format by publishers. If they ask for a pdf, you can just follow the above procedures and convert it later on.

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