Day 6: #atozchallenge
Properly formatting your manuscript is essential to a writer’s success. The first rule is always to check the guidelines outlined by the agent or publisher before you submit. Below are basic formatting tips. But, be mindful, the agent or publisher may have different requirements. Adapt per their preferences.
Traditional Print Formatting Tips:
- Title Page: Include your name, contact information in the upper left corner. Upper right corner – the estimated word count. Space down to center your title, double space and enter by, double space and add your name. Space three lines and begin your manuscript.
- Font: Courier 12 or Courier New 12 – this is the font most often preferred by editors; however, some editors are now accepting newer fonts – Arial or Times New Roman. Check the guidelines.
- Spacing: Double-space your manuscript – provides room for the editor to make notes and is easier on the eyes.
- Character spacing: is a single space.
- Margins: 1 inch on all sides – allows room for the editor to make notes.
- Headers: Include your name, title of the novel or keyword (all caps) and the page number.
- Chapters: Start each chapter on a new page, a third of the way down. Capitalize Chapter number and titles.
- Scene Breaks: indicate a break using the # sign in the center of the line.
- Word Count: Estimate word count by using 250 X the number of pages.
- Justification: Left justify.
- End: Designate with the # symbol in the center of the line or write, The End.
- Secure: the pages of your manuscript with a clip or rubber band.
No-No’s in Formatting:
- Do not use fanciful or colored fonts.
- Don’t number the title page. Start with the first page of the story.
- Do not place a copyright symbol © on your manuscript; it makes you look like an amateur. If your manuscript is accepted, the publisher will file a copyright in your name.
- Do not send a manuscript printed on both sides.
- Do not use word processors to determine word count; they’re not always accurate.
- Do not bind or staple your manuscript.
For more resources of formatting check out these links:
- First Manuscript
- The Editor’s Blog
- Writer’s Digest
- Manuscript Formatting Template (Free Download)
- Short Story and Novel Formatting Templates (Free Download)