Sending your book out to be appraised by professionals is a big deal; the chances are you’ve worked very hard for a very long time trying to make it as perfect as possible, and at the very least, you want it to be taken off a never-ending pile of manuscripts and read.
Unfortunately, however, agents and publishers get hundreds of submissions per week, and they can’t get through them all, so often, they’ll take in to account how professional and well put together your work looks before they spend their valuable time on it. So with that in mind, below, you will find five tips for formatting your manuscript.
The Cover Page
The cover or title page should be written in single line spacing, showing your real name, address, telephone number and email address in the top left-hand corner. If you have an agent, then you can add their information below your own or in the bottom right corner of the page. In the top-right corner, there should be an approximate word count, rounded off to the nearest one hundred.
The title of your work should be written in capital letters and positioned about halfway down the page, with your name (not all in capitals) below. If you are using a pseudonym, then this is where you would put it (your real name should still be visible with your info at the top of the page).
It’s best to use either Times New Roman or Courier fonts, although Arial will most likely be acceptable too, and you should use 12 point regular (not bold or italic), black text on a white background.
Except for the cover page, your work should be written in double line spacing; this makes it easier for editors to make notes, should they need to, and it also looks nice.
In the top right header of each page (except for the cover page) you should add your last name, a keyword from your book’s title (in capitals) and the page number (do not include the cover page in your numbering). For example, if this post was a book I was writing, then the header of my first page may read, ‘THOMAS/MANUSCRIPT/1’
The margins of your manuscript should be about 1 inch on all sides; this can help an editor to estimate how many words are on each page. Notes can also be made in the margins about changes to the document. Your document margins can be set by clicking on the ‘Layout’ tab in Microsoft Word.
Until next time,
© 2018 GLT