When you’re sending off a piece to a publishers then it’s of paramount important to format it properly, other wise it’s more than likely to end up in the bin without even a glance. You want to give your writing the best possible chance – so try not to piss anyone off with dodgy formatting before you’ve even started. If you follow these simple guidelines then you’re off to a good start.
1. Put the title of your piece and your last name in the header – this way it will appear on every page. Align this to the right so it doesn’t interfere with the reading of your manuscript.
2. Use a standard easy-read font such as Times New Roman and make sure to use 12 point font. Oh yeah and stick to black, no-one’s going to appreciate a rainbow manuscript.
3. Use a single space only between each word. If you’re in the habit of double spacing, as many people are, this isn’t the end of the world, but single spacing is now preferred.
4. Page numbers. This is a big one and it’s surprising how many people forget. It’s usually neater to have it in the header with your name and title e.g. (Blatchford/A Wasteland/6)
5. Use 1 inch margins on all four sides.
6. Align to the left, do not justify the spacing.
7. Indent each new paragraph by half an inch. DON’T leave a space between your paragraphs.
8. But DO double space your whole piece.
9. If you’re manuscript has chapters ensure to start each new chapter on a new page, about a third of the way down the page. Make sure to centre the chapter title or number.
10. At the very end either us a # sign or the words ‘The End’ to indicate the reader has reached the intended end for the story.
So there’s my 10 points to go through when you’re submitting a piece of writing for publication – but do check the individual publisher’s guidelines in case they have any specific preferences.
Another thing is to not forget your title page. This must include:
- Your contact information: Align this to the left and single space it. This should be the first thing your reader sees. Include your legal name, address, phone number and email address. List the word count next.
- Title and author: Roughly half way down the page, and entered, write the title of your piece – usually in capitals – then, on the next (double spaced) line write ‘by’, ‘a novel by’ or ‘a story by’ and include both your legal name and pen name e.g. Mary Blatchford writing as M. E. Latch
- Your agent’s name and contact information
- Page header: Your title page should not have a header and your title page should not be included in your page numbering. The first page of your writing should start at page 1.
- Genre and subgenre: State where your piece lies.
Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll heighten your chances of getting a thorough read. That’s all from me, over and out –