How To Format A Manuscript For Traditional or Indie Submissions

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Did you know that some publishers are so particular about submissions that they will trash your piece without reading it simply because of the spacing, font, or missing important information you forgot to provide?  Luckily, that’s not the way we do things at FunDead, but we’ve compiled some information on traditional submission requirements to help you on your way, whether you’re sending it to us or to another fabulous publisher!

When you’re new to submitting your work to publishers, it can be daunting trying to learn about formatting. Many publishers vary in their formatting preferences, making it even more confusing for the writer. We’ve decided to share our preferences, as well as some of the “industry standards” to help you along in the process.

times

The basics:  

Your font should be Times New Roman or Courier and just leave it at that. I know, I know, playing with the fonts can be fun, but to the editor reading your piece, they simply want it to be easy to read. Most publishers prefer Courier or Times, so make it easy on yourself and stick with the traditional fonts! The size should be 12 point.

The margins should be 1 inch, and the paragraphs double-spaced.  Double-spacing ensures ease of reading the piece for editors, and, if printed, allows for writing notes on the manuscript.

Include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address in the upper left-hand corner of the page, in that order.  It may be acceptable to also include a web address below the phone number, but not for all publishers.  We recommend saving your web address for your e-mail (where they will be able to click the link and go to your page), and/or in your cover letter.

name-addy-word

In the upper right-hand corner, directly across from your name, include the word count of your piece.  It is acceptable to give an approximate number, but be sure to note that it is approximate if it is not the exact word count.

Your title should be placed halfway down the page, centered; if there is a subtitle, it should go on the next line, with your name or pseudonym below that.  You do not need quotations around the title, but we would recommend making the title bold.

courier

Yes!  Indent your paragraphs, but don’t use line breaks.  When you use line breaks, you run the risk of the breaks getting screwy in the transfer and making the entire manuscript look sloppy.  Best to avoid the possibility of a sloppy manuscript.

Only one space after your punctuation, unless you’re so old fashioned that you’re using a type-writer.  I know… I did two spaces up until this year because some terrible computer teacher at my high school taught me the two-space rule.  It’s okay.  Take a deep breath, hit the space bar, and move on!

Use a pound symbol (#) for a break between sections.  Asterisks (*) are also acceptable, but the pound symbol is the traditional option.  We prefer three consecutive, centered, see below:

###

Page numbers are preferred, but placement at the top or bottom are your choice, though we usually put them at the bottom.  Headers are acceptable, but not required, though some publishers do require them.  You can also do this in conjunction with a header. (See the first image in this post for an example.)

Feel free to finish your story with a “The End”, but it is not required.  That’s all up to you, and one of the few things you can have a little “fun” control over.  However, leave your submission at that.  Save the “thank you for reading” and the biographical information for your cover letter or e-mail.  Yes, please always include a cover letter.  Even if you just copy and paste the same text into your e-mail to the editor.  Many publishers expect a cover letter with every submissions, and it really give you an opportunity to talk yourself up!  We’ll cover this process in a separate post and go over what to include and how to make your e-mail different from your cover letter.

Thanks for reading, we hope this helps you with your future submissions to FunDead Publications, or otherwise!

 

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2 thoughts on “How To Format A Manuscript For Traditional or Indie Submissions

  1. Pingback: How To Format A Manuscript For Traditional or Indie Submissions — FunDead Publications | Arrowhead Freelance and Publishing

  2. Pingback: Writing Your Submission E-Mail | FunDead Publications

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