Sunday, May 16, 2010

Formatting Your Manuscript

Great article I found. Source listed below.

Much like John Denver sings in "Thank God I'm a Country Boy," I blog when I can and work when I should. But unfortunately I wasn't early to rise to rosin up the keyboard (and when the sun was coming up the cakes, sadly, were not on the griddle), so today's post is going to be brief, which should be right up your alley if you are similarly busy (or if you're into that whole brevity thing).

I have seen a whole lot of manuscripts in my day, and no two manuscripts have ever been formatted the same way. This means I have seen everything from 10 point font single spaced with half inch margins (I call it the "Magnifying Glass" template) to 24 point double-spaced (the "Old Man" template).

So how should you format your manuscript? Here's the "Author Standard" template:

Double Spaced

1" margins

1/2 inch indent for a new paragraph

Pages numbered (and make sure page numbers don't start over every chapter)

Page break after the end of a chapter

No fiddling at all with anything else -- no messing with the spacing between paragraphs, no fiddling with the width of the type, no full justification, no hyphenation. Basically just open up Word, hit double spacing, make sure the pages are numbered, and start typing.

And most importantly -- don't try and make it look like the layout of a book.

What font? Well, I know there is an ongoing battle between the Times New Roman camp and the Courier camp. (I personally prefer Times New Roman). But do not choose anything other than one of these two fonts. Seriously. No matter how much Gill Sans Ultra Bold Condensed is calling your name, and believe me I know how tempting you can be, Gill Sans Ultra Bold Condensed, you wily devil you...... just resist.

I found this article on literary agent Nathan Bransford's blog. The blog is amazing, filled with a lot of helpful information! I'd high recommend checking it out.


  1. Quick question: Have you started your query letter yet? I'm terrified of that thing but I'm attempting to attack it. haha

  2. No, not yet. I need to get further with my story first. I'll post though when I do. ;)

  3. Kewl beans. I have a book my mother gave me about publishing and there's a few chapters on the query letter and how write's no joke.