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Of course, story is king. Nothing will help in your search for an editor or an agent if your story is weak. There must be something about the story which stands out—an essence which makes it memorable and unique. But there are some universal conventions in how you format your manuscript for submission.
These book manuscript format conventions are what make your work acceptable to an editor and presentable to the writing world, much like your personal manners and style of dress influence the opinion of the public or your peers.
Consider the following as an etiquette guide for writers.
If you use thinner paper, it will feel cheap and if you use thicker paper, it is more difficult to handle. Double-space your manuscript and indent the paragraphs or dialogue 5 spaces. This is the most important rule. Make it as easy as possible for them. Use a 12 point font Courier, or Times Roman.
Some are very old school and will not accept anything but Courier or Courier New Font. Others prefer Times Roman. Use only white paper for the manuscript and proper business stationery for the cover letter.
The publisher will not care about your clever associations because they will not likely read the story. Number your pages and include a header with your last name, a word from the titleand page number.
If your busy editor drops a pile of manuscripts on the floor, or if her children rearrange them for her, you want it to be quickly reassembled in order.
So make sure that the agency or publisher handles the kind of books you write. Consult a market guide, but also try to dig a little deeper than that.
It will pay off. Do not send your letter to whom it may concern or to sir or madam.
Take a minute and phone the publishing house if you must to find out who you are to address your submission to. When in doubt, query first. This is especially true if you are looking for an agent.
If they are interested in your project, they will then request more materials a submission package, sample, or the entire manuscript. Send only what is requested. Spend as much time and energy on your submission package as you did on your project. Make it as perfect as possible.
These are your sales tools. Enlist the help of writer friends in making it perfect. After writing and rewriting your novel, you may think that book manuscript format is a small concern.
But following these simple guidelines may very well mean the difference between your book landing in the reject pile or receiving serious consideration.
Enrollment Limited Sherry Wilson's step-by-step method helped me organize my thoughts and transform a simple idea into a full-fledged plot.
Without her help and guidance, I'd still be walking around with just another "great idea for a story.We live in an amazing time.
If you have a story to tell or an idea to share, you can write a book and publish it for free, making it accessible to billions of people. The only difference between a board book or picture book submission and a chapter book submission is that you add a centered chapter header under the title on the first manuscript page, and on the first page of every subsequent chapter.
After writing and rewriting your novel, you may think that book manuscript format is a small concern. But following these simple guidelines may very well mean the difference between your book landing in the reject pile or receiving serious consideration.
You now have a manuscript formatted to the industry standard! Check out the images below for an example of what a correctly-formatted manuscript looks like. An example of a well-formatted novel manuscript. This excerpt from “How to Become an Author: Your Complete Guide” spells out some recommended steps to take before you set out to write a book.
So you want to be an author? Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. First, the bad news: Writing your book will be one of the hardest things you ever.
So you want to write a book. Becoming an author can change your life—not to mention give you the ability to impact thousands, even millions, of people.