Format Your Manuscript for the Publishing Firm
If you want to publish your novel, you must present your
manuscript in the accepted format or else it may never see
the light of the day. You have to make sure that you fulfill
all the requirements and expectations of the publishing
agent. Your manuscript should not be different from others
in form even though it is exclusive in style and content.
For a first novel, the word count should range from 60,000
to 120,000 words. This can be lower if the novel is
directed to younger readers, but these numbers are fairly
standard. If you're submitting directly to a publisher,
you'll want to look at other things that they have
published in order to see what kinds of word counts they
like to accept.
The next order of business is to format the manuscript.
This includes having the text in a word processing document.
While typing on a typewriter might be your standard method
of creating your novel, it does not look professional. If
you do not own a computer, pay someone to type up your
manuscript on their computer. However, you should really
look into having your own computer, as most communication
is done via email these days.
Make sure that you type the manuscript in Times New Roman or
Courier font in twelve point font size and it should be
consistently double spaced throughout the text. The title
page should include your name, address and email address in
the bottom right hand corner. If you are going through an
agent, then type your contact information in the top left
hand corner and your agent's contact information in the
bottom left corner.
The title of the manuscript should be typed in all capital
letters and placed in the center of your title page.
The page number is always typed in the top right hand corner
along with your name and title in all capitals, separated by
a backslash in the upper left hand corners.
Skip four lines and type the chapter titles in all capital
letters and then proceed to the text.
Make sure you indent new paragraphs and dialogue either with
the TAB key or with five spaces.
Most importantly, get your document edited by a professional
copyeditor or do it yourself. For this purpose, it's'sbest
to print the document out and read it word by word. You will
be surprised how many errors get overlooked when the
document is on the computer screen.
A thorough editing job should make your document free of
spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. Otherwise, your
agent or publisher might think that you are not professional
or committed to the manuscript. These apparently simple
errors can ruin your manuscript.
Take the time to create a professional manuscript and one
that is consistent with these industry standards. Anything
flashy will only draw the annoyance of the one reading it,
not the attention.