Formatting A Manuscriipt

As a beginning writer, there were MANY things I did not know about formatting a manuscript. I would just type up my novel in Word and that was that. Eventually, I wanted to see what my manuscript would look like in book format. The only trouble was, I had no clue what book format was. Sure, I owned lots of books, but seeing it and knowing are an two entirely different matters. I scoured the internet for a basic format and got about five million "it's different for every book"s. I was exasperated.

I did discover that when submitting to publishers, self-publishing, or e-publishing it is important to know a few things about formatting. Many publishers and agents won't look at a manuscript if it isn't formatted properly, and every publisher has a different idea about what "properly" means and not every agent knows what every publisher wants. There seems to be a basic template you can follow, though, that can be adjusted before submission. I have found that using 8.5x11 portrait page size, 12pt Times New Roman font, one inch margins, Author/Title as the header, and page number as the footer works best. Just be sure you ask for publisher preferences before submission.

This, however, did not solve my problem of wanting to see what my manuscript would look like in book format. And when I decided to e-publish on my own, formatting was something I needed to know about. So I did what any insatiably curious person would do - I researched. I grabbed a couple of books from my favorite author off of my bookshelf (both hardback and paperback), purchased one of them for my e-reader, and began measuring and experimenting. Sure enough, things were a little different from one book to the next. But I did find a standard that I liked.

That was all I really wanted, a basic template to follow and then adjust based on my own personal preferences. So, without further ado, here is my template with all the information you should need:

If you have any questions, anything to add, any advice, anything at all, please feel free to email me at