A sample lesson from our Screenwriting Course Like any profession, it is a convention that must be learned as part of the trade.
Manuscript Format Basics by Harold Underdown I get a lot of questions about how to format and package a manuscript. Here, I cover the basics, and answer the common questions: I will keep adding to this as more come in. Know this to start with: I'll address what you might be asked to do then at the end of this.
But at the manuscript submission stage, most publishers are fairly broad-minded. Follow these few basic rules, and you'll be more than OK.
These rules are based on my experience working in children's trade publishing and should apply to books for other kinds of publishers also. They apply to email submission as well as mail, except as noted. The Manuscript Along with the title, put your name and return address on the first page, in the upper right-hand or left-hand corner if the manuscript gets separated from your cover letter, the company will still have your contact information.
Other pages need nothing more than the page number and your name in one upper corner or another in case the pages get out of order. Type the story itself upper and lower case on plain white paper, double-spaced, with one-inch margins.
Use your paragraph settings to create a half-inch indent for paragraphs. Do not tab to create the indent, as that will make it more work to change or remove it later.
Print only on one side of the paper. You want the manuscript to be as physically easy to read as possible. Fonts and Type Sizes It's not true that a manuscript must be Times Roman, but it must be in an easy-to-read font.
It could be Georgia, or similar familiar serif typeface, one that does not call attention to itself. San serif fonts like the one used on this webpage you are reading Arial are OK for articles or short pieces but not a good idea for manuscripts. The best size is 12 points. Do NOT go smaller.
You might set a very short, very simple manuscript for a picture book in point type, but do not go larger or smaller than that, and do not play around with typefaces and sizes in the manuscript.
The book's designer can do that when the book reaches the design stage--and you'll be able to make suggestions.
Spacing and Justification Manuscripts should be "left justified" and ragged right. If you don't know what that means, check your word processor's HELP information, and try different settings to see what they look like.
Always double space between lines, even with poetry. There's no need to play around with spacing between words or sentences. Just use the default settings for your word processor. One space between sentences is now standard. If you're still following the old typewriting rule of two spaces, and can't break yourself of the habit, do a find-and-replace before you send out the manuscript and turn all those into single spaces.The Editor's Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by .
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