Whether you want to traditionally publish, or self-publish, your manuscript needs to be properly formatted. This is important for those who go the traditional publishing route because publishers and agents get an overwhelming amount of manuscripts to look at, and if yours isn't formatted correctly, chances are they won't give it a second glance. Also, if you decide to go the self-publishing route, you want your manuscript to be formatted correctly for any editors you send it to as they might charge more if they have to format it themselves.
Below I've compiled a list of the basic industry standard rules you should follow when formatting your manuscript:
- Use a 1-inch margin on all sides
- Use Times New Roman size 12 font. (Courier and Arial fonts are usually accepted also.)
- Double-space the entire manuscript
-Indent new paragraphs and each new section of dialogue.
-Indicate scene breaks by using a centered hashtag (#).
-Begin chapters on new pages. Center the chapter title about one-third of the way down the page. Skip four to six lines and begin the text of the chapter.
-At the end of the manuscript, in the center, write The End.
The Title Page:
-In the top left write your name, address, phone number, and email.
-In the top right, list your word count rounded to the nearest thousand.
-About halfway down the page, centered, list the title of your book in all caps. Directly underneath that, list your name or pen name.
- Don't number the title page.
-In the top right list your last name, the title of your book, and the page number.
Note: Some programs, like Scrivener, will format your manuscript automatically. Also, if you are looking to go the traditional publishing route, check for specific page guidelines on the agent, or publisher's website, before sending them your manuscript.
Self-publishing and looking to format your book for print or ebook?
If so, there are some free options. You can use Draft2Digital, The Reedsy Book Editor, or Kindle Create (Kindle only). If you prefer to do it yourself by using Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or Adobe InDesign you can use Book Design Templates for templates and step-by-step guides. Last, but not least, if you just want to pay someone to do it for you, I offer a manuscript formatting service. For more information, you can click here. As a member of the Resource Library, you automatically save 10%.
Hopefully, this blog post was helpful in helping you format your manuscript. If you have additional questions or tips, please leave them in the comment section below.