Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Proper Manuscript Format

I'm often surprised at critiques or first page reading sessions, by the mistakes that are made formatting manuscripts. For Inside The Publishing World, I thought I'd take a look at proper MS format, and though there is no one "correct" way, there are professional guidelines.

The first page: In left hand corner should be a single spaced list with your name, address, phone number and email addy. I also like to include the date. In the upper right corner I like to give the word count and genre. For example, 70,000 words, YA Fantasy.

 1/3 to 1/2 ways down the page should be your title, all in CAPS. Double spaced  below the title is "by Your Name". Then, 1/2 to 3/4 of the way down the page begins your story. If you are attending a first pages critique, your correctly formatted first page should only be 1/2 a page of writing.

Following Pages: The  following  pages of your manuscript should include your last name and title in the left hand corner (White/My Awesome Book) and page number in the right. All new chapters should begin 1/2 ways down on a new page.

Important tips:
*Use white paper (nice grade) that is a normal 8.5" X 11" in size.
*Double space your manuscript. It makes it easier for the editor to read, and it is proper.
*The first page doesn't need a page number, but make sure the rest have one.
*Use a printer with dark ink.
*Use a common font such as Arial or New Times Roman. Proper size is 12.
*There should be 1" margins on each side.
*Left justify your paper.
* No double sided pages.

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