The hard part is pretty much over…you’ve written your novel congratulations. But, oh wait, you’ve got another mountain to climb: formatting your manuscript! Formatting my manuscript? Why do I need to do that I hear you ask. Well, some editing companies would potentially reject your manuscript on the basis of poor formatting (luckily we don’t do that here at Mardibooks), so it is important to adhere to the guidelines before sending your work off to prospective companies. It is important to stress that these guidelines are not what every editor would like for, and each editor that you come across may have slightly different requirements. However, there are some basic rules that should be adhered to and are useful to know.
Here is Mardibooks’ checklist for you to go through before you submit your manuscript:
“I like to think of formatting as the way one dresses to a job interview. It gives the publisher an initial impression of you and your writing. It is very important, therefore, to get this right from the outset and pass this first hurdle. When a publisher receives many submissions a correctly formatted manuscript will be, even without reading it, much more inviting than a poorly formatted piece.” – Jemila Abulhawa, Mardibooks Social Media Director
Leave a space between the title and the body of your text. A five line space is sufficient.
MARGINS: These should be 1”.
Don’t indent the first paragraph (see image below).
ALIGNMENT: A lot of publishers like the text to be aligned left. However, if you are submitting your work to Mardibooks, please justify your text.
SPACING: Double-space your text.
INDENTS: All tab indents should be 0.5cm.
PAGE NUMBERS: Page number placement varies according to the publisher. It is common to find it in the footer.
DIALOGUE: Every time a new character speaks move on to the next paragraph.
FONT: Choose between Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial, Courier and Garamond. All are standard fonts.
FONT SIZE: 12 points is standard.
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