Friday, March 30, 2012

Formatting Your Manuscript

As you are typing the beginning of your book, there is one thing you must do. You have to start formatting your manuscript. Knowing how to format a manuscript in the beginning will save you a lot of time and energy later, and will prevent you from having to go back after finishing your book to format each page one-by-one. It’s not that difficult as long as you do it right.
Follow these simple instructions:
* Use a 12-point font. Whether you use Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier New is your judgment call.
* Double-space                     
* 1-inch margins
* Indent paragraphs using tab (not an extra line spacing). I like to use .3 for my tabs
* Create a header for the top of each page. On the left side type: your last name/title of book in all caps/the word "manuscript", and on the same line but to the right will be the page number.
(Sometimes the program you use will let you insert a header that’ll appear automatically on each page and even allows you to insert page numbers.)
The header should look like this:
Last Name/TITLE/Manuscript                                                Page 1
* When starting a new chapter go about 7 line spaces down the page from the header. This is where you type in all caps:
* After you write the chapter number, go down about 5 lines spaces, indent using tab, and start writing the first paragraph.
* When you get to a new page, which is not the start of a new chapter, start typing 3 line spaces below the header.
FYI: You don’t have to use the exact line spaces that I indicate, but using spacing close to it would be wise.
* For words or sentences that need to be italic in a book (such as a characters thoughts) do not use italic. Instead, underline it because it's easier for an editor/agent/publisher to see.
* At the end of the manuscript, go a few lines spaces under the last sentence (or half-way between the last line and the bottom of the page) and type in all caps:

                                                   THE END     



  1. Thank you, Chrys, for sharing! I knew about the font size and line spacing but have had no clue how to indicate a chapter change.

  2. Karen,

    I'm glad that my blog on formatting was helpful to you!

    Stop by again!

    Chrys Fey

  3. Yeah I am not exactly hip to the formatting. Yet I am a ghost writer. Lovely me.

    1. Formatting can be a pain until you get the hang of it. Now it's second nature to me.

    2. Formatting can be a pain until you get the hang of it. Now it's second nature to me.


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