Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Manuscript Formatting Part 4: The Manuscript

You’re a bumbling bit of nerves. An agent loved your query and has requested the full manuscript. Sweat beats form on your forehead. Your hands are shaking. What are you to do? Take a deep breath and relax. You’ve already properly formatted your query letter and synopsis. Now, you’re ready for the next step. Let’s take a look at how to format a manuscript.

-Layout: Double space the text. Use the 12-point font, in Times New Roman (or Courier), with margins of 1.0-1.25 inches all around.

-Word Count: Put the word count in the upper right-hand corner. Always round to the nearest 500 words. Ex. If your word processing tool says your novel is 89,378 words, then round it off to 89,500.

-Page Numbers: Place the page numbers in the upper-right hand corner, starting with the second page. No page number should be included on the first page.

-Header: List your last name and one word from your title (the most important word) on the upper-left hand corner of every page. Put the title word in italics. Ex. Labelle/Deadly

-Title Page Format: Ensure the title page lists your contact information, the word count, the title of your book, and your name.

-Contact Information: Place your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address in the top left-hand corner of the title page.

-Chapters: Each chapter begins on a new page, starting a third of the way down.

This completes the series on manuscript formatting. Now that you’re “in-the-know”, go ahead and send out that full.

What have you learned in this series? What can you add to the formatting tips already provided?


  1. I always stress to other writers how important it is to properly format queries and submissions. It's a check-point for publishers and agents - did this person follow directions?

  2. Thank you! You're a real lifesaver!

  3. I know this will seem ridiculous, but you might want to add that "double-spaced" means there is an extra space of one blank line between each line of typing on the page.

    I heard a story of an agent who once got a single-spaced manuscript, and asked the writer to re-send, but double-spaced.

    The writer sent it back with two spaces inserted between each word but still no extra space between the lines.

  4. Good post, Lynette. This is something most people (including myself) do not usually think about, but it is so important!

  5. Another great post. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I've got an award for you at my blog.


    Publish or Perish