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A Quick Guide To Manuscript Formating

Updated on December 20, 2015
Sundaymoments profile image

Mr. Matthew Q. Dawson is a native Texan. He spent his childhood and young adulthood residing in Austin, Texas.

Formatting Your Manuscript for Amazon Kindle--Part 1

As an Author, I have seen many heated discussions on the appropriate format for manuscript formatting.

Though I am not an expert on formatting I do qualify as one that knows by experience what editors, as well as publishers, expect when an author submits their manuscript.

Manuscript formatting should be a fairly simple process, but yet many authors find themselves getting caught up in the do’s and the do not’s.

It seems that authors want to make the process complicated. I have decided to write this hub with the sole purpose of helping authors understand the process of formatting.

Here are the basics of formatting:

Most Publishers/agents in any genre want the every author to meet these simple guidelines when submitting a manuscript for publishing review:

Have your manuscript on good quality white paper

Double space your work

At Least a 1-inch margin all the around

Use a clear font that is readable (This is where the debate will begin, we will talk about this later)

All Paragraphs should be indented by a tab space, not by extra line spaces

Always remember to start your story halfway down the page (Because many publishers/agents are particular do a line count of the paper size you are using making sure you are precise of your starting point)

Now let’s talk about the ever so heated discussion of the font. Back in the old days, many publishers wanted their submissions to be turned In with Courier (the font that looks like your typewriter font) however in the last few years with the innovated editing tools many publishers and agents prefer Arial.

The truth is editors really don't care, as long as the font is readable. Very few editors will reject your manuscript because it happens to be in New Century Schoolbook, Palatino, or Times Roman. Generally, it's best to use a 12-point font size and to choose a font that doesn’t blur or compact the letters too closely.

One thing that many authors seem to carelessly forget is to add their name address and phone number at the very first submission page as well as the very last page. This is a very simple addition to your submission but a very vital addition. I have witnessed many manuscripts rejected for this one reason.

These are just some basic tutorials to help the author understand Manuscript formatting. However as I have always recommended be sure to look at the submission requirements as many times the requesting agency will have certain guidelines that a submission must follow.

To read more on publishing, I challenge you to scroll throughout my Hub-Pages as I have more than 40 hubs on publishing, promoting, and marketing to assist the author in their success

Manuscript Formatting in MS Word


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  • Teylina profile image

    Teylina 6 years ago

    Up and useful. Think I'd seen 1/3 way down, but 1/2 makes sense; anyway, bookmarking in case I decide to actually try to get that finished novel pub'd! (not sure if I'm afraid of failure or success!-- or just the sheer work of getting rid of the wood!) Thanks for the info!

  • Sundaymoments profile image

    Matthew Dawson 6 years ago from United States


    To start your manuscript half way down the page is for two reasons

    1) for printing

    2) neatness and separation from your preface and dedication Etc...


  • Reprieve26 profile image

    Reprieve26 6 years ago from Oregon Coast

    Okay, I'm curious. You said to always start the story halfway down the page-- why? I've never heard this particular piece of advice before (and I've never had a publisher request this set-up).

    Voted up and useful! :)

  • dahoglund profile image

    Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

    I'll admit I am a bit behind in these things. Your hub helps to keep up to date.