With the greatest of respect for book designers and internal formatters, formatting isn’t exactly the sexiest of topics for an author to consider. And for those who don’t get how to set up to auto-indent (yes, I am bothered by tab indents too! But once you incorporate the standardized basics of formatting a manuscript in preparation for your editor, you’ll see that it will save both you and your editor a lot of time and frustration. Hi, as a copyeditor for the US book publishing industry, I would comment that perhaps each editor might prefer some variations here. Plus, once you have the basics down, you can create a book format template for future use. We recommend .7” for the top and bottom margins. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure they’re useful for our readers. I’m wasting my time reformatting this manuscript. -Jessica, Editor. (And yet again I’m reminded that everyone needs an editor! Indent each paragraph one-half inch, the usual default setting for any word processor. My only stern word of warning: don’t use song lyrics. Use the U.S. standard page size of 8.5×11 inches and set your margins to 1 inch on all sides Starting a new document... 3. Mark scene breaks with a single pound mark, left-aligned: #. We don’t do link swaps though. Yes, Times New Roman is boring, but it’s essentially on every computer ever made. While each of these issues typically doesn’t take too much time to rectify, the problems are compounded when an editor has to fix more than a few. Each element should be formatted appropriately. Step 2. This opens another dialog box. to do the work you could have (and should have) done yourself. There’s more to self-publishing than throwing your book up on Amazon and calling it a day. Include a title page with the capitalized title halfway down the page, and the author name below it. To set alignment in Word, select all of your text, then click the left justification icon in the Home tab or select Format>Paragraph and choose “Left” in the Alignment drop-down box. How To Format a Paperback Book For Amazon KDP [VIDEO GUIDE] As an editor I appreciate your simple guide cell and as an author I learned that if anything is worth doing it’s worth doing it right and helping your team. You don’t have to compose your masterpiece in Word, but because Word’s “Track Changes” feature is still the de facto editing tool of choice, your editor will appreciate receiving a Word file. #2. You’ll find a file with a template for MS … 2. (For why, see “, Note: Generally, the first paragraph of any chapter, after a subhead, or following a bulleted or numbered list, When an editor receives a well-formatted manuscript, they can. Use a 1-inch margin on all sides of your documents. Choose Current Position and then put in the page number format you want. Although I don’t like editing in Times New Roman (the punctuation is too small), so I set it in Tahoma. Sorry for the late reply Lakin and thank you for reaching out to me. That’s almost impossible to edit (text jumps around), and I’d have to reformat to left alignment first. Since there is no 6x9 preset size, select "More Paper Options" and enter those dimensions. SSH. Select the title and click on the Center Textbutton. Next go to the Page Layout tab, select Breaks, and scroll down to Section Breaks. (Font trivia: Times New Roman is no longer used by The Times.). This is for content that reads from right to left, such as Japanese-style books. I’d be glad to help, Jadyn! One of the simplest ways to do that — which too many authors fail to consider — is formatting. I am writing my first childrens book series…. by 9 in., but follow the guidelines of your publisher if you are self-publishing). Use black, 12-point, Times New Roman as the font Yes, Times New Roman is boring, but it’s essentially on every... 2. , https://self-publishingschool.com/5-book-formatting-mistakes-to-avoid/, Thanks for the kind words! You want to ensure they see your every last word, so give your words room to breathe on the page. Great that you reminded readers about those double spaces between sentences! Home. If you send a poorly formatted manuscript to your editor, they very likely won’t say anything, but I can promise you that they’re thinking one of two things: In these instances, an editor will either edit your manuscript as-is or spend the time you’re paying them for to do the work you could have (and should have) done yourself. If I may, I would like to ask for an email to contact you by. Start each chapter on a fresh page. Your books are your products, and to sell well, they must rival books produced by traditional publishers. While this article attempts to offer standardized recommendations, some editors, agents or publishing houses may have their own formatting stipulations. But you’d want to put the source after it: –John Smith, How to Quote Sources [the book title would be in italics]. Your Title and Written By Halfway down the first page of your manuscript you will want to include your title and written by. Move your cursor down to the middle of the first page and center your first chapter heading. But I have a macro that quickly deletes those things and implements everything you mentioned (full left indent, though). On the Home tab, right-click the Normal style and choose Modify. Centering is fine, or flush left. Select Page Number from the Header & Footer group. We use cookies (your browsing data) to provide content that's helpful to you. But fear not!From our experience, most authors make the same mistakes when with their book format.In this article, you’re going to learn what the most common book formatting errors and how to avoid them. Thanks for the advice Blake Atwood! If your publisher provides guidelines, their guidelines should supersede these instructions wherever the two are contradictory. Now, he appreciates every piece of solid advice he can access. Choose to place your page numbers at the top left of the page. I did have one quick question for you… I’m currently writing a fictional novel. This format, which takes up a lot of space on the page, involves centering the characters’ names and dialogue on the page. Set your text to double-spaced lines, press "Enter" twice and begin typing your manuscript. Once you’ve adjusted the settings, click “OK.” The page setup for creating a book or booklet is now complete. The “script” format, or playwright format, is utilized by producers, directors, and actors. Sometimes the Title style doesn’t appear on the first row of the styles list. When you skip over the basics of how your manuscript is formatted, you’re subconsciously showing a lack of respect for your craft and your editor. The sidebar of the Reedsy Book Editor is separated into 3 sections: the front matter, the body, and the back matter. Always be sure to scan websites for that information, and when in doubt, ask. To place page numbers in Word, double-click within the header area of the page on which your story begins and click “Insert > Page Numbers,” then select your preferred options. You can use the preset Styles in Microsoft Word or modify them for a custom look. I’ve even put in passages, as Orson Scott Card often does, as a preamble to the chapter. Use the name or pen name here that you want to appear on your book. Keep that as your original master copy in case you need to revert to it at any stage along the publishing line. ), Trish O’Connor Epiclesis Consulting LLC epiclesisconsulting.com. Writers often obsess about the correct way to format a manuscript before they send it to a publisher. Manuscript presentation makes a big difference to the way literary agents receive your work. In Microsoft Word, this is done by going to "Insert" on the menu bar, and then selecting either "Header," or in more recent versions of Word, "Page Number." Thank you so much for this information! Here are step-by-step industry poetry formatting guidelines for publication: Use Time New Roman font, 12 point. I'll explain all this in detail below. In the digital age, use a single space. There are no rules. Tip: if your manuscript has two spaces after a period, use your word processor’s Find and Replace tool. You can correctly format the pages with a good word processor. How to write and publish a book yourself (self-publishing cheatsheet) How to format your book (with free templates) How to make a book cover (design your own with these free templates!) I'm also making some guides and video tutorials that will help you design a professional, balanced, aesthetically pleasing, well-spaced and flawless book. Many thanks. Required fields are marked *. This may be the greatest help to your editor. Please reach out to me regarding a link swap if interested. Some people put a quote. Now it's time to set up a basic layout for the interior of your book. Note: Generally, the first paragraph of any chapter, after a subhead, or following a bulleted or numbered list isn’t indented. Here’s what’s expected for a standard manuscript format. Great advice Blake. Michelle Campbell-Scott is the author of the bestselling books Goodreads for Authors, Make Your Book Work Harder, and The 10-Day Skin Brushing Detox. Freeing up your time, so you may focus on more critical tasks, such as searching for book titles, publishing newer books, etc. The article has been updated regarding left justification. This creates space for the binding of the book. You can italicize or not. Thanks! This will automatically apply the formatting. I know. I’d ditch the italics, but that’s a stylistic preference. One of the simplest ways to do that — which too many authors fail to consider — is formatting. The following formatting recommendations hold true for both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts in the U.S. Any accepted variations are noted, and comments are appreciated with regard to differences for international markets. Pages should be numbered. Thank you for this clear and considerate post. However, published plays are more practical and formatted to save space. And probably wondering how to turn your… (For why, see “Space Invaders.”). As an editor myself, I’m with C.S.Lakin above on the justified text. To set page size in Word, go to File>Page Setup and look at the drop-down menu for Page Size. Insert automatic page numbering at the top left of each page. By avoiding these mistakes, not only will you have a professional looking m… (Font trivia: Times New Roman is no longer used by, In the digital age, use a single space. When an editor receives a well-formatted manuscript, they can immediately begin the work that you’re actually paying them to do: editing! Fiction authors should use indented paragraphs without full paragraph breaks. I edit and critique more than 200 manuscripts a year. Set your margins to one inch on every side. I was going to suggest left justified over full as well, but I see two others beat me to it! DO NOT overwrite your existing manuscript. Left justified text is also known as ragged right text. One question, though: is it ever acceptable to left-align on a non-fiction book? Thank you, C. S. The article has been updated on both accounts. Feel free to incorporate such quotes and format them just as you are doing. Build your book by creating sections and parts from the sidebar. Don’t begin numbering on your title page. Style your content. Thank you again for the information in this article and in advance for any advice you can offer! Then download the template bundle for the size you selected and unzip it. Great tips, and I know plenty of writers need them. Is this something that I should leave out of my manuscript? Jamie Wilson has written online content for over a decade on a wide variety of subjects. The title should be in all caps when you format your children’s manuscript but the written by can be standard lowercase. You can set the margins for your document by going into the Layout commands of your preferred word processing software. Thanks for sharing all these helpful tips! Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Education, How to Use Word 2010 to Build an APA Paper, How to Write a Table of Contents in APA Format, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America: Manuscript Preparation. Preparing your book for publishing Step one- import your writing. Do not separate paragraphs with a space. Setting tabs and hitting tab aren’t the same thing. I’ve seen these quotes used in more and more fictional works, but I don’t know if they’re meant to be added by interior design at a later date. Before leaving the Page Numbering window, look for the command to make the page number on the front page different. http://www.livewritethrive.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Screen-shot-of-paragraph-dialog-box.jpg, How to Write a Synopsis for Your Book: A Guide for Fiction and Nonfiction Writers, 55 Incredible Writing Retreats to Attend in 2021, A Complete Guide to Understanding, Obtaining and Using an ISBN for Your Book, Write About Your Furry Friends: 18 Pet Publications That Want Your Stories, Tools, ebooks and courses, all vetted by our team. Whether you’re going to format your book for publishing yourself or send it off to a conversion service, it’s a good idea to keep your formatting as simple and consistent as possible. And traditionally agents and publishers prefer page numbering on top left, so the page numbers are easily accessed. If you’re a tab-hitter or space-space-space-space-spacer, select all of your text in Word, then set indentation using Format > Paragraph. Thank you, Leah. Under “Indentation” and by “Left,” type .5. under “Special,” then choose “First line” from the drop-down menu. Does the size or position of the picture matter when formatting the page? Again, no rules but be consistent. Yes, sure, agents are looking for wonderful writing above all, so in that sense the way you format your manuscript is secondary . [Pssst! This is an updated version of a story that was previously published. Currently, she is the Augusta Military Lifestyles expert for a prominent website. You’d much rather paint a new world on the canvas of your book than talk about unadorned, 12-point Times New Roman. So without further ado, let’s rock and roll, baby! I’ve found that justified text is not the preference of agents and publishers. In the beginning of the each chapter, I’ve found quotes to insert under the chapter line that help the reader (I hope) get an outside perspective of what’s to come. It’s common, and I’ve used this technique in my novels. When creating your document in Word or Pages, this usually means using: Plain black text (font size of 12 is ideal) A basic font like Times New Roman or Arial I don’t typically tell clients how I want their doc formatted, but it is asked on occasion. Not a big deal, but that’s what I’d do. To begin a new chapter, don’t just keep hitting return until you create a new page. Book Design & Formatting Templates (free download) Easily format your book for print and ebook with our beautifully crafted book formatting templates. Do not worry about orphaned or widowed lines (these are lines that belong with a paragraph before or after them, but are left dangling at the top or bottom of a page all by themselves). Unless you prefer your friends to be story nerds or those who lean toward obsessive-compulsive tendencies when it comes to grammar, you shouldn’t necessarily seek to befriend, seek to do everything in your power to be a. friend of your editor. Chang… Especially the first one was a bit painful. Do not include extra line breaks. Most everything else can be quoted without repercussion, but song lyrics are costly and time-consuming to get permission for use in a book.