Formatting is very important when you submit a manuscript.
By properly formatting your manuscript, you are presenting yourself and your work in a professional manner. What follows is an example and some summary points about how to format your anuscript.
Always use Courier 12-point. Why? Courier is a non-proportional font, so word
counts are easier to calculate (for you and for the publisher). 12-point,
non-proportional type is easy to read. You want to make your manuscript as easy
to read as possible. An editor who has to strain to read your manuscript won't
read very far. You want your formatting to be transparent so your story will
shine through the manuscript. Don't use fancy fonts or Sans Serif fonts because
they are harder to read.
Include your real name, address, phone number and e-mail address in the
upper left-hand corner. Include an accurate word count in the upper right hand
corner. If you are a member of SFWA, HWA, RWA, or any other professional
writer's organization, include this information under your word count or under
your name. If you write with a pseudonym, include your real name in the upper
left-hand corner. Place your pseudonym as your byline. Start the first line of
your manuscript about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way down the page.
Always use 1" margins and print on only one side of the page. Always
doublespace your manuscript. Use underlining to denote italics instead of
italics. Use Scene Breaks. I use a # sign to denote a scene break. I use
# # # to indicate the end of my manuscript. Some people use The End or -30- or
some other symbol. This lets the editor know that she/he has all the pages of
from the story title, and the page number in the upper right-hand corner of your
manuscript. This is called a slug line. The reason you want to place your slug
line in the right-hand corner is because it is easy to see as the editor flips
through the pages.
9-pin dot-matrix printer, make a photocopy of your manuscript to send out. A
photocopy darkens the letters (which makes those dots disappear) which makes the
manuscript easier to read.
out. Check for mistakes and misspellings. Be ruthless to your first page! If
you find a couple of mistakes, NEATLY make a pen correction to the manuscript.
One or two pen corrections, if clean and readable, are perfectly acceptable.
If you are unsure about your format, request guidelines from the magazine(s)
you want to submit to and see what sort of formatting that they request.
properly format your manuscript. This gives your work a professional appearance.
It also presents you as a professional. Finally, it shows that you know how to
follow the rules.
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