Small Tips that Make a Big Difference: Preparing Your Manuscript for an Editor

In addition to my own fiction projects I have a small roster of editing clients. Sometimes they’re not sure how to format their manuscript before sending it over. Sometimes authors getting ready to submit to agents wonder about that, too. Either way, you do want your manuscript to be in standard form.

Fortunately, it’s not hard. Here’s what to know before sending your manuscript to an editor or agent:

1. Use Microsoft Word. It’s the industry standard. If you use another word processing program, convert your file before submitting it to an editor. (Be aware, it’s not uncommon for there to be conversion issues with other programs, so be prepared. Whether you’re using Windows or Mac, it really is worth it to use Microsoft Word.)

2. Follow standard manuscript formatting. One inch margins. Times New Roman. 12 pt. Double spaced.

3. Do not separate your paragraphs with an extra space. Indent the first line of your paragraph instead. Do NOT use the tab button to do this. Use the indent feature in Word.

4. Separate chapters with a page break (not a bunch of paragraph returns).

5. Once your editor has the manuscript, that is the master. Do not make changes on another version.

That’s it baby! Easy peasy.

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