Manuscript Format

A picture book is formatted the same way as a novel. You don’t have to indicate spreads or where pictures will go.

Lately, I’ve been fielding questions from new writers and realized that now might be a really good time to review standard manuscript format.  Here are the basics.

Font.  Font is not the place to get creative or fancy.  Courier or Times New Roman work well.

Margins.  One inch all around.

Contact information.  The editor needs to know whose manuscript they are reading.  Put your contact information in the top left corner of the first page.  This should include:
Full name
Phone number
E-mail address
Word count

Title.  About half way down the first page, center your ALL CAPS TITLE.  Below this, include your byline, also centered.

Page break.  If this is a book with chapters (chapter book, middle grade or young adult), this is your cover sheet.  Break the page here.

Text.  If you have an article or a picture book, begin double spacing the text now.  Drop down two double-spaced lines and type your text.  Indent paragraphs.

Header.  Pages two on will require a header.  This way if your manuscript is dropped along with several others, the editor will know which pages are yours and can put them back in order.  You header should include your last name, first initial in the left hand corner; abbreviated title in the center; and page number in the right hand corner.  If you can’t get your header and page number formatted correctly, I have a post on how to solve this in Word 2010.

Chapter Titles.  If you have a book with chapters, the text on page 2 should begin with your Chapter 1 (or 2 or 3 or whatever) and then two double-spaced lines and then the text.

If there is something I’ve forgotten, let me know.  Otherwise, I hope this helps!