Tag Archives: format

Formating Your Manuscript

4 Nov

Formatting your manuscript correctly may not be a make or break to a book deal, but it does show professionalism and preparation that everyone desires in a business partner. So, open your Word document and let’s get started with the basics. 

STEP ONE: Margins 

  • Under ‘File’ on your tool bar, click ‘Page Setup’   
  • Click the Margins tab at the top   
  • Ensure that you’ve selected ‘Portrait’   
  • Enter ‘1’ in the drop down boxes for Top, Bottom, Left, and Right
  • Hit ‘OK’ at the bottom, right-hand corner 


Personally I use ‘Courier New’ size 12 or ‘Times New Roman’ depending on the project. It’s easy for pages/word calculation. 

Anything you wish to be italicized in your manuscript, should actually be underlined. Do not italicize in your manuscript. 

There is a difference between hyphens and em-dashes. For an em-dash, Word will turn 2 hyphens into an em-dash  

STEP THREE: Page Format 

  • Under ‘Format’ on your tool bar, click ‘Paragraph’
  • Next to ‘Before’ and ‘After’ enter ‘0’ – ‘Auto’ will NOT do what you want it to.  
  • In the drop-down box under ‘Space’ click ‘Exactly’
  • In the selection box next to where you just picked ‘Exactly,’ type ‘25’ – DON’T type ‘lines’ as was previously there, only ‘25’
  • At the top of the Paragraph Formatting box is the tab ‘Line and Page Breaks’ – click this
  • Ensure that all the boxes on this page are unmarked
  • Hit ‘OK’ at the bottom, right-hand corner 


STEP FOUR: The Header 

  • Under ‘View’ on your tool bar, click ‘Header and Footer’
  • When they pop open, in the Header Type: 
    BOOK TITLE / Last name                                                  Click # in toolbar 

 By clicking the ‘#’ on the toolbar, each page will be numbered  

STEP FIVE: Page Set-Up

Starting a Chapter Each chapter should begin 1/3 of the way down the page and centered. Personally, I put 6 or 7 hard-returns. This is roughly 1/3 of the page once your manuscript is formatted. This helps editors and agents calculate book length.  

REMEMBER: When submitting, check the Editor/Agent’s website, they may have specific formatting guidelines and you should always follow those when submitting to them.  

These are the basics. I hope they helped.  There are some great resources out there. Here are two:  



Remember, the work is in the writing, the formatting is the gift wrap.