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Top 8 “Must” Book Manuscript Formatting Tips for Beginners and Professionals

A book manuscript is not finished until the formatting is done. This is a special assignment that the writer has to expect to perform, or else have somebody else do it. There are number of things to be kept in mind to make a manuscript’s format look as good as it should be.

A Manuscript Formatting Must Follow a Process

  1. Establish a Format. There has to be some order to what is being done. The formatting outline that includes margins, font types, and spacing should be determined ahead of time. That can be a quick reference as formatting goes on.
  2. Be Careful with Fonts and Paragraphs. Rather than experiment it is a good idea to go with the tried and true. This would be the 12 point font, and Times new Roman or Courier are good options. There is absolutely no reason to use a very fancy style at all. Paragraphs should be double-spaced because this is makes it easier for a publisher to read.
  3. Be Careful with the Header and Book Title. The header on the first page needs to include your name, address, and phone number. The email address if you have one should also be included. The title of the manuscript should be several spaces down from the header. The title needs to be in capital letters but there’s no need to use bold type or underline it. There is no need to put a copyright on the title, so do not indicate it.
  4. Chapters Have Their Own Space. The chapter title needs to be capital letters and centered. Be sure that you number each of the chapters.
  5. Indent the Text. The content of your text will need to be indented. This just requires hitting the Tab key on the keyboard. There’s no need to do it more than once.
  6. Doing the Page Numbers. You decide where the page number is going to be, but it has to include what is known as a slug. That is your last name and the title.
  7. Have Uniform Margins. You have to decide the proper margins and ordinarily the book publishing company will let you know what is expected. As far as the mainstream is concerned. Make sure that every page has the same margins to it. The giving of variations.
  8. Table of Contents. This is important in non-fiction books, but not so in fiction. If you’re writing a novel you do not need to have a table of contents

Manuscript Formatting Follows Rules of Composition

When you take a look at formatting guides you will notice that a lot of them seem to follow all standard rules. Some of these come from the days when you were studying composition in high school. They still are quite valid.

Outside Services Might Help with Manuscript Formatting

It is possible that you may not have the time or expertise to do a professional formatting job. If that is the case, there are number of professional online services that you can consider. These can provide you with formatting experts who will gladly do the work. Be sure that you understand what the fee schedule is, and ask for samples of earlier work.

The benefit of a good formatting job is the appearance the manuscript itself. Good formatting makes it look crisp, professional, and inviting. That last point bears repeating. If the formatting invites a person to read, then it means the book is going to sell. Every writer wants that to happen!