How to Format Your Manuscript for Your Editor

How to Format Your Manuscript for Your Editor 2Sometimes writers aren’t sure how to format their manuscript before sending it to an editor. 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 all the way around. 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. Match the paragraph settings below:

Microsoft Word paragraph settings for manuscripts

4. Separate chapters with a page break. Whatever you do, please do not use a bunch of paragraph returns to make your chapter start on a new page.

5. Do not make changes after you’ve sent your manuscript. Once your editor has your manuscript, that is the master. Don’t mess around with another version then expect your editor to find and combine your changes into the document they’ve been editing. It’s a pain, and if you’re paying your editor by the hour, expensive.

That’s it baby! Easy peasy.

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