If you want to give a professional impression when you attempt to market your manuscript, it has to be formatted properly and presented in the best way possible. Here are some easy guidelines you’ll be able to follow to ensure your document is in great shape.
Format your manuscript to publishing standards by using one-inch margins and justifying your text to the left only (i.e., the text on the left is flush using the margin, but the right edge is ragged). Use a clear, effortlessly readable font—nothing fancy or decorative. Most publishing industry experts favor Courier or on occasion, New Roman fonts, primarily because they are the easiest on the eyes, with clearly defined letters. Set the text font to 12-point size and double space the whole document.
Then, examine your manuscript to be sure that the headings are regular. If one’s early chapter headings are in a bold or headline-style capitalization, this must be the pattern throughout the rest of the headings within your document; the same is true with any subheadings or bulleted lists. Often, authors have enjoyed experimenting with a wide variety of page formats and designs while they’re writing, or perhaps a certain style may suit their inventive mood. Writing in this manner is fine, but when your piece is ready to be marketed, all of the formatting needs to be constant—devoid of any particular flourishes or artistic touches. The skilled editors at Firstediting.com can review the formatting and consistency of the job inside the course of the editing procedure, ensuring that it is presentable and meets the publishing-industry standards.
Paragraph style is an additional critical area that is often overlooked. Paragraphs need to be consistent. When you use indented paragraphing, set your software program to automatically indent paragraphs and to eliminate any manual indents or spaces; these only add work for publishers (who would otherwise eradicate them themselves), and they will notice them. In case you use the block-paragraph model, every single paragraph has to be separated by a single line, including new paragraphs caused by brief lines of dialogue by diverse characters.
Furthermore, ensure that you have not overused particular effects inside the principal text of your document. There is no cause for bold or varying sizes of fonts inside the major text—these need to be reserved for headings, if applied at all. Italics inside the primary text are fantastic for emphasis or for foreign phrases, but they ought to be applied sparingly lest their impact is lessened or they become a distraction to the reader.
Lastly, be sure your manuscript has black text on a white background. Sadly, agents or editors hardly ever appreciate beautifully colored rainbow text! Add sparkle to your phrases and content as you please, but as far as formatting goes, the very best technique would be to restrain yourself: keep it uniform and straightforward.