What is the correct manuscript format for submission to a publisher or agent?

What is the correct manuscript format for submission to a publisher or agent?

Okay, you’re done writing and have a completed manuscript. You’ve reviewed and edited as much of it as you possibly can. Now it’s time to get down to business. No longer think of your manuscript as your “baby.” It’s a business proposal and must reflect that in its formatting. Sloppy manuscripts with fancy font and colored paper will end up in the trash upon first sight.

Manuscript format will apply if you are submitting your book to an editor, agent, or publisher. These guidelines are the current conventional way of displaying a manuscript for possible publication or representation.


kinda bw bokeh

kinda bw bokeh (Photo credit: _cyrilvallee_)

Accepted Manuscript Format Rules:

  • Use only white paper. Colored paper is unprofessional. You wouldn’t submit a resume on pink paper so don’t do it with your manuscript.
  • Font type should be Times New Roman and the size 12.
  • No staples or covers.
  • Print on one side of the paper. 
  • Double space the text. 
  • The text should be left justified. Do not right justify. If you don’t understand what justification is, click here.
  • Margins should be set to one inch. 
  • Each chapter begins on a new page. It doesn’t matter that there’s one word or line on the previous page. Start the new chapter on a clean piece of paper.
  • Paragraph indents should be fives spaces.  
  • No extra line spacing after paragraphs. Keep it all double spaced.
  • Last name/ Book Title/ Page Number should be at the top, left corner of each page.



Most Important Tip: The standard rules above are customary but can vary, depending on the editor, agent or publisher’s personal guidelines for their business. Before you submit to anyone, make sure you know how they want a manuscript formatted to their specifications.



If the article above was helpful to you, I invite you to comment below.

Fill in the form above for free tips on writing or edit on three pages of your story! Learn more about my publications at: http://www.kaylahuntbooks.com/buy.

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