Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Formatting Your Novel

The novel manuscript isn't hard to format at all. In fact, the hardest part is knowing what to send and what not to send. The first thing you want to do is check the Writer's Market or the current edition of the Novel & Short Story Writer's Market to check publishing requirements. Do not send anything out until you do. Otherwise, you risk having your manuscript rejected.

If someone happens to be interested in publishing your novel, you need to send the following:

-a cover letter

-a title page

-a table of contents

-3 sample chapters

-An SASE or postcard reply

You should always format your novel with 1" margins on all sides and be sure to use a title page. Remember not to number the title page because you should begin numbering your pages starting with the introduction, prologue, or chapter one.

Next, use a slug line in the upper left hand corner and start every chapter about one third of the way down the page. Use page breaks at the end of each chapter so that you start a new chapter on its own page. Begin the body anywhere from four to six lines below the chapter and indent five spaces whenever you start a new paragraph.

A novel manuscript that is being sent out to a traditional publisher needs to be double spaced. Any words that need to be italicized should be underlined. For 12 point fonts, you can use either the Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier. Always use white 20 lbs paper. Colored paper is unaccepted and will be rejected.

If you self publish your book with companies like Infinity, Outskirts Press, iUniverse, etc., you will need to visit their website and request a publishing guide. Every company is different so you want to make sure you do it right.

On the other hand, if you decided to upload your manuscript as an e-Book anyway is fine, but they are usually written in single space with double spaced paragraphs. You want your book to be easy on the readers eyes so use good judgment.

So, if you think you formatted your novel to the right specifications, then there shouldn't be any reason why you can't send it out, and good luck.