So, most of you don’t know this, but I submitted my manuscript to the Janet Reid Liz Norris Pay It Forward contest last week. The prize is admission and travel/hotel to the Backspace Conference in New York in May.
So, obviously, I was trolling Janet Reid’s blog the very next day, wondering if she’d posted anything about it. She had… A graph showing how many people entered. 416! Wow.
After a little sweating over the fierce competition, and hoping, praying, crossing fingers, etc., I moved on. Until the next day, when I checked again. To my surprise, Ms. Reid had posted about her disappointment over how many people were unfamiliar with the proper format for an email query (no addresses at the top of the email, since it’s not a business letter).
Then…(can you guess what I’m going to say?), the next day, I lurked around Janet Reid’s blog again, wondering if she would post anything else. She did. She commented, again, at her disappointment over the number of people who didn’t know how to properly format a manuscript for submission.
Which set me to thinking… A post on how to format a manuscript for submission might be a helpful thing to a lot of other aspiring writers. God knows we need all the help we can get in the trenches, right?
So, with that, here it is folks:
Here are two scanned examples of what your cover page and the body should look like:
As you can see above –you should always double-space your manuscript in 12 point font, either Courier or Times New Roman. If the agent or publisher specifies any certain font or margin size to the contrary, follow their guidelines. On the cover page, as seen above, put your name, address, and contact information on the top left, and your genre and word count on the right. DO NOT number the title page. On the first actual page, insert a header at the top, right-hand side, which has your name, your title (or if your title’s long, a shortened version), and your page number. Mark double line breaks with hatch marks.
Good luck on your submissions! I hope this has been helpful to you.
If there’s anything I’ve forgotten, or if you have any other helpful tips or hints, please leave them in the comments!
UPDATE: JANET REID SAYS THE PROPER PLACE TO PUT PAGE NUMBERS IS IN A FOOTER ON THE LOWER RIGHT SIDE (UPPER RIGHT HEADER IS ACCEPTABLE, BUT NOT IDEAL, IN HER OPINION). Reid states that lower right is the easiest place to find a page number if you are thumbing through a MS, because the lower right-hand corner is where you would naturally tend to look. Again, always look first to the requested format of the agent or publisher.