Monday, 6 November 2017

Three Tips for Formatting Your Fiction Manuscript for Submission

You've slogged and slogged and at last your book is ready for submission.

But is it?

Before submitting a fiction manuscript to a publisher, you need to check said publisher’s submission requirements, to ensure you have used the correct font type and size, the correct margins, and the correct paragraph style and line spacing. Although many publishers use/accept standard settings, a few have particular preferences, and your story will stand a better chance if you prove to the acquisitions editor that you took the time to visit their site and read their specifications.
 
However, there are also three other things for which you should watch out, because doing so will make your editors love you. Not all publishers will reference these items in their specifications, but they are good rules to follow, whether highlighted or not.

1) Tabs
Tabs are evil. Never ever use tabs. If you wish to indent the first line of a paragraph, do so in the paragraph settings. Tabs can cause all sorts of issues when the publisher formats your manuscript for publication, so if you want to avoid their ire, leave that tab button alone.

2) Double Spaces between Sentences
This was common practice in the days of hard-copy submission, but in the present era it is frowned upon. Unless the publisher specifically requests a double space after each full stop, stick to a single.

3) Spaces after the Full Stop at the End of a Paragraph

This is something else that can cause formatting issues during eBook preparation. They tend to occur at times when a writer pauses before typing the next sentence, only to decide to start a new paragraph instead. When you edit your works prior to submission, check for this and delete any spaces that have slipped in.