Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Unspoken Expected Formatting

There are certain expectations that many in the industry have of the state of submitted work. Sadly, as there is no 'submission handbook' many writers find out the hard way. Agents and editors looking for fiction frown upon submissions that are in fancy fonts, or even fonts outside of the expected norm, contain tables, pictures, or otherwise non-standard formatting in your document. These things can sometimes mean the person you submitted to won't make it past your first page, even if the writing is good. While expectations vary slightly, here are some tried and true basics to go by:

  • Times New Roman Font, 12 point. 
  • Double spaced (You can get by with 1.5 but never single or more than double)
  • No spaces between paragraphs of the same style 
  • Indentation by .25 (approximate) instead of using the Tab key to indent (more of a copy-editor preference rather than an agent or acquiring editor preference, but it's a good habit to get into and it never hurts to make your future copy-editor happy too). 

All of these things can be found and set under the Home tab in Word by clicking on Paragraph. These basics will help make your manuscript look that much more polished and help give the first impression that you are prepared and professional.

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