With lots of markets opening up for submissions, not just Cirsova, and lots of new writers trying their hand and getting short fiction published, I think it’s worthwhile to do a short post on how a Manuscript should be formatted.
There are lots of sites out there that give guidelines on how to format your manuscript, but here are a few things that are biggies and why you should do them.
- Include your name and contact info on the first page – This helps an editor put together an address book. If they need to send you anything or get in touch with you, they can just check the submission manuscript, and there it is!
- Approximate Word Count – I’m not as much of a stickler on this, since Office does a word count for you, but it’s still not a bad idea to include this to the nearest 100.
- Page number/author name/story title in the header – I don’t have a preference on any particular format on this, but numbering your pages and making it easy to get them back into order should they get out of order is super helpful.
- Do use double spacing – This makes it easier to mark-up your manuscript.
- Do not use paragraph breaks to manually create double spacing – I don’t know how this even happens or if it’s due to opening the wrong type of file format in word, but having to remove all of those paragraph breaks manually later on is a pain.
- Don’t use Tab to create indentation – These have to be manually removed anyway, so instead set the paragraph indentation using the paragraph formatting.
- Don’t use hyphenation for words at the edge of the page – It’s a rarely occurring problem, but sometimes if a word gets broken up by a hyphenation at the edge of the page, it can be hard to tell if the word is just broken because it’s at the edge of the page or if it’s meant to be hyphenated. So, play it safe and turn off auto-hyphenation.