While there is no absolute standard in the industry, the following specifications for preparing your manuscript will be acceptable to most agents and publishers, and is the format you must use for submissions to Comfy Chair Publishers. Whatever word processor or writing software you use, the document must be saved in .DOC or .DOCX format, and readable on a PC.
We understand that there are some of you who are wildly creative and capable of producing a work of profound significance and impact, you just don’t know how to use a computer. That’s a problem. If you can’t communicate your words to the world, your wisdom remains on a stack of hand-written pages. With few exceptions, the publishing world has adopted the digital file with Microsoft Word as it’s format. PC or MAC, you must use Word as your quill. Acquiring basic, essential utility with Word is demanded of the writer. There are many books, on-line aids, and people available to mentor you through the learning curve; we will not do that here.
The basics are non-negotiable. The final publication size of your book may be some other dimensions, but you’re not publishing, yet. The manuscript you submit for review must be prepared as follows:
|Font and Page Settings|
|Page size:||8-1/2″ x 11″|
|Font size:||12 pt.|
|Type font:||Times New Roman|
|Margins:||1″ all around|
|Paragraph indent:||First line; 0.3″|
Most commonly, writers have problems with the Paragraph Settings, so I’ve provided a graphic using Word 2007. Word 2010 and Word 2003 are identical to that shown. Though Word 1997 has no page tabs, and the screen layout is different, the icons are the same. Please don’t contact us to walk you through this; any high school student can help you.
The most common and fatal mistake is indenting text, at the beginning of a paragraph or elsewhere, by places SPACES before the text or TAB-ing the text into position. You must use the paragraph settings for indent of new paragraphs, and the CENTER icon to align chapter headings. If you have gone to the dark side and used spaces and tabs, you MUST undo it by going through the entire text and removing them. There are ways of doing this GLOBALLY, but they are beyond the scope of this discussion.
There are other considerations and settings for actual publication, but these are the essential parameters to prepare your manuscript for submission. Other agents and publishers may have additional requests, but none that I’ve encountered will take issue with this format.