Archive for December, 2007

Tips on Formatting for Book Manuscripts

December 7, 2007

Manuscript format for novels or nonfiction books differs slightly from what is used for articles or short stories. Here are a few points to remember:

  1. Book manuscripts have a cover page that includes your name, address, and telephone number in the upper left hand corner.
  2. Your word count should be across the page in the upper right corner.
  3. A word of caution. Most editors are very aware of copyright status. Putting a copyright statement on the page screams amateur and puts you at risk for angering an editor. Something I would no recommend.
  4. The title of your work should be centered approximately halfway down the page. Twenty double spaces is a good guide or about 3 ½ inches down.
  5. If you wish under the title you may place the type of work (A Thriller, A Mystery, A Romance) centered on the next line.
  6. Then your name centered on the next line. If you are using a pseudonym, you need to use your pseudonym here.

The remainder of the manuscript should follow the format for shorter pieces with headers that contain your name, a shortened version of the title and page numbers. Page numbers should be continuous throughout the work. Do not re-number within a chaper.


  1. Do not bind the manuscript. Clips, comb bindings, or other bindings are frowned upon.
  2. Do not use both sides of the paper. One side, double-spaced, in a readable type font will make you a favorite with any editor.

Next time a word about plotting and storyline.

Sandy Whelchel is the author of THE NATIONAL WRITERS ASSOCIATION GUIDE TO WRITING FOR BEGINNERS, published by Rowman and Littlefield ISBN#978-1-57886-685-4