How to Format a Book Manuscript

Updated July 12, 2018

Being new to the publishing industry is like asking for a rejection before you even get started. In addition to the challenges that face you just to get the information you need, not to mention actually writing a book, you also have to know the proper way to write a query, how to address an editor or agent, and how to format your manuscript.

Read the guidelines of the publisher to which you want to submit. You should always follow its preferences when you submit to it. This means that you will probably change formatting a little bit every time you send a manuscript to a new publishing house.

Double-space your manuscript. To do this in Microsoft Word, go to "Paragraph" or "Page layout," choose "Spacing" and change it to "2."

Make sure your margins are 1 inch all around the document. More or less margin area messes with the way that editors and agents count words. For the same reason, use either Courier or Arial font.

Use indents to denote new paragraphs.

Add a header or footer with your name, the page number and the name of the manuscript on every single page.

Print your manuscript on high quality white paper.

Mail the manuscript in a box or other protective holder. Do not staple the pages; a rubber band is sufficient.


Always read the guidelines before you submit to any publisher. For contests, you may be asked to leave your name off of the manuscript. Find agents and publishers with a book like the "2009 Writers Market." This book is updated annually so look for the latest edition at your bookstore or

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Things Needed

  • Word processing program

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