If you’ve never submitted a manuscript to an editor, printer or publisher, you might have some questions. Here are some simple preparation tips.
- Create it in either MS Word or Scrivener, a software program for writers.
- Know how to use Track Changes (MS Word) or the editing features of Scrivener.
- Set your margins to 1” on all four sides.
- Print it on 8 ½ x 11 paper.
- Number the pages.
- Use a plain font in 10, 11 or 12 pt.
- Doublespace the text.
- Start each new chapter (if it has chapters) on a new page.
- Your homework. Is there a market for this book? Are you at least a reasonably good writer with a great story to tell?
- Reread it at least twice and make improvements as you go.
- Ask a friend or family member to read it. Pick someone who is generally well-read, somewhat familiar with your topic, and will give you honest feedback.
- Expect your editor to explain or justify suggested changes.
- Be open to the changes your friend and editor suggest.
- Develop your title (and subtitle if you wish), tag line and About the Author paragraph, and consider having a professional photo of yourself taken. Keep in mind that long titles will have to use small type. Shorter is better.
- Go crazy with formatting. It is not your job to make your book ready for printing – at least not at this stage. For example, don’t worry about the final book size, or starting each chapter on a right-hand page.
- Be too defensive about changes that a friend or editor suggests. A good editor will have a feel for what sells, and will help you improve your book with that in mind.
- Expect your editor to turn bad writing about a good idea into a work of art.
- Expect your cover designer to read the book and then make suggestions. Have cover art ideas of your own to propose.