Formatting your manuscript

A manuscript should always look professional. It goes without saying that it is typed, and that there are very few typographical mistakes.

Folio’s agents only accept electronic submissions.

When submitting an electronic manuscript:

Keep in mind:

• Manuscripts are easier to read on a computer screen if you use a sans serif font, such as Arial 12 or Verdana 10.
• Do not put spaces between paragraphs for electronic submissions; double-space only.

If an agent asks you to submit a hard copy of your  manuscript:

Here some suggestions on what a “professional” manuscript looks like:

• Print on 8 1/2″ x 11″ white paper.
• Print on one side only.
• Double-space the text.
• Do not add an extra space between paragraphs. Doing so actually slows down the reading.
• Use an easy-to-read font – Times Roman 12 or Courier 12 are the most recommended.
• 1 inch margins minimum; maximum 1.5 inch margins.
• On the title page, at the top, include your name, address, and telephone number.
• On all successive pages, at the top right, include your last name, title of the manuscript, and page number.

Other formatting notes:

• Do not write extended amounts of text IN ALL CAPS. Studies show that it makes comprehension difficult.
• Limit the use of italics. Italics cause reading speeds to slow; however, if you are writing a clause which you want the reader to pay special, detailed attention to, italics is proven to improve comprehension of text. But remember that italics should not be used for more than a few lines of text.
• Bold-faced is the best way to emphasize text, since it does not significantly distort the character shape.
• Don’t underline text, especially in electronic manuscripts, as it interferes with reading speeds and comprehension.

You probably think the format in which you send your manuscript doesn’t matter, but the ease in which something is read often depends on the medium: reading something on paper is not the same as reading something on the computer.

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