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How to Present Your Manuscript

Writers often worry about how to layout a manuscript – which font to use and so on. Here are some simple basic guidelines.

Many people spend a lot of time fretting about how to layout and  present a manuscript, looking for the ‘right ‘way to do it, worried that if they don’t follow the rules, their work will suffer.

All you need to do is think about the person who is going to read your work. They want a clean, easy to read manuscript, with at least a 2cm margin so there’s room to make notes.

To achieve this, use a simple font. Fancier fonts such as Broadway and Rockwell may seem appealing as they will make your work  stand out. Unfortunately that will also make you look like an amateur. It doesn’t matter if you ARE an amateur, you just need to present  your manuscript in the same way a professional would. Stick with Courier or Times New Roman.   

Regarding font size, 12 is ideal, but you can get away with 11. 10 is too small, and 14 means there won’t be enough words on the page.  The fewer pages you send, the fewer pages the recipient has to read.

Use white A4 paper. You want your work to stand out because it’s good, not because it’s been printed on cream, or orange paper. Always remember to number your pages.

As regards contact details, there are various alternatives. You can use a separate facing page with your name, address, telephone number and email address, together with the title and length of your work, or you can put those details on the first page.  Try to include your name and email address in a header or footer so that if the first page goes astray, you can still be contacted.  

Finally, check any writers’ guidelines. Some magazines/editors have particular requirements as regards layout. In such cases, you need to follow those to the letter.

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