Nancy's Books

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Formatting a Manuscript, Part I/Call for Submissions

By request, this blog is the first in a series based on formatting a manuscript. [Thank you, Charles F. for the suggestion.]

According to an old British saying, If you don’t go to the fair, you can’t win the coconut. In writing terms I interpret this to mean If you don’t submit a manuscript, you can’t win a contract. Sometimes when you check a publisher’s submission guidelines, the “standard manuscript format” (or “SMF”) is listed. Let’s look at what SMF means.

1.      Always type the manuscript. Never send a handwritten document. (I’m sure everyone knows this. I’m just covering all bases.)

2.      Many publishers prefer a 12-point font size. Times New Roman is what I use, but Courier is okay, too.

3.      The ink should always be black and the paper white. Black ink for the envelopes, too. I handwrite the publisher’s address and use a label for the return address. If you prefer a printed label for the publisher’s address, that will work. I use a manila envelope so I don’t have to fold the manuscript, even it is only 2-3 pages. I buy these envelopes in packages of 100 because they are much cheaper when purchased in large quantity. They can be stored easily. For the self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) I use a white business envelope for the editor’s response and state that I want the manuscript recycled. This saves paper, plus it also saves on the return postage. A business envelop is much cheaper to mail than a larger manila version. Over time, this can prove to be a huge savings.
4.      Print the manuscript on one side of the paper, not front and back.

Next week, I’ll list more tips on formatting a manuscript.      

Call for submissions for adult writers: 

We love stories about our dogs and the amazing things they do. They are part of our families. We include them in our celebrations and even buy them gifts for special occasions. They have a special place in our lives and in our hearts. What do you do to make your dog feel special? What does your dog expect from you? How has your dog changed your life? We know you'll have many great stories for us about how you pamper your pooch and how your pooch is included in your family. Stories can be serious or humorous... or both. The deadline for story and poem submissions is August 31, 2013.

Details at

Check out more contests on my blog:

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