A reader writes to ask:
I came upon your blog when asking a question about short story indentation at ask.com. I don't know if you'll ever read this, but if you do and can spare some time, I'd appreciate a response.
I was just about ready to submit an anthology of short stories to the printer. I am self-publishing some of my stories.
Anyway, for some reason, this afternoon I looked at four short story anthologies in my personal library. In three of them, all of the stories begin without any indentation. In the fourth, there is an indentation, but the first letter of each story is formatted in an oversized capital letter.
I have begun each of my stories with a standard paragraph indentation, just as I note you indicate short stories should be formatted. But now seeing the formatting of the anthologies in my possession, I wonder if I should re-do the formatting of the first paragraph of each story.
You seem to be confusing book design with manuscript formatting. Let me try to explain the difference.
Manuscript formatting is what you do to prepare your book or story for submission to an editor. The editor's job is to decide whether or not to accept the manuscript for publication, and then to offer suggestions on improving the manuscript. He or she will likely make a lot of notes directly on the manuscript itself. That's why, when submitting a manuscript to an editor, you should do the things I suggest in my manuscript formatting guidelines, such as using a big, readable font, double-spacing, indenting paragraphs half an inch, and so on.