Proper Manuscript Format : October 2014

A reader writes to ask:

I have just one question concerning the "1in from margin" factor: what page size is normally used?

6x9 ?

I see the '1in from margin' statement everywhere but nowhere I've found do they say the page size.

In the United States, Canada, and a few others places, print and submit your manuscript on white standard letter size paper, which is 8½ by 11 inches. In most of the rest of the world, including the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, use A4 paper, which is 210 by 297 mm, or about 8.27 by 11.69 inches. (A4 is part of the ISO 216 standard, which makes a lot more sense than our system.)

But really, when have you ever seen a ream of 6 x 9" printer paper at Staples? It's a fairly standard size for book publishing, yes, but that wouldn't make it at all practical for manuscript submission.

Full entry

A reader writes to ask:

I'm finalizing a manuscript and your templates are so helpful. One thing I can't seem to find addressed is the use of quotes - a poem or just a quotation from a person, at the beginning of a chapter. Since I would like to have one in my first chapter and it would then be the first thing an agent sees, I am worried about how to do it right. Can you help?

All you need to do is indent the quote one half inch from both the left and the right margin and put a line space after it. You can single-space the quote if you like. Otherwise, everything else is the same. You still start the quote on the same line of the page where you otherwise would have begun the chapter.

Full entry

A reader writes to ask:

I enjoyed reading your article about formatting short story submissions, but wondered whether the Name/Title/Page# thing is necessary for electronic submissions. I have a story ready for submission to EQMM.

There are essentially two kinds of electronic submissions: text pasted into the body of an email, and email attachments. Obviously, with text pasted into an email, there's no place for page headers. But if you're sending a file as an attachment (as would be the case with Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine), then page headers are still absolutely necessary. It doesn't matter that the document may never be printed out on actual paper. The editors still expect to see that header at the top of every page.

Full entry
Looking for Bill's original properly formatted article on proper manuscript format? Click here.
Proper Manuscript Format Illustrated - Click here.
FLOG is Hugo- and Nebula-nominated author William Shunn's blog on manuscript formatting and preparation for fiction writers. It features formatting questions from real readers and writers like you. Submit your questions to format at shunn dot net. Identitying information will remain private. We regret that we can't always respond individually to submissions, and that we can't answer every question we receive.

About October 2014

This page contains all entries posted to Proper Manuscript Format in October 2014. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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