By Glen C. Strathy
Preparing a book manuscript (assuming you already have a final draft is the last step you should take before attempting to get it published. It is also the least creative and the easiest (provided you have no problem dealing with things like rules and details).
Many writers will set up their word processors to automatically use proper formatting as they write, in order to leave them with as little to do at this stage as possible. However, there are also writers who like to write in longhand and only use a word processor for the final draft.
Either way, there are a few questions writers tend to ask about preparing a book manuscript, so we thought we might use this space to present some articles that help answer those questions.
We recognize that nonfiction writers usually come to this stage after they have a publishing contract in hand. For them, it's the final step of the process. Fiction writers, on the other hand, must prepare a complete manuscript before they approach an agent or publisher.
Regardless what you're writing, we hope you reach the stage where you have to be concerned with this topic. It is a milestone after all.
Naturally, it goes without saying that your final draft should be
perfect in terms of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It's important
to show the reader that you are a professional and know what you are
doing in regards to the English language.
For the same reason, you also want to make sure you follow the proper format for manuscripts. It's what editors expect to see, and anything else is a distraction that could hurt your chances of getting read.
It's also important that your story (if you're writing fiction) be as good as you think you can make it. Increasingly, editors seem to have less time to help an author polish a work. Instead, they want to see manuscripts that need very little revising.
Also keep in mind that agents and editors have very little time to read manuscripts, since their workdays are consumed with looking after their other authors. So when they get around to yours, they may only have time to read a page or so before rejecting it. For this reason, you want to make sure your first page makes the best impression it can.
Here are the target word counts for various types of books.
Manuscript Format For Novels The correct manuscript format to please editors and agents
Proud to be one of the...
"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards
"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus
"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.
"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman
"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of
knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I
truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me
successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins
"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash
"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero