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
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