Girl reading Beech Bank GirlsWant to look professional? Presentation of your manuscript is important, whether you are approaching an agent, a publisher, or entering a competition.

Here are some guidelines:

Spacing: Use double line spacing throughout.

Font: Times New Roman 12 point might seem really dull, but it’s easy to read. Now’s not the time to show your creative design skills!

Alignment: Align left.

Margins: Have good margins top, bottom and sides. 2.5cm (1”) all round is acceptable.

Page numbers: Number your pages. Editors have been known to drop manuscripts! I like to have the page numbers centred in the footer, but it doesn’t matter where you put them, as long as they are there somewhere.

Header: Have the title of your story justified top right in the header. You can have your name on the left as well if you like, but make sure you leave plenty of room between the header and the main text.

Paragraphs: Indent every new paragraph. You don’t need to leave an extra line between paragraphs.

New chapters: Start every new chapter on a new page.

Last page: Write ‘Ends’ at the end of your story, so the editor knows she has reached the end of your story.

Printing: Print on one side of the paper only.

Title page: Include your name, the title of your story, the age range the book is aimed at (if writing for children) and the word count on the top half of your title page. At the bottom of the title page, give your contact details.

Special instructions: Check you follow competition rules or any particular requirements given by the publisher/agent. These can almost always be found on their website.

Follow these guidelines to make sure you have the best chance of success. Any questions or comments, please leave them below and I will get back to you!

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Setting out your manuscript

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