Friday, April 15, 2011

Manuscript: Basic Submission Guidelines

The word manuscript has two meanings.

Originally, a manuscript was a book or other text written by hand, especially one written before the invention of printing. (Manus is Latin for 'hand' and scriptum is Latin for 'written.')

While still accurate, the word is more frequently used to describe a writer's text for a book, article, or other piece of written work before it is published.

Basics for submitting a written manuscript include:
  • Good quality 8.5"x11" white paper (for the US)
  • One sided
  • Readable font
  • Double spaced
  • Indented paragraphs
  • 1" margins (right and left/top and bottom)
  • Header with your name/story title in the upper left and page number in the upper right
  • No staples or binders
Basic manuscript submission guidelines can be found all over the internet. My best advice is to do your research. Most publishers and agents have manuscript submission guidelines available on their websites. Some have particular formatting guidelines specific to that publishing company. When submitting a manuscript, follow the directions to the letter. You do not want your manuscript rejected for a silly formatting mistake.

Sources: Encarta Dictionary, Literary Terms and Definitions


  1. You've listed all the normal requirements for submitting a manuscript for consideration and you have also stated that websites list the requirements for each publishing company or literary agent.
    After all the hard work of writing a story, it seems a shame that a rejection could hinge on the formatting, but that's the truth we learned in grade school: follow the rules.

  2. Ohhh, I can't tell you how timely this is Langley! Good advise here. After all the months of hard slog, it seems a shame to perhaps throw it away on an unprofessional or incomplete ms submission.

    I shall be working extra hard when it comes to my ms submission

  3. "When submitting a manuscript, follow the directions to the letter."


    My “M” post is right here:

  4. Perfect choice for a writer's M-day, Langley.

    I've never submitted a manuscript and likely never will, but I'm familiar with the basics. Should I ever decide to publish more than a page worth of drivel at a time, I'll be sure to double-check guidelines.

  5. Good advice. When I plan on submitting I troll through the publisher's/agent's site before doing anything.


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