Posts Tagged ‘Choosing a font’

For any agent or publisher without a specific format, you can follow a generally accepted format for novel manuscripts and here are the bones of the set-up required for a Word 2007 Document. This is not definitive, so please do not enter into loads of correspondence on the subject. It does however, provide a pretty well tried format that new writers will hopefully find useful especially if going the ‘self publishing’ route with an E-Book novel.

 Choosing a Font: Twelve point, Times New Roman proportional font is the very popular or, Courier New, mono-spaced font if your agent or publisher specifies a font that occupies the same amount of space vertically and horizontally. Make sure your font is black…no colours. You will find the settings box for your fonts on the ‘Home’ page of Word.

 The Margins: A one-inch margin on all four sides with a paper size setting of A4 is the default margin in Word. A standard paperback book size is 6 inches by 9 inches. Today’s modern standard is to work in metric formats, which makes the standard 6×9 inches convert to approx 15.2cm x 22.8cm. The script area for a standard 12 point font of say Times New Roman, will be approx 10.5cm x 17.5cm. You therefore will need to set your margins all round to 4.5cm to obtain this page layup on an A4 page size. You will normally be able to set to around 37 to 40 lines per page at single spacing. You will find the margins dropdown box on the ‘Page Layout’ page of Word. To set up the number of lines on a page, go to the ‘Home’ page then on the very right ‘Editing’ tab box to ‘Select All’.  This will highlight all script. Then you can right click on the page to see a menu with a ‘Paragraph’ tab. Click on it and under the “Indents and Spacing” tab, you’ll see a “Line Spacing” box. Set this to read, “Exactly” and then in the “at” box next to it, type “13”.  You can adjust this number until you have the required number of lines on a page.

Make sure that the rest of the boxes read Zero, that the alignment is “Left” and that ‘Special’ is either blank or set to “None.” Now, still in the paragraph window, navigate to the ‘Lines & Page Breaks’ tab. Make sure that every single box is unchecked.

 Paragraph Indentations: Default indentations are half an inch or approx 1.25cm. This tab is preset in Word and normally required by publishers. However, if for some reason you need to change this setting, you can do so on the ’Home’ page on the top line of the paragraph tab.

 Line Spacing: You can write in any space set up you like. Most writers set up for double spacing when writing a manuscript, but some write in single space to have an idea as the work progresses, as to how long, in terms of number of pages, the final project will be. Any submissions should be double spaced only. There should be no extra line spaces between paragraphs.

 Alignment: The page should be set to Align left and not justified. The right edges will not be uniform or even but that’s OK.

 Page Numbering: Number pages beginning with the actual story and don’t count or put page numbers on the title page. You can find the page numbering tab on the ‘Insert’ page in the Header & Footer block.

 Scene Breaks: A good way to indicate scene breaks is by inserting a blank line and centering say six ‘Star’ signs normally found above the number eight on an English computer keyboard.

 Title Each Page: In the ‘Header’, place a title of the work and the copyright symbol next to the year and name of the author.

 New Chapters: Begin chapters on new pages by inserting a page break. Center the chapter title, even if it’s only Chapter One (or Chapter 1), at the top of the page in say a size 28 point. Skip a couple of spaces and begin the text of the chapter.

 End Your Manuscript: When your work actually comes to an end, simply write The End as you want agents and editors to know they’ve reached the end and there are no more chapters or epilogues to come.

 Italics & Periods: Use italics for italicized and emphasized words unless an agent or publisher requests underlining, and only use a single space rather than two spaces after periods between sentences. It’s just a good habit to get into, especially for those of you who learned on typewriters and always added two spaces between sentences.

 Title Page: Include one; aligned left and single spaced, near the top of the page. Include contact information: Your real name, address, phone number, e-mail address etc. Follow with the word count. About half way down the page and centered, enter the full manuscript title, all caps or mixed caps.  On the next double-spaced line, type’ by’ or a ‘novel by’ or a ‘story by’ and on the next double-spaced line, add your pen name or your real name plus your pen name. If you have an agent, include the agent’s contact name and information beneath your name. Header information is not included on the title page. The title page is not included in page numbering. For some genres, including romance, you can include the sub-genre, such as ‘Suspense’ or ‘Regency’. Include this information either above or below the word count.

 That’s it, a basic format for novels written in Word, the single most used English WP programme in the world.!! If you do not want the hassle of formatting your work each time you start a new projet, you can of course go straight to Create Space, sign in and download a formatted 6×9 template…for FREE !

The E-Book Writer

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