Submission Guidelines

When submitting to agents or publishers, there is a standard manuscript format which is accepted. Not using this format is an excellent way to have your manuscript tossed in the trash. If you didn’t take the time to do this professionally, submit according to the guidelines in a way that is easy for the agent to read (all of which is easy to do), why should they think you bothered to take the time to write a good story (which is not so easy).

The current guidelines are as follows:

12 Point Courier or New York Times font.
1 inch margins.
Double spacing.
Title about 1/3 of the way down the page (I like to use 20 point font for that), author name underneath.
First chapter/prologue begins 2/3 of the way down (leaving a good deal of whitespace).
Each chapter begins on a new page, 1/3 of the way down.

On the first page header, on the upper left include:
Name, full colon, title of book in bold and underlined (IE “Nick Soutter: Playing God”)
Address and contact info.

On the upper right of the first page header include:
Page count
Word Count
Copyright
Email

On subsequent page headers:
On the left:
Last name, colon, title in bold and underlined(“Soutter: Playing God”)

On the Right:
Page number.

The absolute MAXIMUM tolerable grammatical or spelling mistakes is about 1 per 250 words (one a page), and most prefer no more than 1 mistake in 500-800 words.

The MS should not be stapled, but rather rubber-banded or clipped with binder clips.

That’s it. That’s a professional MS ready for an agent to look at it. Anything short of these guidelines is often tossed away without even reading the first paragraph.

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