After months (and sometimes years!) of toiling over your masterpiece, it’s time for one of the most important (and sometimes overlooked) steps in the self-publishing process: Editing. In this post, I will share some advice on preparing your work for submission to an editor.
Remember that an editor is sifting through a great number of other manuscripts and queries, they are not twiddling their thumbs in anxious anticipation of your work of art. Keeping that in mind, you want to make it easy for the editor to review your submission. You also want to make sure that your hard work isn’t tossed into the “circular file”. Your work should be neat and properly formatted whether you are sending a hard copy or a digital submission.
One of the first steps is making sure that your manuscript is actually typed. Now, this should go without saying, but I have had actually people attempt to submit handwritten work in various notebooks, and in some cases a bunch of crumpled loose pages. Uhhmmm NO. Each editor will have their own specific guidelines according to the way that they like to work. Please visit the editor’s website, or contact their office to get the specifics. However, there are some requirements that are pretty standard, and these 8 steps are what you should shoot for at minimum:
- A title page
- Double-spaced lines
- 12pt font in Times New Roman, Arial or Courier. Please don’t decide to be fancy or creative here. An editor has to read through pages and pages of words, their eyes get tired!
- A 1-inch margin on all sides of the page. Even if you email the manuscript, the editor will most likely print it to read and make notes.
- On each page (except the title page!) – include a HEADER with (in all CAPS) your name, the title of your book, and page number. (Don’t number the title page; either the introduction/prologue, or Chapter 1).
- Indent 5 spaces for each new paragraph
- Start each new chapter on it’s own page, chapter title ⅓ of the page down (think about how a book is formatted)
- The body of each chapter should begin 5-6 lines down from the chapter title
As mentioned earlier, but it is worth repeating – each editor has specific guidelines for submission. It is in your best interest to perform your due diligence and either visit the editor’s website or contact them to inquire about their submission guidelines. Do NOT ask on their Facebook or other social media pages. Do not “inbox”, “DM”, or message them. Do the legwork, professionally and courteously.
Fix My Write is currently accepting submissions. Please submit your manuscript or queries here.