Lamplighter on Formatting

A community service post, by my lovely and talented wife,  who writes under her pen name, L. Jagi Lamplighter, on how to format a manuscript:

This is the format that, until recently, all editors wanted stories to arrive in. Nowadays, what different editors want may differ more, but this is till the default, should the specific place you are submitting to not give instructions.

  1. Name and address in the upper left. On the right, the number of words.
  2. About five spaces down, the title.
  3. One space, then author’s name.
  4. About another five spaces…putting it at the center of the page, the first page starts. (Pages after that are normal, no extra spaces needed)
  5. Every paragraph should be indented five spaces.
  6. Double space—all lines. No extra spaces between paragraphs.
  7. One inch margins.

What you do not want to do, ever, is send a manuscript to an editor or typesetter in Blog Format—i.e. no indent, extra space between paragraphs.

One manuscript was delivered to Superversive Press this way. The typesetter did not realize this and typeset it as is—with an extra line between every paragraph.

When the error was detected and the book reformatted (after the first dozen or so had sold), it shortened the final paper volume by well over 150 pages—which allowed the publisher to cut the price.

So this is not a small matter.

Read the whole thing.