How Do I Prepare The Manuscript For Publishers?
You have finished your novel, you have corrected it and you want to present it to publishers. Here we leave you the steps to follow to prepare your manuscript.
The Elaboration Of The Manuscript
First of all, you should check the indications given by each publisher regarding the submission of manuscripts. Here we are going to provide you with general guides regarding how to write a manuscript, in case they do not indicate otherwise:
- The font must be Times New Roman or Arial. They are simple letters without paraphernalia. The clearer it is, the better it will read which the end goal is.
- Letters that mimic written calligraphy are strongly discouraged. Think that the manuscript is one thing and the printed version, another. If in the printed version you decide to use a font that imitates handwriting because, for example, it is a diary, it is not necessary that the manuscript already has it. If the editor who gets it sees those flourishes, he will almost certainly throw it away without reading the rest of the text.
- The size for Times New Roman will be 12 points, while for Arial it will be 11 points. The size will be maintained throughout the manuscript with the exception of titles, which can be 2 to 6 points larger. So don’t write the chapter title at 30 points.
- The line spacing will be double, although if the manuscript is very long and you don’t want to leave a pasture printing it, a line spacing of 1.5 points will be enough.
- You do not have to leave space between paragraphs of the same scene (double enter), but you do in each scene change.
- The first line (French line) of the first paragraph of each chapter will be written without indentation. The rest of the paragraphs will have an indentation of at most 1 centimeter.
- The text must be left-aligned or justified.
- The margins should be between 2 and 2.5 centimeters, to allow space in case the editor wants to make annotations.
- Print it on one side only. Don’t score from behind.
- Write a heading with your name and the title of the work, and number the pages.
- On the cover put the title of the work and your contact information.
- On the next page, write a synopsis of the novel.
Once we have our manuscript prepared, we will send it to the publisher along with a cover letter and our CV in case we have a lot of relationship with the literary world, we give workshops, etc. It is very important to check whether the publisher prefers to send it by post or by email. If it is electronic, you must convert the file into PDF to avoid compatibility problems and the content is out of line.
The cover letter:
- It should be a maximum of one page in length and should serve to introduce both the writer and the book project.
- Brief presentation of the author with significant facts, not a biography.
- A paragraph describing the argument.
- Target audience. It does not serve “for all audiences” because that shows that the true end reader is not being taken into account.
- Estimation on the market, the sales that obtained similar novels.
- Important information for the promotion of the book, specifying if you have many followers on social networks, students, sales obtained with previous books …
- It should be clear and simple, just include the essentials.
- It must be typed following the guidelines of the manuscript and maintaining the same style.
- No frills.
- Don’t try to be too original or funny unless you are presenting a humorous book. Editors hate funny people.
- Don’t overly compliment the publisher or editor. Seriously, they can’t stand ass-licking either.
- Include your complete information: name, address, telephone, email and the hours you are available.
Nowadays, many publishers prefer that instead of sending the manuscript first, we send them an editorial proposal instead:
- Author and title of the book.
- Plot synopsis of the novel (two to three pages).
- An index specifying with a paragraph what happens in each chapter.
- Relevant information, as in the case of the manuscript: target audience, market estimate, information about the promotion of the book (about three pages in total).
- One or two chapters, maximum about 15 pages.