How to Prepare a Manuscript for Publishing

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Before you can become a published author, you need to complete your manuscript and prepare it for publishing, whether you’re pursuing a traditional publishing deal or planning to self-publish.

Let’s delve into some essential tips to help you get your manuscript ready for publication, including editing, formatting, and avoiding common mistakes as an indie author.

Why is preparation important?

In the traditional publishing process, your manuscript must look professional and attract an agent in the hopes of landing a publishing deal. Therefore, you want your entire manuscript to meet industry standards and be free of errors.

Preparation is equally crucial for self-published authors—you’ll need editing and proper formatting to ensure an error-free finished product.

Manuscript formatting and preparation

To ensure your manuscript meets industry standards and is in the best possible state for publication, consider the following tips for formatting and preparation.

Edit and proofread your manuscript.

Before submitting your manuscript for publication, thorough self-editing and proofreading are essential. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. Once you’ve minimized errors, hire beta readers to help with the overall structure and a professional editor to provide objective feedback and polish your work. Hiring a professional editor is key because authors often miss mistakes in their own work.

Title page formatting.

Create a professional title page that includes the title of your book, your name or pen name, and your contact information. Follow the formatting guidelines provided by your target publisher or agent. Typically, the title page is centered and includes the book’s title, author’s name, and contact information.

Font, margins, and page formatting.

Unless otherwise specified by your agent or publisher, use 12-point Times New Roman, the industry standard. Ensure proper line spacing, typically double-spaced, to improve readability. Set one-inch margins on all sides of the page. Number your pages consecutively, either in the header or footer section.

Incorporate visual elements.

If your manuscript includes visual elements such as illustrations, charts, or graphs, ensure they are properly integrated into the document. Clearly label and reference these visual elements within the text for easy navigation. Follow any specific guidelines provided by your publisher for the formatting of visuals.

Common pitfalls to avoid

When preparing your manuscript for publication, be aware of common mistakes that can hinder your chances of success. Here are a few pitfalls to avoid:

Skipping proofreading and editing.

Choosing to skip third-party editing and proofreading practically guarantees errors, inconsistencies, and a less-than-professional manuscript. Take the time to review your work thoroughly and then hire professionals to assist you in polishing your manuscript.

Ignoring publisher-specific guidelines.

If you’re submitting your manuscript to traditional publishers, carefully read and adhere to their specific submission guidelines. Ignoring these guidelines can lead to automatic rejection without further consideration.

Not accounting for different formats.

If you plan to publish your book in multiple formats (e.g., eBook, print), consider the specific requirements and formatting guidelines for each format. Each format has different considerations regarding fonts, images, layout, and document types (Word document, Google Docs, PDF, etc.).

Publish your book with BookFuel

You can simply publish your book with BookFuel. We will ensure your eBook and printed books are properly formatted (though you’ll still need to deliver your manuscript in the proper document format). If you need cover design, interior formatting, editing services, or have any questions about self-publishing, we’re here to help. Call (213) 444-4116 or visit www.bookfuel.com today. Watch our tutorials on our YouTube channel.

Once you’ve finished writing your story, you need to prepare your manuscript for publishing. This requires attention to detail, adherence to formatting guidelines, and a focus on professionalism. By editing and proofreading your manuscript and formatting it correctly, you can enhance your chances of attracting the interest of traditional publishers or successfully self-publishing your work.

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