Friday, March 12, 2010

Editing Tip # 25: Book Manuscript Format

Kathy Ide’s Editing Tips
© Kathy Ide, 2010

In this column, freelance author, editor, and speaker Kathy Ide shares tips on self-editing your manuscript.



If you’re sending a proposal, type “A Book Proposal” at the top of the first page. One third of the way down the page, type the title of your book in ALL CAPS. If you have a subtitle, type that in Initial Caps on the next line. Two lines down from that, type “By” followed by your name (or your pen name, if you wish to use one). This should all be centered.

At the bottom of the page, left aligned, type your real name (not your pen name). On the next line, type your mailing address; on the third line, your city, state, and zip code. On the fourth line, type your phone number (with area code). On the fifth line, type your e-mail address and/or Web site URL.

Do not use the copyright symbol and year. Your work is protected by law from plagiarism regardless of whether you officially copyright it, and professional writers know this. So putting the symbol on your work brands you as an amateur. Reputable publishers wouldn’t dream of ripping off an author’s work, so it’s a bit insulting to suggest that you fear this.


Using the automatic header feature, on every page except the Title Page, flush left, type your last name, a slash, and your title (abbreviated if it’s long). In the upper right, type the page number.


Follow these standard guidelines:

Use 1- to 1-1/2-inch margins.

  • Double-space all text. Indent paragraphs using 1/2-inch tab. No extra space between paragraphs. Do not use automatic spacing between paragraphs.
  • Use Times New Roman, 12-point font. Do not use ALL CAPS, bold, or underlines for emphasis. If you must emphasize something, italicize it. But use italics for emphasis sparingly.

  • One space between sentences, not two.
  • Never bind your pages in any way.
  • Use left alignment, not full or centered. (Leave right margin “ragged.”) Block-indent (add an additional half inch to the left margin) quotations more than four lines long.


Start each chapter on a new page. About one third of the way down the page, type Chapter One (Two, Three, etc.), then chapter title (if applicable), both centered. Two double-spaced lines down and start text (indented and left aligned).


NOTE: It is an infringement of copyright law to reproduce this
publication, in part or in whole, without the express permission of the
author. To request permission, please e-mail


Kathy Ide has written books, articles, play and movie scripts, short stories, devotionals, and curriculum. Her books include Polishing the PUGS and Fiction and Truth. Kathy is a full-time freelance editor, offering a full range of editorial services for authors and publishers. She also speaks at writers’ conferences across the country. She is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network ( and the Christian Editor Network ( To find out more, please visit

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