Once you’ve finished writing your manuscript you’d be forgiven for thinking that the hard work ends there; in actual fact if you want to stand even half a chance of securing publishing success then you need to work very hard to prepare your manuscript for submission.
The first task is of course to at least proofread or if not copyedit your entire manuscript. It is advisable to get a professional or at least an unbiased third party to complete any proofreading or editorial tasks as most writers will have read and re-read their work so many times that by the time they come to the proofing stages they tend to see what they want to see, rather than what is actually written. This is an almost inevitable stage that is reached by most authors and this is why even the bestselling authors will use a professional to do the proofing.
A good proofread will highlight any spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as accidental errors in relation to spacing, punctuation and changes in font size, colour, type etc. These are all mistakes that can and do happen and which, when engrossed in writing, are easy to miss. A copy edit will take your manuscript preparation one step further, picking up on any inconsistencies in characterisation or plot for example, or identifying changes in style or language. A copy edit will mean that when you do finally submit your manuscript you can be assured that it is consistent, comprehensive and hopefully well written.
In terms of the layout of your manuscript, publishers are very particular about style and most will ask that a manuscript is left justified, double spaced, and has sizeable margins to allow for annotations to be made during the review process. Margins should be between 1 inch and 1.5 inches as a general rule. It is very important to use the correct font; most publishers will be used to working with Courier, although others such as Arial are still considered acceptable. Do not, under any circumstances use a font such as Comic Sans, even for children’s books, this does not look professional and may mean your manuscript ends up on the recycling pile. All pages should be numbered and a word count provided either at the end of the manuscript or on the opening cover page.
With your manuscript formatted appropriately you will stand a greater chance of the submissions team actually reviewing work, which in turn means a greater chance of you securing publishing success. When it comes to submitting a manuscript you mustn’t let your presentation or a failure to proofread or copy edit, let you down. The old saying, you only get one chance to make a first impression, really does apply in the world of publishing.
Do you need help preparing your manuscript for submission? Then why not let JMD Editorial and Writing Services provide you with a professional proofread or copy edit?