What paper size and format should your manuscript be in?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
Post Reply
kans_007
Posts: 32
Joined: October 25th, 2010, 11:32 pm
Contact:

What paper size and format should your manuscript be in?

Post by kans_007 » November 5th, 2010, 7:19 am

What paper size and format should you write your manuscript in for
a) Submitting to agents or publishers
b) Self-publishing (without getting ISBN), just to circulate books among friends for review

1. What size paper format do you use?
2. SIngle space, 1.5 spacing or double spacing?
3. What font size and preferable font?
4. How much margin on the sides and top?

Is there a difference for fiction and non-fiction books? (I am writing a non-fiction)

Thanks for all answers in advance!

User avatar
Quill
Posts: 1059
Joined: March 17th, 2010, 9:20 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: What paper size and format should your manuscript be in?

Post by Quill » November 5th, 2010, 7:35 am

kans_007 wrote:What paper size and format should you write your manuscript in for
a) Submitting to agents or publishers
b) Self-publishing (without getting ISBN), just to circulate books among friends for review

1. What size paper format do you use?
2. SIngle space, 1.5 spacing or double spacing?
3. What font size and preferable font?
4. How much margin on the sides and top?

Is there a difference for fiction and non-fiction books? (I am writing a non-fiction)

Thanks for all answers in advance!
For submission:

1. 20-lb white 8-1/2" x 11"
2. Double
3. 12 pt. Times New Roman or Courier
4. 1"

For self-publishing do whatever you like.

User avatar
polymath
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel
Contact:

Re: What paper size and format should your manuscript be in?

Post by polymath » November 5th, 2010, 10:38 am

Standard U.S. publication size for nonfiction or fiction advance review copies is 6" by 9" paperback, which is the same standard dimensions as a casecover book block sans board cover. The bound paperback format size is known as trade paperback, advance review copies as ARCs.

5 1/2" by 8 1/2, half statement size paper or half a letter size paper 8 1/2" by 11" is an economical alternative to trade paperback dimensions so special cut paper isn't needed. Many desktop chapbooks, staple or stitch or perfect bound, are published in those dimensions.

Alternatively, consider using a Print On Demand publisher like Lulu.com. Order one copy or a dozen, and is comparatively hassle free next to desktop publishing and an economical alternative to a job shop printer. They allow book manufacturing without ISBN assignment. Last I checked CreateSpace automatically assigns an ISBN before checkout, which is a best practice to avoid until ready for public release. xLibris has a setup fee and other costs that run up expenses, no ISBN assignment either, and not the most economical choice for producing ARCs. Other U.S. POD publishers frequently are middlemen using one of the above services, and add on their cost and profit rake and conditions, etc.
Spread the love of written word.

kans_007
Posts: 32
Joined: October 25th, 2010, 11:32 pm
Contact:

Re: What paper size and format should your manuscript be in?

Post by kans_007 » November 5th, 2010, 2:28 pm

Thanks Quill and Polymath! That's really good information. I think I am going to get some books printed through Lulu without getting the ISBN.

BTW why is it that agents prefer manuscripts only as loose sheets? Would they be really pissed off if I sent it as a nice bound book? Would it help them in visualizing what a finished product would look like if they were given a book with a nicely designed front-cover and a blurb on the back-cover? A friend of mine said his relative's agent might be interested in my kind of book. I am getting ready to talk to her and ask if she would be interested reading my manuscript. Just wanted to make sure that I don't commit any faux-paus while submitting the MS.

stephmcgee
Posts: 210
Joined: August 16th, 2010, 12:44 pm
Contact:

Re: What paper size and format should your manuscript be in?

Post by stephmcgee » November 5th, 2010, 2:42 pm

Do not design a cover, do not put it together as a book. These will be red flags to any agent you send to. And it's likely an agent will start with only a partial request, which would be difficult to accommodate if you've bound it as a self-published book.

Just my two cents from everything I've read on agent blogs, agents' tweets on Twitter, etc.

Margo
Posts: 1712
Joined: April 5th, 2010, 11:21 am
Contact:

Re: What paper size and format should your manuscript be in?

Post by Margo » November 5th, 2010, 3:09 pm

kans_007 wrote:Would they be really pissed off if I sent it as a nice bound book? Would it help them in visualizing what a finished product would look like if they were given a book with a nicely designed front-cover and a blurb on the back-cover?
Pissed off? Dunno. Do they specificially want loose pages? Yes. It's easier to mark-up, for one thing. The issue with a partial request has also been mentioned. Almost no agents will look at a full MS right out of the gate. Would some or (in my opinion) most automatically reject you for failing to follow directions, yes.

Do they need help visualizing your cover? They didn't need help with any of the others. If a traditional publisher buys your book they will design their own cover and possibly even change the name on your book. It's wasted effort to show them how you visualize the book cover. Their marketing teams and artists have been at this for a long time. My position is you either trust their judgement or don't deal with them at all.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

User avatar
polymath
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel
Contact:

Re: What paper size and format should your manuscript be in?

Post by polymath » November 5th, 2010, 5:14 pm

Agents and publishers have received bound, publication formatted copies as submissions. A bound and publication formatted project says in so many words, "This is the way it is." In my general experience, they are projects that writers are a little too committed to and balk at revision and rewrite and redesign suggestions.

However, some agents and publishers scout out successful self-published works they might wish to take to the next level. If a work is generating buzz, they hear about it, and are interested, they'll start with a self-published version, perhaps request a manuscript version, and go from there. While uncommon, it does happen. And other sets of eyes contributing insight to a fair to good project can take it to the next level.

Advance review copies are a promotional tool for writers, agents, publishers, and self-publishers. The main purposes are to bring more eyes to the page checking for overlooked awkwardnesses, generate buzz, and market testing. Most commonly, ARCs are circulated to notable individuals for jacket blurb commentary contributions. In the case of nonfiction, that's usually celebrities and experts on the topic. Self-help/inspirational reviewers might be authors of similar topics and other celebrity personalities who've commented on similar titles. Besides, those personalities might also generate buzz.
Spread the love of written word.

kans_007
Posts: 32
Joined: October 25th, 2010, 11:32 pm
Contact:

Re: What paper size and format should your manuscript be in?

Post by kans_007 » November 6th, 2010, 12:38 pm

Stephmcgee and Margo, thank for your helpful comments.

And Polymath, thanks again for your Sage advice!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests