How To Format A Book For Publishing

It’s normal to overlook the formatting while writing your new novel’s opening paragraph. After all, thinking about details like appropriate page layout, section breaks, mirror margins, and whether or not your hyphens are in the correct position might feel like a barrier to just getting your ideas on paper when no one else is looking at your work. However, when your manuscript is finished and you are prepared to share it with others, it’s crucial to ensure that it adheres to specific formatting guidelines.

Particularly if your audience is reading your book for the first time, a properly formatted manuscript makes it simpler to read and represents you as a professional author, and your work should be treated seriously.

What Is A Manuscript?

Manuscript, which means handwritten in Latin, is where the word manuscript first appeared. During that period, all drafts of novels and other literary works were written by hand. A manuscript nowadays is an initial draft of a book, whether it is a short story, a novel, or a nonfiction book.

The Importance Of Formatting

Although book formatting may appear to be an unimportant or superficial component of manuscript submission, it is a crucial determinant of how seriously your editor, reader, and literary agencies will treat your work. When you format your work according to industry standards, your reader will see that you are meticulous, attentive, and professional in how you present your work. This increases the possibility that they will read with the same level of consideration. Additionally, suppose you are working with an editor and submit them a manuscript that isn’t in the standard manuscript format. In that case, they will have to spend time editing and reviewing your work, which can be a time-consuming and costly procedure.

So, How To Format A Manuscript?

Some authors prefer to start formatting their manuscripts from the moment they start writing their stories. Others prefer to finish a document in its entirety before caring about page setup or paragraph indents. Even though there is no specific time to format your manuscript, formatting while writing is a preferred choice. Moreover, to ensure that your contribution complies with formatting standards and submission requirements for both fiction and nonfiction publications, follow these rules:


Generally, you should use Times New Roman in 12-point size. The standard for sans serif or serif typefaces is Times New Roman in 12-point font size, despite the fact that certain agencies and editors may prefer other sans serif or serif fonts like Courier New or Arial.


All sides of your pages must have one-inch margins to make all dimensions of your page even. However, if you are using Microsoft Word, these margins are available by default.


You should indent a new paragraph’s initial line by a half-inch. The tab button can be used once to do this in the majority of word processing software.

Line Spacing

Lines should be double-spaced throughout the manuscript. If you double-space your lines, your text will be simpler to read and annotate. There shouldn’t be a gap between paragraphs.


The left-hand side of your page should have your words aligned, not justified. There won’t be a straight line on the right side of your page.

Page Numbers

Beginning with the first page following the title page, page numbers start at one and go up chronologically. Roman numerals are used to identify the pages on the front, such as the copyright page, table of contents, and ISBN information.

Scene Breaks

Add a blank line with three asterisks or a hash mark in the middle to denote scene breaks.


In the past, underlining was used to signify words that should have been italicized. However, Italics are commonly used by authors today to highlight a specific sentence or a quote from the past.

Sentence Separation

After a period, use a space between each phrase. Although many individuals automatically press the space bar two times to separate phrases by two spaces, this is not the proper procedure.


After the last line, center the word “END” to specify the conclusion of your manuscript.

Page Size

You should utilize paper that is 8.5 by 11 inches in size.

How To Make A Title Page?

You must include a title page whether you self-publish your book or send your work to an editor or publisher. To make sure that your title page is structured correctly, you need to include the following:

Book Title And Author Name

Your document’s center should have the title of your book anywhere between one-third and halfway down the page. The author’s name should be below your title on the next double-spaced line, with the words a novel by preceding it. Your actual name should appear before your pen name if you are using one.

Contact Details

In the upper left-hand corner of your manuscript, you should include your name, phone number, residential address, and email address. This information has to be left-justified and single-spaced.

Total Word Count

The word count of your book, rounded to the closest thousand, should appear in the center of your document, one double-spaced line below the author’s name.

Formatting Your Chapters

There are a few guidelines to follow with every new chapter to make sure they are structured correctly. Halfway or on-third down the page, in the center, should be the chapter title. Write Chapter One and the chapter title below for the first chapter. For each succeeding chapter number, use this pattern for the chapter titles. The first page of each new chapter should be blank. A page break can be inserted to do this.

Printing Your Book

It’s time to publish your book once you have finished formatting it correctly. You might never have to worry about printing if you are just going to make your book available through a print-on-demand (POD) service. It’s a good idea to print your book if you wish to publish it in print or if your agency or editor demands one. However, for printing, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Use premium white paper 
  • Aim for a brightness score in the upper 90s
  • If at all possible, print your document using a professional laser printer
  • Print it one-sided only

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, you want your book to stand out owing to its insightful content, elegant tone, and audience-specific focus. For example, don’t allow formatting issues or grammar mistakes to become an obstruction for your book from being successful. For example, if you have written a book and looking for a professional company to format it according to the industry standards, you are more than welcome at Bookmarketeers. We have a diversified team of professional writers, editors, formatting experts, and designers determined to make your book a success. So, contact our customer support and get your manuscript polished and ready for publishing within a matter of time.