I'm just gonna hit you with a couple of lists. Easy peasy.
- Use "normal" style always.
- Add some indicator when creating a scene break (most authors I work with use *** for this).
- Keep it simple. If there's a place you'd like a photo, don't embed it, mark the spot and include the photo with the manuscript.
- Everything set in one font, and don't use anything that's not standard on a computer. I suggest Times New Roman in 12pt.
- Use paragraph styles for your indents.
- Include a title page, copyright page with all relevant info, and author bio page at the end.
- Break your pages between chapters ONLY. Use Ctrl (or Cmnd) + Enter (or Return).
- If you have a section you want set in a special way, note it in BOLD and use [brackets]. Tell your formatter beforehand that it's there.
- Title all your chapters the same way (whatever you want the end result to be: Chapter 1, Chapter One, Ch1, etc...).
- Do not use tabs (see above note on paragraph styles).
- No LARGE or special fonts. This will get stripped out anyway.
- Don't hit enter a bunch of times between chapters to force the next one down.
- Don't just add extra carriage returns between scene breaks. This looks like a mistake and could be removed on accident by your formatter.
- Nothing fancy. Your MS should just be words on the page.
- Do NOT use TABS. Yeah, it bears repeating.
- Don't make assumptions that the formatter will know anything you intended in your head. Give them instructions. Be specific if your book calls for special treatment.
- No colored fonts, please.
- No wingdings or emoticons. If you want a smiley, let the formatter know in the email where you attach your manuscript.
I hope this helps in some small way. Your formatter is there to make your dreams a reality. They're the ones that polish your baby before you show it to your friends, family, and the world. Help them help you!
If you're looking for formatting services, take a gander at IBGW.
Are you guilty of any of these?
Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!