Non-Fiction Manuscripts


Manuscript guidelines are not carved in stone. Use the information provided only when you cannot obtain specific guidelines from a publisher or when you plan to submit a manuscript to multiple publishers. Also, while we can describe the format here, it is always best to purchase a book with detailed sample pages from manuscripts.

All pages should have 1-inch margins, and text should be in a 12-point Courier font. In a word processor, such as Word or WordPerfect, always have horizontal and vertical rulers visible to assist you. Set the margins as follows:

Top 1.75 inch / 10 picas
Bottom 1.00 inch / 6 picas
Left 1.00 inch / 6 picas
Right 1.00 inch / 6 picas
Header 1.00 inch / 6 picas
Footer 0.75 inch / 4 picas

Each page, excluding the title page, should have a “slug” in the upper left-hand corner of page. The slug is in the format “Short Title/Last Name” and should be 30 characters or less. The “header” will contain the slug throughout the body of the document. While most software defaults to a 1-inch margin and a 0.5-inch header margin, these settings are not acceptable for a manuscript.

Title Page
Author’s Name & Contact Information Upper left-hand corner of the page. Remember a 1-inch margin around the page.
Word Count Upper right-hand corner, on the same line as the author’s name. (“about xx,xxx words”)
Title Center, 3.5 inches from the top of the page. Use “Title case” capitalization. First and last words capitalized, with lowercase articles, conjunctions, and short prepositions. No commas before “and” in a short list.
Agent’s Name & Contact Information Lower right-hand corner. Left-justify, about 2 inches from the right margin.
Table of Contents
Slug Upper left-hand corner of the page, within the “header” region.
“Contents” Heading 3 inches from the top of the page, approximately 1.25 inches from the top margin. Indent left and right margins an extra 0.5 to 1 inch for the body of the contents.
Front Matter From .75 to 1 inch below “Contents,” which is 6 lines in 12-point type. Skip 0.5 inch between front matter headings. Skip 0.75 inch between the last front matter heading and the first “part” entry. (There are six lines per inch, approximately.)
Parts Use uppercase letters for “PART” and Roman numerals for the part numbers. Skip two spaces, then use title case for the part’s title.
Section Heading Entries Begin .5 inch below the part title. Indent an extra .5 inch from the left margin. Skip one line between section headings. Section titles are in title case. Use a “dot leader” from one space after the title to one space before the page number.
Subheading Entries Skip one line below the section title. Indent 1 inch from the left margin, forming an outline effect. Single space subheading titles. Use a dot leader, with page numbers aligned consistently with section heading page numbers.
List of Illustrations
Slug Optional in some formats, otherwise, upper left-hand corner.
Page Numbers Most formats do no number front matter. However, some use lowercase Roman numeral page numbers. Numbers are placed in the upper right-hand corner, on the same line as the slug.
“Illustrations” Heading 3 inches from the top of the page, approximately 1.25 inches from the top margin.
“Plate” and “Origin” Column Headings Drop .5 to .75 inch below the page heading. Traditionally, the drop was 4 lines, or .67 inch. Double-space the list of illustration images.
Plate Column The left-hand column is numbered, with titles of the artwork included for publication with the manuscript.
Origin Column Approximately 2 inches from the right margin, 3 inches from the edge of the page. List the artist, photographer, or other information needed to identify the origin of an image.
List of Tables
Slug Included in most formats, placed in the upper left-hand corner
Page Numbers Most formats do no number front matter. However, some use lowercase Roman numeral page numbers. Numbers are placed in the upper right-hand corner, on the same line as the slug.
“Tables” Heading 3 inches from the top of the page, approximately 1.25 inches from the top margin.
List of Tables Drop .5 to .75 inch below the page heading. Traditionally, the drop was 4 lines, or .67 inch. Double-space the list of tables. Use a dot leader with page numbers right-justified.
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 



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Writer: C. S. Wyatt
Updated: 01-Jan-2014
Editor: S. D. Schnelbach