This image came from my pinterest account
I touched on formatting the last time because as an editor it is one of the things most authors have errors with. Part of that problem is because publishers really don’t give you an exact list. They don’t tell you where they might want you to start the chapter on the page, how to break your scenes or what size font to use. I write for two publishers and they have different rules on scene breaks, or where the chapter should start on a page. Even the size of the font is different. I really have to think about who I’m writing for with that.
There are a few things that seem to be the basic things across the two publishers I work with, and as I have spoken to other authors with other publishers they tell me the same thing. One is the .3 indent for the beginning of a chapter that I mentioned before, and using Times New Roman as the font, one inch margins all the way around. Both of my publishers use astrids to divide the scene but that is where it stops. One wants four with no space the other wants four with space. It’s the little things that will drive you crazy.
If the publisher doesn’t indicate a particular size font use 12 font. It will be easy to adjust if they use a different size and it’s easier on the eyes of your potential editor. Use double space unless otherwise instructed. One inch margins all around is the norm, so is .3 indents on paragraphs. When starting your chapter there is normally a blank line between the word chapter and the first line of your scene. I have found most publishers want the number next to the word Chapter instead of having it spelled out. When you do a scene break I do recommend using the astrids – the reason behind that is your editor will know that it is a scene break and not just an extra line. Use your tool bars and program the document to set up your indents instead of using the tab button. Use astrids and dashes sparingly. A comma normally does the job and most publishers will pull them out. Use Italics when your character is thinking out loud or when you want to emphasis a word. Using underlines is old school now and most publishers, especially the e-pubs want italics.
Barbara Donlon Bradley wears many hats. She’s a mother, wife, care-giver, author, and editor. She’s a senior editor for Melange Books, and writes for Phaze and Melange books/Satin Romances with over twenty titles under her belt.