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Writing Books/Margins/Typesetting


Hi Sandy,

I am a new author and have no clue how to get started.  What margins and spacing should I use?  And please clarify for me if I should set up these margins as 8.5 x 5.5 margins in MS Word and later convert to Adobe PDF format before submitting to an editor?

Hi Jeannie,

Thanks for the question.  This is a simple one.  It does not matter!  The most important thing is to write the story. I suggest you simply open a MS Word document and start typing. No editor will mind how it is formatted as long as the writing is good.  Also do not submit anything in PDF format. Editors and publishers normally expect an MS Word document.

However, I would suggest that before you submit a manuscript you reformat the line spacing to 1.5 as this makes it easier for an editor to mark-up.

All the best with your writing.



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Sandy McCutcheon


Author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a memoir and children's fiction.I can work with people on the process of writing, what to expect and ask for from an editor. How to work with the publisher`s marketing and publicity people. And how to survive book launches and publicity tours!


Published author of 22 plays, 12 bestselling thrillers, a young adult and three non-fiction titles. Visit his Moroccan blog at for a look at his blogging work.

St Andrews, Helsinki University and other institutions. Adult Educator of the Year Award, Australia

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