Writing Books/Formatting


What is the current accepted practice for spaces at the end of a sentence? In college, I was taught to put two spaces after each sentence, especially when submitting term papers. After college, I learned that this had switched to a single space.
When researching this online, I'm finding both answers. Some agents are saying, absolutely put two spaces between each sentence, others are saying it's not necessary.
If I submit my MS using Courier 12, should I be putting two spaces at the end of each sentence?

Thank you.

Chicago Style (preferred by book publishers) dictates one space after a period. This spacing differs from what some of us were taught in school, because academic and business style do not always align with Chicago Style. When you submit a book-length manuscript to an agent or publisher, you would be wise to follow Chicago Style.

Yes, typography is a small detail, but using two spaces can imply that the author is not of the “electronic, proportionate-spacing era.” Break the two-space habit.

If you plan to self-publish and intend to set your book in justified type, you must delete the extra spaces before going to press, or your book will look awkward with extra spacing.

Use my Find and Refine Method™ to find and delete all the extra spaces, and the task takes only a few seconds. Pull down the Edit menu and then Find and Replace. Put the cursor in the dialogue box for Find and press the space bar twice. In the Replace box, put the cursor in the box and press the spacebar once. Push the button that says Replace All, and in moments, the computer makes the changes for you. When I work with other people’s manuscripts, I sometimes have to run the function more than once, so I do it over and over until the computer says it has made zero replacements, and the job is finished.

I hope you will subscribe to my free monthly newsletter for writers. It always has tips about writing and submitting manuscripts. Go to www.zebraeditor.com and click on Free Newsletter and check the box that says Writers Network News.

Let me know if I can help in any other way.

Bobbie Christmas
Zebra Communications

Writing Books

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Bobbie Christmas


Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.


Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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