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Writing Books/Preparing a manuscript for submission


I am a technical editor of online academic materials - I know there are rules in writing! I am also a writer published in magazines, a local weekly paper & online (years ago), also self-published (currently).

A while back, I offered to write a kids' book for a nonprofit organization. They were delighted, and I was excited! I have now written almost the entire text (including the main part of the text, table of contents, foreword, glossary, word games, etc.) and realized that despite all my "experience" I do not know how to prepare a book-length manuscript for publication. How do I format it? Do I do it in Word? using my CS5 software? using some particular font - Courier New or Times New Roman)? underlining or using italics for emphasis, etc., etc.? I am surprised to be so clueless....but I am not sure where to begin... unfortunately, the organization is unlikley to have specific guidelines as what I am doing is something of a first for them.

I appreciate any help, advice or direction you can offer!
Thank you!

Hi Sally,

Congratulations on writing a book!

I've attached guidelines you can reference as you format your manuscript. Most book manuscripts are created in Word, Times New Roman font and 12 points. I'd steer clear of underlining and italics unless the firm you're creating the book for comes back and request that particular formatting.


By the way, if you're writing a book for print, these guidelines are great. Ebooks require a different formatting, which you can get from places like Smashwords.

All the best!

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Rhonda Campbell


I can answer questions on how to get published in magazines and newspapers; how to market your own books; how to earn a living writing; how to write press releases; how to find a good editor; how to edit your own books; finding a good printer; finding a good book illustrator; doing your taxes as a freelance writer. Questions I can't answer include specifics around working with a print on demand publisher


I have 36 years of experience as a writer (fiction and non-fiction). I am a book reviewer with Nielsen Media. I am a newspaper columnist and a reporter. I am a former radio station host and I am the editor of a literary newsletter, The Book Lover's Haven. I am also the author of more than 10 books.

Writer's Critique Group

The Trenton Times Philadelphia Trend Sisters in Style Essence Magazine The Pittsburgh Quarterly Obsidian II, etc.

I have taken numerous writing courses on book, proposal and grant writing as well as marketing and promotion

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100 Most Admired African American Women Who's Who

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