The importance of manuscript formatting stems from being a requirement by publishers, agents, proofreaders and editors, because it makes your manuscript easier to assess.
So why wouldn’t you do this when it can save you time and money later on?
As a writer myself, I can tell you that the first thing I do when opening up a new document on my computer is formatting. This means I don’t have to worry about formatting my manuscript as I write or trying to reformat the manuscript after I have finished which can be trouble with a capital T.
New writers often make the mistake of not formatting their manuscript or formatting it incorrectly. Some get caught up in making their manuscript look like a book, including elaborate fonts and images, not realising that this will make more work for later on.
Poor formatting can cost you time and money and it may be the reason your manuscript gets turned down. Many agents and publishers turn down manuscripts because they are poorly formatted, without bothering to read the manuscript.
Why should they waste their time reading when you haven’t done basic research to make sure your manuscript has the best possible chance? This shows a lack of professionalism on your part that most agents and publishers won’t want to deal with.
If you have decided to go with independent publishing, don’t think this lets you off the formatting hook – it doesn’t. If you plan to make your book the best product it can be, you will need to have it edited at the very least and the service provider you choose may charge you for the time they need to correct your formatting.
Better Scribe has created The Writer’s & Author’s Guide to Manuscript Formatting which focuses on the importance of manuscript formatting and guides you through the process, along with providing examples of what a novel manuscript and a short story manuscript should look like.
The Writer’s & Author’s Guide to Manuscript Formatting is free when you sign up for Better Scribe’s free writing mini-course.