My role as a publisher and editor has exposed me to a diverse set of manuscripts in different shape, fonts & sizes which have actually driven me nuts. Some scripts have even managed to draw blood from my eyes and I loathe even reading a single line of it. If the script is cluttered beyond a certain limit even veteran editors will lose their patience. I have often noticed that authors are too engrossed in coming up with a innovative script that they tend to ignore the basic rule of presentation. In our childhood days we used to practice writing with pen and paper and a clumsy writing used to instill a guilt feeling among us. Even great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi also regretted for having a filthy handwriting. Now a day’s hardly anybody uses pen and paper for penning down their story and this had twisted the whole preview of a properly formatted script. Authors have now become a little careless about following any standard format and have developed an illusion that technology shall self correct their mistakes. Yes indeed with spell check, spacing tools etc now it has become easier to find out the discrepancies in writing but still it doesn’t undermines the basic fundamentals of presentable form of writing.
Preparing a write set of script is necessary for both traditional and self publishing houses. Traditional publishing houses get bombarded with numerous scripts on daily basis and they shall not undergo the pain of going through a script which does not meet the industry standards. In case of self publishing houses the authors will need to shed out extra money to get its script correctly formatted. As an author if one adheres to some basic rules and regulations the chances of script getting accepted by the publishing houses is much higher. The worst thing nightmare for any author is to find readers complaining about a poorly formatted script. ‘
Below mentioned are some basic guidelines which a author needs to follow while drafting his manuscript.
Font – Now most author tend to experiment with their font size and types. Please keep in mind that it has been scientifically proven that small or complex fonts actually makes reading difficult and can discourage the reader from reading the script. Your font size should have uniformity and should be comfortable to read. The standard accepted font size is 12, Times New Roman or Courier new, Black.
Margin – You should keep one inch margin on all the four sides.
Header – Try to incorporate header in every page including your name, title of the novel and page number.
Spacing – You should maintain standard spacing between the words and two lines. Double space the entire text or have a line spacing of 1.5 between two lines. It makes the text more eye catching and easier to read.
Capital Letters – There is a general tendency among the authors to use capital letters in between the lines to enhance the visibility of their text. Grammatically this is not correct and even insertion of too many capital letters make the script looks distorted. Though the author may think it is actually grabbing the attention of the consumer but in reality readers gets confused and irritated with disproportionate insertions of capital letters. At the best author should stick to the basic grammatical rule of using capital letters.
Chapters – You should always begin the chapter from first page. The chapter title should be kept at the centre and you should begin writing after skipping a couple of spaces.
Lingua – Use of linguistic characters ( u,4, thx, alt) though looks trendy but should be completely avoided. Though it popular means of communication while chatting or texting messages, when it comes to penning down a book it looks obnoxious. The writer should be very careful to avoid using these characters as many readers can get disconnected with the script. Some readers who are unfamiliar with these acronyms may need to put extra pain to grasp their meaning and this can become very irritating for them.
A successful book has many caps under its belt. It is difficult to pinpoint a single factor which be crucial for its success. As an author you should have deep understanding of the consumer insight about their reading habits and preferences. There is no use of having an attractive book cover when the inner text is in bad shape. A good script should be backed by excellent presentation. So stick to basic rules of writing and fly with your creative ideas.