It seems everyone, at one time or another has thought about becoming an author. You have a story idea. You write it or type it into your computer. You edit it countless times, tweaking this, improving that. Finally you feel ready to send it away to an editor and/or publisher. But how? Each place you check out seems to have different guidelines or rules. Well, when you break those down, they all follow these general principles that I have found will meet at least 95% of all submission rules to any publishing house.
Step 1: Step 1: the Top of the Cover Page.
The top of your cover page is probably the most important part of your story submission. These can be broken down into four major areas.
1. The Header - Here you need to make sure you include your surname, the name of the file, and the page number. Generally, the format of "Surname/File Name/Page #" is the most accepted. The submission guide might stat something different, but I have never had a story rejected using this format. Also, you should have RTF or DOC format versions of your file as those are the most used formats.
2. Name and Address - This is very straight forward actually. For the phone number, I include the number that i can be reached at easiest.
3. Word Count - This can be an approximation. This is important to the publisher/editor as sometimes they have word count minimums or maximums.
4. Title and Author's name - Again this is straight forward and it also acts as your copyright to the story and the idea.
Step 2: Step 2: Cover Page Part 2
This is where your story starts. Most publishers and editors don't like the "empty page" look after the title. So start right into your story!!! If you have blank lines in our story narrative to indicate scene breaks and such, make sure to use a "#". this is the generally accepted symbol for page break/carriage return.
It should also be noted here that when writing, make sure too stick with one style. If you use the Oxford comma at the start, make sure to use it all the way through. If you use two spaces after a sentence, stick to it. If you use, say, Canadian English instead of US English, make sure that is the default when writing. This is very important to the flow and the consistence of the verbiage. It helps the publishers or editors when they read your story how to edit and grammar check.
Step 3: Step 3: Double Space!
This cannot be stressed enough. Double space your work. It makes it so much easier to read when editing. If you don't double space, you can have your manuscript rejected because it will seem hard to read. I learned that lesson the hard way.
Step 4: Step 4: the Font
Most people will want to default to Arial, Times New Roman, or some other various font. If you really want your story to be given proper attention, it is recommended to use Courier New with a 12 point sizing. It is crisp, clean, and reminiscent of the old typewriters.
Step 5: Step 5: the Last Page
Well, this is easy. After your last sentence, place a carriage return/empty line symbol. Then on the line below that simply type "THE END" all in capital letters. It's clear, concise, and publishers/editors like it.
And that is it. These 5 steps will help you when you submit your story or manuscript. The hardest part is the waiting for acceptance or rejection. If you are rejected, do not be discouraged! It took J.K. Rowling over six years to get Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone published. Just keep at it!