How to Format Your Manuscript

by Laura Michelle Thomas


How your format your manuscript matters a great deal in the publishing world. It is the first impression your story makes in an editor or judge’s eyes. It shows that you know and respect the rules of the trade and have done your homework.

This is an example of what the first page of your story should look like if you are entering it in the Junior Authors Contest or if you are submitting a piece of fiction or an article to jaBlog!

It is very important that you put all of your personal information at the top of the first page so that we can contact you if you are a winner or we wish to publish your submission. The font and using all caps for your title, is optional but highly recommended. It’s standard industry formatting so you might as well start learning it now. The font is Times New Roman 12pt. And, double spacing is recommended. It makes it easier for the judges to read.

How your manuscript looks is our first impression of you as a writer. It matters. When we get a manuscript that is put together randomly, we already know that the work has probably not be written and edited carefully either.


Format Manuscript





Laura Michelle Thomas

About Laura Michelle Thomas

Laura Michelle Thomas is a novelist, freelance writer, writing mentor, and the owner of Laura Thomas Communications. She is the creator and administrator of the Junior Authors Contests and Junior Authors Conferences. Laura is publisher and senior editor of jaBlog! and is dedicated to fostering the development of young writers worldwide.

181 comments on “How to Format Your Manuscript

  1. Georgia

    Do I have to put my phone number in?

  2. Hello Laura,
    In my story, there are a few points when the characters thoughts are put into the story. Otherwise, it is told in first person. Do you recommend leaving it as is, changing the thoughts into a different font, or putting them in italics? They are quite clear, but I think it adds more authenticity if the thoughts were slightly different.

  3. Piyumi

    Hello Laura,
    It is said in the guidelines for ‘Junior Authors Short Story Writing Contest’ that the tile and the contact details do not count in the word count and I would like to know if we write our name under the title (like ‘by Betty green’ as shown in the sample manuscript format) and anything that does not come under the plot would it also be not counted?
    Thank You

    • Hi Piyumi. Your name, title and contact information do not count towards the total words.

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