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. Nurqamarina

    Can I use my pen`s name?

    etc: words
    real name
    email address
    phone number

    By Laris (Pen`s name)

    • For the contest you must provide your real name on the entry form and on your manuscript. You may also include your pen name on your manuscript, but it must be very clear which is your real name and which is your pen name.

  2. Leonard

    Can we register for the 2015 competition now?

    • Hi Leonard. You may enter only when the contest is officially open on April 1, 2015…but you can certainly start working on your story now! :-)

  3. Gabbie Richard

    Does our personal information at the top count in the word count?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Gabbie. No. Your info and the title do NOT count! :-)

  4. Hi is the manuscript like a summary of your entire story?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Saskia. The manuscript is your story.

  5. Herley

    Should you write in the computer? Can I send it by email?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Herley. All entries are submitted by email using the online entry form. You can hand-write your story if that is your only option, but then you must scan a copy so that it can be sent electronically.

  6. Sadie

    Does the story HAVE to be in a certain font?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Sadie. No, but I recommend keeping it professional, nothing fancy or difficult to read.

  7. anoushka sinha

    what do we mean by double spacing?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Anoushka. Please view the sample manuscript. There is a link to it in rule #8.

  8. Hannah

    Hi Laura,
    Does the title of your story/”by so-and-so” count as part of your word count?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Hannah. The title and personal information do NOT count.

  9. Jackie

    HI! When you send your story in, do have to go somewhere to do someething or is it just online. Need to know soon! Thanx;)

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Jackie. I’m not sure where you got the idea that there is travel involved with this contest. We do host conferences twice a year and the winners of our big contests are announced there, but you don’t have to be at the conference to receive a prize if you are one of the winners. I contact the winners personally and arrange for their prizes to be delivered.

  10. Caitlin

    Do you have to double space the story
    Need answer ASAP starting to write
    Thanx :)

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Caitlin. We won’t disqualify you if it is single spaced, but if you are serious about writing professionally, I would get in the habit of double spacing.

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