How to Present Your Manuscript in 10 Easy Steps 28th February 2014 – Tags: , , , , , , , ,

An Untidy ManuscriptWe get an interesting variety of calls at Magic Oxygen from budding authors who want to talk about their manuscripts, some of which are sitting under virtual lock and key and others have been sitting on top of the wardrobe gathering dust and dead spiders, patiently waiting for the perfect moment to burst forth.

We love it when that timely event combines with finding Magic Oxygen’s contact details, because only a few things come close to talking to somebody about making their literary dreams come true.

Assuming (a) the writer can string an entertaining sentence or two together and (b) the initial discussions go well, step (c) will be to look at the practical steps that need to take place to turn the manuscript into a paperback, graphic novel, play, e-book etc.

Our esteemed Editor, Simon West will be delighted to cast an astute eye or two over your work to see whether it has any viable legs and he will be very honest about the saleability of the read, if you are looking to take the book to market.

Don’t panic; if it needs serious editing or simply a bit of a polish, everything and anything can be done to present your work at its best, providing the core copy is engaging, entertaining and has bite.

I thought I’d give you a few tips on the most helpful and expedient way to present your manuscript to us, with a few other literary nibbles if you have the time just in case you are teetering on the precipice of your perfect moment!

  1. The document should ideally already be in electronic form, either in Microsoft Word.doc format (not .docx) or Open Office odt.
  2. Present the entire document in Times New Roman or Arial, 14pt, 1.5 line spacing, don’t worry about making chapter headings bold or large font.
  3. The first page of the document should be a summary sheet which includes working title, sub-title, author or pen name, total word count, number of images (if appropriate) and details of your target reader demographic.
  4. Put it through a comprehensive spell and grammar checker, usually built into your word processing package, for the country you live in, ie UK or USA.
  5. If you have accompanying images, these need to be sent initially in a compressed format, no bigger than 1,000 px on any side.
  6. Images will need to be supplied in high res however for printing purposes, so ensure you have access to these, we can assist with this.
  7. It helps everything shift along when we have a clear idea of who you are, so 300 words of About the Author should get things off to a great start.
  8. A little later in the process, you will need to provide a 350 character (including spaces) description of the book (yes, I did say character) and a long description of the book of approximately 400 words – you can send these over with your manuscript if you have them ready.
  9. Don’t worry about the cover or fonts, these will be developed with you.
  10. And finally, a head and shoulders shot of you for PR, initially just a small version but we will eventually need a high res version, approximately 2,500 px on a side.

So there you have it!

This is a solid and comprehensive framework that will help move your project on from digital dots, to printed paper, at a smooth, steady and professional pace.

Of course, if the manuscript really is on top of the wardrobe, we can work with that too, we might just need to buy a few extra boxes of Fairtrade Organic tea to get us through it!

In the first instance, drop us a line or call and speak to Simon and

Good luck with it all,

The Team