How to Format Your Picture Book Manuscript

So you’re like me, huh? Been sending out manuscripts of picture books for some time and you aren’t getting anywhere?  It’s okay. It was only last week when I realized I’ve been doing it wrong this entire time! Say whaaaaat?  No need to fear! Here are some tips that can help you send out a better-looking manuscript.

Keep in mind that poetry and rhyming manuscripts will be formatted slightly different. I’ll break it down into three sections; settings, first page, and continuous pages.

Settings for the document

1″ Margins All Around

Most documents will have this already selected by default, but make sure it’s ticked.

Left-aligned text

What this means is that every time you hit the return on your keyboard, it will start typing on the left side, not the center and definitely not the right.

Jagged lines on the right

This just means you don’t need to have the text fill the entire line.  It will automatically move to the next line when it needs to. The lines of text will appear jagged. You shouldn’t need to do anything, but if you see that your document is spacing out your letters to fill each line, you’ll need to make sure you do left-aligned text.

.5 cm paragraph indents

When you start a paragraph and hit the tab key, it will indent .5cm. Again, it should be selected by default.


This gives room for any notes and makes it an easier read.

12 pt. Times New Roman font

Use this font as it is said to be easier on the eyes for someone who reads manuscripts all day. There is no need to use any special font for a manuscript submission. Make it simple, keep it 12pt.

First Page

So the document settings are all set. Let’s dive in.

Create a header. On the left side leave your name, number, email, and website.  Make sure it’s single-spaced, left-aligned. On the other side of the header, leave the word count.  Round up the word count to the nearest 10. Make sure that this header is only for this page.

Go back to the body of the text, and come down from the header a few inches and type and center the title. Don’t make it too large, but feel free to go with 14 or 16 at the most.

Hit enter and put the subtitle here if there is one. Hit enter again and add the author’s name. Select this and make it single-spaced.

Now come down another inch or two and start the story on the same page.

Sequential Pages

Create another header on this page. All pages following the first page will need this same header. The header will contain the author’s “lastname/thebooktitle” on the left side and on the right side of the line, start the page numbers beginning with page ‘2’.  It may do this automatically.

Click out of the header and go to the meat of the page. Continue your story from page one.  When you finish the story, hit return twice and type THE END.

Good luck!



If you want to download the free .doc template, feel free. I will attach one shortly.

If you found this information useful, consider supporting me by sharing the articles, liking pages, leaving comments, or even getting a copy of Priscilla and the Sandman or The Wondrous Wandering Acrobats Show.






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