Manuscript Format Guidelines


Please follow this format for any work submitted to Red Oak Writing. The entire manuscript should be in Times New Roman 12-point font. (This goes for the title, chapter headings, etc. too.) 

Title Page

Contact information: This should be left justified, single spaced at the top of the page:

  • your legal name
  • address
  • phone number
  • email address

Word count: This should be right justified on the same “line” as your name (upper right corner)

Title of your manuscript: This should be center-justified one-third to one-half-way down the page

Subtitle if you have one: Added one single-space below the title

Author name: This may be the same as your legal name or different if you are using a pen name. It should be one double-space below the title/subtitle.

Body of the Manuscript

  • 8.5 by 11-inch pages
  • One-inch margins on each side
  • Left-justified alignment
  • Single space after periods–if you’re trained the old way with double spaces after each period, you can easily search and replace the document to swap single spaces for your double ones
  • Hit return twice to indicate when there is white space (usually indicates a significant shift in time/place)
  • Left justify the first line after white space AND the first line of each new chapter

Works of nonfiction

  • When you submit to a publisher, they want it to be left-justified alignment with no indentation and a line between each paragraph HOWEVER, for ease of reading, I ask that nonfiction work be formatted as described for works of fiction below:

Works of fiction

  • Left-justified alignment with half an inch indention and no line between paragraphs. (To indent paragraphs, don’t use tab or space. In MS Word, “format”> “paragraph” > “paragraph settings” > “indentation” > “special” > “first line” > “0.5 inch” After you format the paragraph indentation once, it should do it automatically when you start a new line)


  • At the top right of every page (excluding the title page), you should include the following information: Your last name/Book title (or abbreviated version of title)
  • Number pages starting with the first page of the book (not the title page) It is okay to have the page number at the bottom of the page if you prefer.

Formatting chapters

  • New chapter page break–always start a new chapter on a new page (do NOT do this by adding a bunch of returns but instead, use “Insert” and “Page break” after the last sentence of the previous chapter)
  • Center-align the title of the chapter, even if it’s just a chapter number, one-third of the way down the page
  • Start the chapter one double-space below the title (or number) and left-justify the first line
  • Do not use bold type for the chapter title

Type and center “END” at the end of your manuscript