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Manuscript Preparation
Continued from page 2


Not too many years ago, writers were encouraged to use high-quality paper with at least 25% cotton rag content to avoid a "shopworn" look after a submission or two. That made sense when manuscripts were typed manually or hand-fed into slow daisywheel printers, but today's laser printers and photocopiers have made such advice obsolete.

If you want to use a cotton-rag laser sheet like TechnaClear, that's fine--but don't be ashamed to use any 20- or 24-lb copier, laser, or inkjet paper. (Just make sure it's plain white; colored papers are hard on editors' eyes and look unprofessional.)


Except for screenplays and plays, manuscripts should be unbound. Submit your book manuscript in the kind of box that's used for typewriter paper or a corrugated mailer of suitable size. (Box companies sell these, usually in quantities of 50-100 or more.) For articles and stories, use a large paper clip or banker's clip to hold the pages together.

See our samples

My sample manuscript pages show approximately what a book, story, or article script should look like. (I say "approximately" because text doesn't display the same way in a Web browser as it does on a printed page. The margins, for example, are narrower in this sample than they'd be in a word processor.)

- Durant Imboden

Sample manuscript pages

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