Friday, September 4, 2009
Book Review: Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript
Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript
by Chuck Sambuchino
321 page, workbook-sized, soft cover book
Published By Writers Digest Books, $22.99
My Rating: 5 pencils
After I finished reading the book, Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript by Chuck Sambuchino, I said to myself, “Where have you been all my writing life?” This book is to formatting as Strunk and White is to grammar.
As a full-time editor for Writers Digest books and a part-time freelance writer, Sambuchino understands the dynamics of the publishing world from many different facets.
Right away in the introductory section entitled, The Basics, we understand the importance of laying out our submissions correctly.
“Proper formatting will result in a clear and professional document that meets editor’ expectations and secures their attention. Without proper attention to formatting, good writing often ends up in the rejection pile.”
The challenge for writers is to understand and apply all the different rules. Sambuchino addresses the basics like queries, title pages and cover letters as well as the proper layout for a synopsis, a picture book and even a soap opera script.
Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript is broken down into five main parts: fiction, nonfiction, children’s writing, scripts and verse. But from there it keeps going. For instance, in the fiction section, the sub categories are short stories, novels, genre novels (mystery, romance, science fiction and horror), comics and graphic novels. In these subsections, Sambuchino provides information about formatting a query, cover letter, synopsis, and manuscript for each of these specific genres.
Over the past decade as a writer, I have read many books and articles about formatting. I have learned the basic rules for manuscripts, articles and queries, but I don’t recall reading specifically about the correct layout for the front and back matter of a book, the table of contents or how to format the dedication and acknowledgement pages. This book has it all.
A huge selling point of this book is all the examples including query letters (some even include comments from agents and editors), screenplays, articles, letters and manuscripts.
But this book doesn’t stop there. Every section is packed with do’s and don’ts, like when sending a query for your novel, “Do address your letter to a specific agent or editor,” or “Don’t state that some other agent or editor rejected your novel.” There are also insights from industry professionals and information specific to a variety of genres.
The goal of most writers is to be published. Sambuchino has taken out any of the guesswork involved with sending in submissions, therefore significantly increasing the chances of being published.
Because of its user friendly layout, practical information and helpful tips, Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript now has a permanent home in the reference section of my personal library.