Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Formatting - the Title Page

Knowing how to properly format your manuscript is vital to your survival in the field of children's literature. Actually, it is vital in any writing field. It is the best way to show an editor that you are professional. Even the most brilliant scripts will be "filed under the desk" if it is not properly formatted and clean.

Since there is so much to know about formatting though, I am going to break this up into a few separate postings. This first posting will only deal with how to format the Title Page. A TRUE Title Page, however, is used primarily in novel writing - NOT PICTURE BOOKS. So picture book people, yours will be slightly different.

Formatting Your Manuscript - The Title Page

Step One - Opening a Header
  1. In Word go to View and then to Header.
  2. In the upper left corner, single-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 font, type your full name.
  3. Then next line – your address.
  4. Next line – your telephone number.
  5. Next line – your email or website address.
  6. On the top line, right corner, write your intended audience, such as Early Reader, Elementary, Middle Grade, or Young Adult
  7. And under that - word count. (This varies from publisher to publisher. Some do not want word count, some do. Be sure to consult the Writer’s Market under the publisher’s submission guidelines to find out.)

When setting up your header, BE SURE TO SELECT ‘DIFFERENT FIRST PAGE.’ You’ll see why later. You can find this by… going to View, then to Header, then to Page Set-Up, then the Layout tab, then check Different First Page.

Step Two - Numbering Pages

Be sure to select in your header to begin counting pages at 0. This way your title page will not be counted as page 1, throwing off your page count. This is done by...

  1. going to View,
  2. then to Header,
  3. then to Format Page Number,
  4. then Start At and type in 0.

~However picture book people should not type - start at 0 - because their text will begin on this page.

Step Three - Your Actual Title

Many people like to make their title Bold and choose a large point font, but I suggest you stay in Times New Roman. However, there is no set ruling on this – just personal preference. So, select a size font you like and type your Title in bold, right in the center of the Title Page.

Since all your information is already on this title page, it is unnecessary to write "by 'Your Name'" under the title. It is already in the upper left hand corner of your Header.

Title Pages for Picture Book Writers

All of the above is the same for you, too. The only difference is, you would then begin your text right on this page. After your title, skip a bunch of lines until you are about 2/3 down, indent and begin your text. Your text should be double-spaced, 12 point , Times New Roman font.

If you’re writing a Novel, as stated previously, your title page should only contain your personal information and the title of the story. The text will begin on the next page. I will go into more detail about formatting for subsequent pages in my next posting.

For more on formatting the text of your story, look for my next posting entitled Subsequent Pages - The Text.

Bye for now,

Sheri ks, ks


Anonymous said...

Hi i love the pictuer.
Who took it?
someone in your house

P.S I`ll give you a cule the 2nd letter in my name is a "a".

Sheri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheri said...

Well, reader, the person who took my picture, is my youngest and talented daughter, Madison. She's crafty with a camera phone!

Rachel said...


Thanks for visiting my blog! We children's writers have to stick together!

Rebecca said...


I love that you included Out of the Dust with your "examples of good literature." Mind if I add a couple to that list? The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau and The Giver by Lois Lowry.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog! :-)

“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous