How to Format a Short Story Manuscript for Submission: a Checklist
When you submit a short story to a literary magazine, the editors expect your story to be formatted in a very particular way. Before you submit, make sure to follow the following guidelines:
The Short Story Formatting Checklist
- Write your name, address, phone number, and email address in the top left corner of page 1.
- Include the word count in top right corner.
- Always use 12-point, courier font.
- Always double-space.
- Use 1-inch margins.
- Include the title of your story and your author name ½ of the way down the first page.
- Indent your paragraphs (like a book). Don’t use line breaks (like a blog).
- Include a top-header with your last name, the abbreviated story title (no more than 3 or 4 words), and the page number in top right corner, beginning on page 2.
- Use a pound sign (#) to separate any line breaks.
If you mail your short story:
- Do not staple your pages. Leave them unstapled, loose leaf.
- Include a brief cover letter mentioning the title of your story, a 30-word bio, and any major publications you’ve been accepted in.
- In the package, include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
To see an example and read a fuller explanation of standard formatting, get your copy of Let’s Write a Short Story! a guide for writing and submitting short stories to literary magazines.