I get asked writing questions all the time. Here is one I get asked often by those who want to start their first novel.
I am about to start my first book and was wondering if you had any advice to share on what software to use or best system for starting a new book?
I don’t use any specific software to write a book. I only use a normal word-processing program. I have used Microsoft Word before. Now, because I have a Mac, I use Open Office.
When submitting a manuscript it’s important not to make it too fancy. A publisher will strip away all the extras like italics, bold print, and fancy fonts. Any fancy formatting is just a waste of time. I’ve submitted 40+ manuscripts to more than a dozen different publishers, and here are the basics: <click to tweet>
- Times New Roman
- 12 point font
- Double Space
- 1-inch margins
In fiction, I use italics for direct thoughts. I also use bold print for chapter headers and subheadings in non-fiction.
Some people write their manuscripts with each chapter as a separate file, and then they compile it into one document before submission. I sometimes do this for non-fiction books where each chapter has a unique theme, but for my novels I simply write the whole thing in one file. I then save it as a final document, with the complete book’s name when I’m done before submission.
When I submit my manuscript to my publisher I save it—and submit it—as a Word document. It is the preferred submission for publishing companies.
Other articles for writers by me:
Switching Hats Between Fiction and Non-fiction
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