Cover Your Shame!

Not to say your written work is your shame, it was just a catchy pun to get your attention (by now, you know what you’ve gotten yourself into by reading this blog). As mentioned in a previous post, once you have your manuscript formatted for submission, you’re not quite done yet. You still need an appropriately formatted cover or title page. When you’re still in the process of writing, this can actually be a good motivator. Every time you open your draft and you see your title page, it makes you feel accomplished, and driven to finish your work. Just the act of coming up with the perfect title for you novel makes you feel accomplished. Even if your it is just a work-in-progress title, that W.I.P. usually fits your story perfectly, or you simply think “Man that title sounds cool.” So, here is a sample of how your cover page should look, then after I will examine a few parts for clarification:

Title Page

Then, nothing below that point on your title page. So, the first thing to examine is the spacing on the page. You don’t need any extra spacing, like 2 pt. spacing you would use in the body of your manuscript. You’ll notice in the upper left hand corner, there is no additional spacing between lines. Now, the centered section where the ‘title-by-author’ is located, has a bit of spacing between. That is not needed, but I prefer to put 2 pt. spacing where the title is located, simply because it looks ‘prettier’ to me. The concept behind the title page is that it is simple. No fancy fonts, no coloring, no images. Just a simple place to have all of your contact info, IF the publisher would like to see more. Below the title-by lines, there is an approximate word count. As mentioned previously, most publishers assume each page to have 250 words each. So, do a little math: 250x(page count) = approximate word count. A warning: check your publisher’s submission specifications, some do specify how they would like you to determine your word count. I’ve come across at least two that wanted the count as specified by Microsoft Word.

That ‘covers’ just about everything, when it come to your cover page. Make sure that you come up with an outstanding title, write a whole lot of words, then tell the publisher about on this page. One last thing to mention, don’t put a page number on this page. In MS Word, you have to check a specific box to prevent this from happening, if a publisher sees a page number here, there’s always a chance they will ignore your manuscript. I’ve never heard of that happening for this specific reason, but better to be safe than sorry. So, keep it simply, and have fun writing!


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