Meeting writers on the page since 1996

Manuscript Formatting Guidelines

Please double check that your manuscript is correctly formatted in order to ensure that your manuscript assessment is not delayed.

To submit to TLC, your manuscript must be in industry standard formatting, i.e., in the same or similar formatting to that expected by literary agents and publishers, namely:

  • In a 12-point standard font (e.g., Times New Roman, Cambria, Arial etc)
  • Double-spaced (click here for step-by-step instructions)
  • Page numbered (click here for step-by-step instructions)
  • In an attached Word document if you are submitting online/by email OR
  • On single-sided A4 paper if you are submitting per post

If you’re unsure, you can print out our PDF sample page and compare it to a printed page from your own manuscript, or get in touch with us before sending your manuscript in. We want to save you the hassle and expense of having to reprint it.

For more information about submitting a synopsis and cover letter, please see our Questions Answered page.

Example(s) of a formatted page

1. Snapshot of simple formatting

Here is a snapshot of some correctly formatted text. Click on the link below the image to download a printable page for you to compare against your text. If you want more detail, scroll down.

TLC sample formatted text for manuscript formating

2. Detailed formatting page including chapter headings, dialogue formatting, and how to handle a scene cut

Here is a more detailed example of a formatted page, with a sample ‘chapter one’ written especially for TLC by one of our readers, the novelist Imogen Robertson, that shows you how to format chapter headings, dialogue, and scene breaks. The below is a screencap of just the opening. For the whole chapter, please click on the image, or use the link below the image to download the PDF.

TLC formatting document (downloadable PDF)

How to submit your work to TLC

Once you have formatted your work correctly according to the above guidelines, please refer back to the Fees and Submissions page to complete the process. If you have any questions, email us on

How to submit your work to a literary agent

At TLC we accept manuscripts in standard industry formatting, which is usually the right formatting to submit to literary agents and publishers accepting unsolicited (un-agented) submissions. The important thing is to make sure it’s clear and legible. Based on the thousands of submissions we’ve seen over two decades of working with writers and publishers, we’ve compiled a list of top tips to help you finesse your submission. You can find that here.

Did you know? TLC offers a Submission Package Report for writers submitting to literary agents. Click here for details

If you are serious about your writing and feel that TLC’c editing services would be a good next step, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We might not always have the perfect answer, but sometimes, we might.

You might also want to read: our Writing and Publishing Advice page