on CMOS Shop Talk:
When you write a book to send to an agent or editor, you are preparing a manuscript. And even if your ideas, characters, and plot twists are colorful and creative, your manuscript format should not be. Agents and editors almost always require submitted pages to be in a standard format free of images and color and anything flashy. Many agents and editors post the format they prefer (or demand) on a “Submissions” page at their website.
It’s normal, however, to prepare material before you know exactly where you’ll submit it. That’s why it’s smart to produce a generic document based on Chicago style (the style used by most US trade book publishers) that can be tweaked later if you receive more specific instructions. Using this conventional style and saving it in a flexible file format will position you to adjust your formatting for each submission…
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