Please Use Headers!

I would think this is common sense and it’s in almost every submission how-to guide I’ve ever read, but so many people don’t do this that I want to stress it here.

1. Put your name and abbreviated title in the header line of each and every page of your manuscript. For example, if your name is Jane Smith and your book is How LDSP Got Both Rich & Famous by Blogging, put Smith, J./LDSP Rich & Famous in the top left header of each page (unless your publisher requests you put it somewhere else).

2. USE automatic page numbering. Put them in the top right header of each and every page of your manuscript (unless your publisher requests otherwise). Start numbering consecutively from page one to page end-of-manuscript. Do NOT restart at page one at the beginning of each chapter.

This is why. Manuscripts stay in their boxes/envelopes at my office. I will often take a handful of pages (usually 1st three chapters) from several manuscripts home with me to read at night or over the weekend. This allows me to do a quick read and weed out the ones that aren’t what I’m looking for.

Although I am incredibly organized and coordinated, I have on occasion dropped these pages. Or they’ve spilled out of my briefcase. Or gremlins have come in the night and separated all the pages, scattering them amid my neat stacks of bills and grocery lists. Sometimes, I’ll pass these first three chapters around to various readers, who may or may not be as coordinated and organized as I am. It doesn’t happen very often, but when your pages get separated from each other or out of order, putting them back together is a potential nightmare.

It is extremely easy for you to include this header info on every page. Most software programs can do it automatically. Please file this post under "Publishers are human too" and go check right now to make sure all your manuscripts in progress have this header set up.

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