Manuscript Format

 Photo by  Álvaro Serrano  on  Unsplash

By John Flynn-York

General formatting guidelines for sending your work to Automata.

Cover Page

The first page of your manuscript should look like this:

  • Contact info at the top left. The usual order, with each element on a new line: name, address, phone, email.
  • Word count on the top right, opposite your name. For us, it’s fine to either include an approximate word count (“about 2,000 words”) or an exact one.
  • Title halfway down the page, centered. It can be in capitals or title case, your choice.
  • Byline centered underneath the title. If you publish under a pen name, use that here, and put your real name with your address.

Two line breaks, and then we get to the good stuff: the writing.


Last name, title, and page number in the upper header, right-justified. Leave the first page header blank.

The Rest of the Words

These are our preferences:

  • 12 pt. Times New Roman, double spaced.
  • 1” margins, .5” indents.
  • Follow print format, NOT online/blog format: single line break between paragraphs; first sentences of paragraphs indented.
  • A single space between sentences.
  • Use the # symbol to indicate spaces between sections.

For more info, read William Shunn’s page on proper manuscript format. While some of the specifics are different, the general advice is solid and he explains the reasoning behind it all.