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This May Seem Like A Really Dumb Question, But...

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As my wife had been putting my manuscript into PDF form for the upcoming convention in Portland, I realized that she was putting each chapter title on the far left. I told her I thought they should be centered. I pulled several books off my shelf and showed her that in all examples, the chapter titles were centered. She then showed me in one of the writer's books I had asked her to look at in preparation for her formatting, and the one example of how it should look after we're done shows the chapter title, sure enough, on the left side of the page.

 

What's the right or wrong of this?

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It may be a difference in style guides.

 

Personally, I suggest aligning the chapter title however looks best for your book, unless you're required to use a specific style guide.

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This is always what I hear when I ask about such things. It's your book, do to it as you think it should be done.

 

But the folks here will guide you onto the correct path.

 

Can't believe I left that out in the first place. Sorry.

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Actually, it's not so optional depending on the purpose of the manuscript. For example, most publishing houses specify what manual of style they want you to use, so if you're shopping the manuscript(s), you'll want to do things their way to improve your chances of acceptances. It's okay to do it your own way, just recognize that publishers appreciate it when you pay attention to their guidelines. Our editors, for example, sideline manuscripts that don't comply with the Chicago Manual of Style. Other houses use other manuals and, again, they appreciate you paying attention.

 

So what is the convention you're referring to and what will you be doing with the manuscript?

 

Also Lynn's correct, left justified chapter titles aren't the norm at all. What is the writer's book your wife showed you this in? I'd be interested, because often times variant manuscript submission guidelines are for specific, niche markets. In any case, I'd be interested in knowing the book you reference.

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Actually, it's not so optional depending on the purpose of the manuscript. For example, most publishing houses specify what manual of style they want you to use, so if you're shopping the manuscript(s), you'll want to do things their way to improve your chances of acceptances. It's okay to do it your own way, just recognize that publishers appreciate it when you pay attention to their guidelines. Our editors, for example, sideline manuscripts that don't comply with the Chicago Manual of Style. Other houses use other manuals and, again, they appreciate you paying attention.

 

So what is the convention you're referring to and what will you be doing with the manuscript?

 

Also Lynn's correct, left justified chapter titles aren't the norm at all. What is the writer's book your wife showed you this in? I'd be interested, because often times variant manuscript submission guidelines are for specific, niche markets. In any case, I'd be interested in knowing the book you reference.

I'm going to the Christian Writer's Conference in Portland, Oregon, in August.

 

My book style is "memoir."

 

The book where it showed left justified chapter titles is "Beginning Writer's Answer Book" by Jane Friedman. I can't say much in it rings true, but it was recommended to me by a guy who has published 9 books.

 

Thanks for all the answers, I'm going to go back and fix all the chapters now.

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This always what I hear when I ask about such things. It's your book, do to it as you think it should be done.

Thank you, but I prefer to do it how the publishers like to see it.

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Good luck at the conference, Blackthorne- it sounds exciting! I don't know if there is anywhere you can update us all on your experiences there, but I think it would be very informative if you're able to share what you see and learn.

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