Editors receive thousands of manuscripts in a year and will almost certainly reject any that aren't properly formatted. Pay attention to the guidelines they have sent you and follow them to the letter. Each publishing company will have different guidelines, but in general:

1. Manuscripts should be double-spaced with 1" to 1-1/2" margins on the top, bottom and sides of each page.

2. Your name, address and social security number should be in the top left-hand corner of the first page, single-spaced.

3. In the right hand corner, you should type your phone number. Then double space down three times, center the title, double space, then "by", double space again, and your name.

4. Space down to the middle of the page and begin the text of your manuscript.

5. Each successive page should include your last name, your title, and the page number at the top.

6. Don't include illustrations with your manuscript unless you really are a bona fide artist. Most publishing companies have illustrators they regularly work with, and prefer to match a well-recognized illustrator with a new author for the sake of name recognition.

7. Avoid day-glo paper or envelopes, don't add stickers, pictures or slides, don't dot your i's with little hearts . . . in other words, be tactful. Although it's a children's book, it's an adult's business.

8. All you need to send in is a copy (not the original) of your manuscript, a self-addressed stamped envelope (always include one of these - they won't write back if you don't), and a brief cover letter.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW write a children's book?