So not true.
Let's take a look at what actual manuscript is and why you shouldn't be afraid of it.
What is it?
Manuscript is nothing more than a book in chapter form in a word processing document, typically Microsoft Word. One chapter per file. No big deal.
How is it formatted?
Each publisher has its own preferences for how a manuscript should be formatted, but here are the basic parameters most of us use. Please do be sure, though, to check each publisher's author page for more specific guidelines.
- Most publishers want just a plain, unfancified, unstyled (if you don't know what styles are, you'll be all set to roll) Word document.
- 1-inch margins all around
- Times or Times New Roman font, 12-point
- One tab in front of each paragraph except the first paragraph after a heading (for most but not all publishers); no tab in front of first paragraph after a heading
- NO EXTRA TABS (more on that in a moment)
- ONE space between sentences, not two
- Headings in boldface
- Notations to indicate where photos, illustrations, tables, and other figures should be placed. We use something like this:
There are certainly other parameters, depending on the publisher, type of book, feature set, and so forth, but those are the main ones.
What’s the deal with extra tabs?
I tell you what the deal is with extra tabs. They get in the way!
Notice I said "extra" tabs. Single tabs, as noted above and for other purposes, are fine. It's those double-, triple-, and quadrillion-tabs that mess things up.
It doesn't make any difference what a list or table looks like on the manuscript page; it will all be designed in the final product.