Formatting your manuscript to industry standards is a must-do if you’re submitting your novel to an agent. If you’re a self-publisher, you’ll score major points with your editor and formatter by sending a clean file.
When you want your work taken seriously, it should look as though it deserves that respect. You want the publishing professionals you work with to be able to focus on the story and the words, not flinching at how painfully small the type is or how tired their index finger is from scrolling through production-sized layouts.
You may have dreamed of the way you’ve always wanted your book to look in print, but your manuscript isn’t a book just yet. It’s not time for it to look pretty; it’s time to be clean and functional for the next people in line who have to work with it.