Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Putting it together - formatting.

Okay we’ve got the dreaded synopsis all finished and polished up; we’ve found a publisher (following the great advice of Madelyn) not what?  The next step to sending this is of course reformatting according to the publisher’s guidelines.  You want the manuscript to be laid out the way the editors want it to be.  If they want Times New Roman 12pt, double spaced, no indents at the start of paragraphs and one inch margins with no blank lines after scene breaks, than that’s exactly how you need to do it.
Make sure you send it in the format they prefer as well.  In most cases this is DOC or RTF, a simple ‘save as’ in your writing program takes care of that.
This is a tedious process, I know, but a very necessary one.  The submissions editor will be constantly distracted from what they are reading if they are stopping to grumble about a writer that can’t follow simple instruction.  I have done some submission reading and it is really hard to follow a plot when one chapter is double spaced with perfect indentation and then the next is single spaced with no margins at all.  I’m sure the writer was wrestling with the reformatting, and I understand that part having done that at few times myself – but will the editor understand when they have many submissions to get through?
Another way to grasp what I’m saying is, if you ordered a burger with no ketchup, lettuce or mustard and asked for the salad instead of fries and upon getting home and opening the bag you found french fries and a burger with only ketchup, lettuce and mustard on it ... how likely are you to enjoy eating it?
Follow the guidelines.


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