When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.
Today’s tip: Submittals must be done right.
When book agents and editors see a manuscript that isn’t double-spaced, they know right away that the author hasn’t done the basic groundwork needed. That likely means that their mss will be far from polished–too far to be worth the agent’s time.
Don’t blare that message to the person you desperately need to take you seriously. Follow your mom’s advice: Put your best foot forward every time you’re in public. In this case, ‘public’ is the eyes of the person who holds your future in your hands.
Here are a few simple rules:
- Double-space the mss. The Query letter can be single-spaced, but not your submittal
- Address the agent by name, not ‘Dear Sir/Madame’. Take the time to go to their website and get a name.
- Keep the Query to one page. If they want more, they’ll ask.
- 12-point font is standard and Courier or Times New Roman. Don’t try to be fancy or slip by with font size 11. They’ll notice.
- ‘SASE’ means ‘self-addressed stamped envelope’. Send one if they request one.
- Have one-inch margins.
That’s it. That’s formatting. Now be as creative as you can about selling your story.
–Click to have Writer’s Tips delivered to your email.