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Writer's Room => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: reed-hilton-eddy on May 31, 2021, 06:39 AM

Title: Manuscript format?
Post by: reed-hilton-eddy on May 31, 2021, 06:39 AM
Hi there,

I am confused (I mostly am.... ) most agents want your manuscript cut and pasted into the query email because they do not want attachments.... but often email does not maintain formatting. That said, what SHOULD the format be for a picture book manuscript? just double space, times roman 12 point font? Any other info would be appreciated.

Thanks
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: Vijaya on May 31, 2021, 07:33 AM
Yes, when I have to paste something in the body of the email, I just double space and use 12-pt TNR.
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: thunderingelephants on May 31, 2021, 07:59 AM
There's conflicting advice on the format.  Some say Times New Roman only, with double spacing. Others say single & either Times or Ariel.
I haven't submitted in a long time & I hate TNR, but I'm not reading it.
Go with your gut feeling& good luck.
TE
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: reed-hilton-eddy on May 31, 2021, 08:08 AM
Have you found that the email formatting removes the spacing?
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: Vijaya on May 31, 2021, 01:31 PM
Thundering, I prefer Georgia, which is rounder than TNR and more pleasing to the eyes. But a serif font is much easier to read for long excerpts than sans serif, so that's what I use.

Reed, I usually have a MS-doc file that I just copy and paste and most of the formatting copies over into the email. Sometimes, it doesn't, and then I just fix it manually in the email. Good luck!
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on May 31, 2021, 06:41 PM
I copy to NotePad or WordPad and save as plain text then cut and paste into email. It's okay to use a blank line to separate paragraphs in email. Use a readable font and size. Remember that how it looks to you is unrelated to how it will look on another email program on another device. But agents and editors know this too. Do the best you can while keeping formatting to a minimum.
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: thunderingelephants on June 01, 2021, 01:33 AM
I found my (very old) book "Writing for Children & Teens" by Cynthea Liu.
She states 12 TNR, but Ariel is acceptable.
Harold Underdown's site might help also.
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: HaroldU on June 02, 2021, 06:16 PM
I found my (very old) book "Writing for Children & Teens" by Cynthea Liu.
She states 12 TNR, but Ariel is acceptable.
Harold Underdown's site might help also.
Indeed, it might. Here is my article on manuscript format: https://www.underdown.org/manuscript-format.htm
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: thunderingelephants on June 03, 2021, 12:39 AM
Just a query: double or single line spacing?
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: HaroldU on June 03, 2021, 05:54 AM
Just a query: double or single line spacing?
As my article says, double spaced is the standard. You may not be able to maintain that in an email, of course.
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: thunderingelephants on June 03, 2021, 06:24 AM
As my article says, double spaced is the standard. You may not be able to maintain that in an email, of course.


That was my understanding, but there is conflicting advice on that, depending on where you look.
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: HaroldU on June 03, 2021, 07:32 AM
That's due to the problem of maintaining formatting in an email. But when it comes to working with an editor, and submitting a file as an attachment, double spaced is expected.
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: A. S. Templeton on June 04, 2021, 11:32 AM
As agencies get their IT security act together, many now are okay with receiving excerpts as .doc/.docx attachments. Most US agents seem however to be stuck in the 20th century with their "pasted only" mindset, whereas most UK agents accept attachments.

In gmail, copy/pasting from Word retains most of the source formatting--indents, line spacing, fonts, italics, etc.--with just a few tweaks needed. Then drafts of queries, synopses, and excerpts can be saved within gmail for later customisation and reuse--huge time-saver.

HOWEVER, many agents have moved to the dreaded querymanager.com submission system. I say "dreaded" because pasting from Word into the querymanager synopsis, query, or excerpt fields mangles or omits altogether the source formatting. Everything is smooshed into an ugly, cramped sans serif font, and the surviving formatting must laboriously be checked, if not redone entirely, wasting huge amounts of a writer's time. Sadly, few agents' querymanager pages accept uploaded document files.

This matters a lot to me because I use different embedded fonts to demarcate between main and fantasy character POVs, plus archaic and rune fonts to add story-relevant flavour and mystery. querymanager.com's forms destroy all that.
Title: Re: Manuscript format?
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on June 04, 2021, 05:44 PM
As agencies get their IT security act together, many now are okay with receiving excerpts as .doc/.docx attachments. Most US agents seem however to be stuck in the 20th century with their "pasted only" mindset, whereas most UK agents accept attachments.

In gmail, copy/pasting from Word retains most of the source formatting--indents, line spacing, fonts, italics, etc.--with just a few tweaks needed. Then drafts of queries, synopses, and excerpts can be saved within gmail for later customisation and reuse--huge time-saver.

HOWEVER, many agents have moved to the dreaded querymanager.com submission system. I say "dreaded" because pasting from Word into the querymanager synopsis, query, or excerpt fields mangles or omits altogether the source formatting. Everything is smooshed into an ugly, cramped sans serif font, and the surviving formatting must laboriously be checked, if not redone entirely, wasting huge amounts of a writer's time. Sadly, few agents' querymanager pages accept uploaded document files.

This matters a lot to me because I use different embedded fonts to demarcate between main and fantasy character POVs, plus archaic and rune fonts to add story-relevant flavour and mystery. querymanager.com's forms destroy all that.

I've had problems with this also. I have a novel with a character's real life and fantasy life. Ideally, the fantasy life would be in another font, or at least italics, to show the character is thinking. But huge swaths of italics in email may not hold. It depends on the program reading it as much as on the one sending it. Very annoying.