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sample chapters vs. complete manuscript

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I went through the latest SCBWI guide and made note of all of the publishers of children's books that are currently accepting unsolicited submissions.  Several of them now accept electronic submissions.  Most of them request sample chapters or a certain number of pages for a submission of a novel.  But a few still request a complete paper manuscript for novels.  Since they only reply if interested, there is no possibility of having them return the manuscript.  I find myself increasingly concerned at the number of trees dying in vain.  One voice in my mind tells me that if an editor makes it through 30 pages of a novel and wants to keep reading, he or she would use the email address on the first page to ask for more.  The other voice tells me that if I don't follow the editor's published advice exactly, my 30 pages would go straight to the recycle bin and those trees would still have died in vain.  Does anyone have any helpful thoughts on this topic?
#1 - May 24, 2015, 06:21 PM

I have similar concerns, though I'll add in submissions venues I've seen it seems like it's hard tell exactly what format they're wanting is. And whether they prefer double or single space, and how many spaces of indention.

Granted one shouldn't submit a 500 page book as their first book. But even if you were submitting 140 pages (about standard length for middle grade I've heard), it just seems like bad practice to only take full manuscripts and not return it if not interested.:/ Not sure if I have anything else to add.

I'd feel less weird about it, if it were electronic.
#2 - May 24, 2015, 09:25 PM
You can find my stuff at: uggc://plorephyg.bet/~fnenu/oybt.ugzy

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On a positive note, far, far fewer trees need to be used now than before so much went digital, and I believe there are only a handful of publishers that still prefer hard copies of a manuscript. But if you want serious consideration you need to carefully follow the guidelines for requested material. And in reply to the question in Sarah's comment, always double space a manuscript. If it's a query, then single space.  :writing3
#3 - May 25, 2015, 06:54 AM
A Smidgen of Sky (Harcourt 2012)
A Sliver of Sun (book #2)
 A Million Ways Home (Scholastic 2014)
Just Left of Lucky (2018)
 www.diannawinget.com

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Agreeing with Dianna. Always follow the guidelines. Many, many fewer trees are giving it up for our mss. these days, and no reason to think that won't keep going in the right direction.

Along with always double-spacing a ms., use the Tab key to indent.
#4 - May 25, 2015, 08:49 AM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet
www.marciahoehne.com

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I believe that unwanted manuscripts are most likely recycled. But then I kill an awful lot of trees before I finish a manuscript because I like to do most of my revisions on hard copies. With so few places to submit too, I wouldn't let the requirement of a hard copy stop me. If the guilt gets to you, go plant a tree. :running
#5 - May 25, 2015, 09:02 AM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

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FYI, and you probably already know this, but don't rely solely on the SCBWI guide. They do a great job with the info they have, but of course, anytime a guide is published, it is immediately out of date as things change daily. So definitely check out the publishers' websites as well, and you might find some have very recently changed their policies to accept e-submissions. Good luck!
#6 - May 25, 2015, 10:05 AM
LindaBudz
www.lindabudzinski.com

THE BOYFRIEND WHISPERER (2016)
EM & EM (2015)
THE FUNERAL SINGER (2013)

If you submit the manuscript as part of an email (rather than as an attached word file), should you go through and add a line of space between each line of text?  I'm leery of this, because you don't know how the thing will be formatted when the user receives it.
#7 - May 27, 2015, 09:23 AM
SurfYourOwnMind.com, children's creativity blog currently in development.

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For that circumstance, rather than putting space between every line (which would mean ending each line with a hard return, yikes) just put an extra line of space between paragraphs. That's usually the easiest form to read online, anyway.
#8 - May 29, 2015, 05:34 PM
BOUND BY BLOOD AND SAND | Delacorte Press, Fall 2016
www.beckyallenbooks.com | @allreb | beckytext.tumblr.com

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The best thing to do within an email is to remove all formatting by copying the text to Wordpad or Notepad and saving it there as plain text. Then add back the minimum formatting needed in the e-mail: a line space between paragraphs. Spellcheck to verify that Word's standard characters, like smart quotes, have been changed. I usually have to change mine by hand. This is the best way to make sure the agent/editor gets a copy that can be rendered well by any e-mail program. It can be a good idea to send test e-mails to yourself to see how everything looks.
#9 - May 31, 2015, 08:43 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

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It's good to know! Thanks for all the great advice! :)
#10 - August 27, 2015, 02:06 PM

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