Thursday, December 11, 2008

Because Looks Do Count

No, I'm not writing about hot authors, though  it will never hurt you to be a hot author.  I nearly lost my lunch when I saw an actual video of Kathy Reichs, author of the BONES novels upon which the TV show is based.  Now, I can't say I find the actress who plays Bones that hot (her boss and Angela are by far better-looking), but she is waaaay better-looking than Kathy Reichs and I just find it all very amusing.  Maybe some day I can write a novel that gets turned into a TV show and Brad Pitt can play me.  Yeah, right.  I mean, what would people think when they saw the show.  I hear them now.  "Um, Andy, is that supposed to be you?  I didn't realize you had such rippled abs...."

Okay, now that I have alienated one New York Times best-selling author, let me get to the point:  I mean the looks of your proposal or sample chapter.  Folks, I have manuscript preparation guidelines on my website right here:

So why do I constantly get single-spaced material?  It gets rejected without a reading.

And why do I get 1.5 spaced Times Roman fonts, when clearly I want double-spaced Courier Dark or Courier New or Franklin Gothic Book?  Now, using the wrong font won't automatically get you rejected, but it does make your material harder to read and thus I may pass over it in favor of reading something easier, which could delay when you hear from me.

Next, please don't double-space between paragraphs in proposals.  I get these proposals that are so much longer than they need to be because the authors are putting in double spaces (which means four spaces if they are using double-spacing) or triples or even quads between paragraphs and sections.  Here's a tip:  use a # sign to indicate a line break.  Nothing more.  That's all I need.

I am intersted in good writers.  I am not looking for you to desktop publish your book using Adobe InDesign or some other fancy publishing package.  Use the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid).  Plain, vanilla formatting lets me worry about the words on the page and not the margins or anything else.

So, please follow those guidelines.  I promise you that no one in publishing will ever get a manuscript formatted using those guidelines and complain about the formatting.


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