Thursday, May 20, 2010

Not to be a bother, but could you follow the formatting guidelines?

Today I actually rejected two sample chapters in a row because they weren't double-spaced.  Yes, as in I didn't actually read them because, well, it hurts to read single-spaced material.

So, not to be a bother, but could you follow the formatting guidelines?  These poor folks submitted in November 2009, only to be rejected unread because their material was poorly formatted.



Mary McDonald said...

I have to say that I've yet to find a way to copy and paste from Word to gmail without losing my double spacing. I tried everything--even manually spacing, and then sending it to friends to test, but it lost the formatting every time. I tried different email accounts--same thing. The one email that kept it formatted, went bust a few months ago. Of course, I tried switching to rich text, plain text, and anything else I could think of. I literally spent hours trying to format my submissions. I don't even recall if I submitted to you, but if mine was one that you deleted, just know that it wasn't due to lack of effort.

Most agents want the sample chapter in the body of the email. I've read blogs of some other agents who said not to sweat the formatting of the sample chapter in the email. More than one chapter gets a bit long, and I can't recall if I've ever pasted three chapters into an email.

If it's an attached copy, I can totally understand your frustration though.

Andrew Zack said...

These were hard-copy submissions, not emails.


CKHB said...

Not to be a bother, but if you're reading sample chapters from November 2009, does that mean my sample chapters got lost somewhere along the way? I sent mine in July 2009.

In addition, you kindly confirmed by email (in November) that you had indeed received my materials, so I know that they arrived.

Thank you.

Andrew Zack said...


Without a name and a title, it's impossible for me to respond specifically, but I believe I've responded to all sample chapters dated prior to November 2009.


Andrew said...

I'm about to submit a graphic novel script to agents. I chose to work to Dark Horse script specifications, which do not specify that the manuscript should be in double spacing - I chose these because Dark Horse are the only publishers I can find who specifically state their script requirements.

I have chosen to put the script in single line format, although as it is a script rather than a novel it includes many spaces between lines (usually between lines of dialogue and panel descriptions).

Would you reject a graphic novel manuscript because of this formatting?

Andrew Zack said...

I see very, very few graphic novel scripts, but the key word is "script." A script for a graphic novel or movie is not the same as a novel or nonfiction manuscript. Therefore, the formatting requirements are different.


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