When I got the bright idea to write a novel, I never knew there was a thing called “manuscript format” or how to calculate word counts.
When I saw the reference to manuscript format on an agent’s blog, I did what any newbie would do: a Google search. Different sites should advise the same industry standards, right? Wrong. Here are just a few conflicts:
- Where to put the word count and how you found the agent in a query. (So far, majority favor putting at the bottom; start with a hook).
- I’ve seen instructions to CAPITALIZE the first use of a character’s name in a synopsis, but have also read agent blogs where this is criticized.
- Courier vs. Times New Roman font for a manuscript.
The differences are minor, but are a big deal to an inexperienced writer who doesn’t want to irritate an agent before they even read the pathetic query that took 6 months to write!
And there’s another thing…have you read some of the literary agents’ websites regarding the submission process? It reminds me of childhood, when I used to do the American Family & Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes entries for my parents. If I didn’t affix the stamps in the proper locations, I could kiss the ten million dollars goodbye. I must’ve done them all wrong because Ed McMahon never showed up with the balloons and check that took 3 people to carry.
See how well that worked for me? Please don’t let me forget to put my book title in the subject line of my query email….