Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Why Formatting Matters

I see a lot of different submissions come in. I see a lot of different approaches that writers use when formatting their manuscripts. For many of these authors, they truly believe that the formatting is not an issue. In the end, it is all about the story. While this is indeed partially true, what they fail to recognize is that the formatting editors and agents request in their submissions really does matter. And, what is worse, this might be the reason the author is being rejected.

When editors and agents request a specific format for submissions they are doing so, not because they think it is a great hoop to make readers jump through. It all comes down to how they read the submissions and the manuscripts. We all read submissions differently and it is crucial that you take the time to review exactly how each of us reads projects.

For example, here at Greyhaus, you can submit stories digitally to me two different ways. The first is to use the form that I have on my website. The second is to send only a query letter to me. I am pretty clear on this because my email is set up with a reading pane. I want to see that information without having to dig through everything, or opening up emails beyond the reading pane, or even reading the attachment where you have posted your generic query letter.

If I do have you send additional material I have a specific way I want you to label the files. I know you have your files labeled a particular way on your computer, but, when I read your stories, I transfer them over to my e-reader and have these sorted by titles. In this way, I keep things together. When you embed the information inside the email message, it means I cannot get to your story immediately and can only do that when I am actually sitting in front of my computer.

One editor I work with always wants all of the contact information in a specific format on the first page of the manuscript and the synopsis. Why? So she can call or email any time directly from her phone or e-reader, where she is reviewing the project.

Even in the case of a synopsis, everyone is looking for something different. Again, there are reasons for this.

The point of this is simply. Follow the directions. These are here for a reason.

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