Writer Q&As: Submitting Manuscripts to Publishers & Agents

What is the best mode of packaging a manuscript for an agent or publisher? Should I use Word, Microsoft Publisher, or a PDF? How far do you need to go in terms of making sure the margins, spaces between paragraphs, etc. are uniform in style? [Ann Graham Walker]

It’s crucial to prepare your manuscript exactly as the agent or publisher requires.

Usually there is detailed information on an agent or publisher’s website about exactly how to prepare you submission. These guidelines vary. For example, some publishers require a full manuscript, others only a summary, some want only a sample chapter, and some want a certain number of pages. If the guidelines are not detailed enough, contact them directly and ask them to inform you. For general guidelines go to https://www.writersunion.ca/content/getting-published

Follow each publisher and agent’s submission guidelines carefully: this shows social courtesy and professional respect. If we don’t, we have a strike against us before the manuscript is even read.

Standardizing submissions makes it much easier for the acquisition editors or agents to read, assess and compare the manuscripts they are interested in. They won’t be distracted by strange fonts (use Times Roman or what they request) or jam-packed pages (don’t go over their stated word or page limit by putting too many words on a page and not following their line spacing requirements). The more attractive, clean and professional your manuscript looks, the more effortless it is to read, the more they can concentrate on what you want them to: the writing itself.

Posted by: VMI/Betsy Warland

Posted by: Lindsay Glauser

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