I have a problem that’s been keeping me awake at night; it’s called formatting.
For weeks, I’ve been researching, Googling, asking friends, basically bugging everyone I come across with this one question:
- How can I e-mail ten pages of my manuscript into the body of my G-mail account, within messing up the formatting?
Am I the only person with this problem? Not according to my Google searches.
For those of you who say, “Send it as an attachment,” the answer is “NO.”
Agents won’t open attachments.
Then there’s the copy and paste from Word into G-mail. Well, that doesn’t work, because manuscripts need:
- one inch margins all around
- Times new Roman 12-point
- italics, for inner thoughts
- indent first line of paragraph
And guess what happens. All formatting gets messed up when you copy and paste, and then try sending it to yourself and various friends, as a test, and it looks like you’ve had too much to drink.
So I’ve tried to copy and paste into Notepad, which eliminates the hidden codes, and then copy and paste that back into my G-mail, and guess what? I cannot get it double-spaced, I cannot get Times new Roman, and I cannot get the first paragraph indented.
Now if we’re talking a one-page Query letter, that’s not a problem, but imagine a ten or twenty-page manuscript sample! First, it doesn’t look professional, and second, it takes forever.
You might suggest I e-mail straight from Word through Outlook, but quite frankly, I cannot seem to get Outlook to work, since I’ve been using G-mail for all my e-mails. Would using Outlook guarantee the agent receives my twenty pages in the correct format, just like an attachment or a pdf? That’s my question.
If you’re an agent or an editor, I’d love to hear if formatting issues via e-mail are common, and perhaps a reason to instantly reject an e-mail submission. If so, how can writers submitting to you overcome this problem? Can we write two e-mails and put the Query letter in the first, and the requested ten pages, synopsis and bio in the second e-mail as an attachment? That would eliminate formatting problems.
I downloaded Diane O’Connell’s Free E-Book, which I highly recommend called: 50 Ways to Avoid the Rejection Pile. Diane used to work as an editor for Random House and now works as an independent editor and publishing consultant.
I am open to suggestions and solutions. Have you had these problems?