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formatting sample pages for queries : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

formatting sample pages for queries

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
ece
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formatting sample pages for queries

Postby ece » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:35 pm

I've read different things, from different places, and need advice.

What is the proper way to format sample pages when you're asked to submit them as part of a query?

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MookyMcD
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Re: formatting sample pages for queries

Postby MookyMcD » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:41 pm

Well, all manuscript pages should be formatted similarly: Solid font (arial, TNR, there are a lot of opinions on this, but any you could use in a business letter should do), double spaced, double hard-return between section breaks, and the first page of each chapter starts (again, opinions differ) either 1/3 or 1/2 way down the page.

In an e-mail query, you can paste your MS pages in (that format) after the query itself, without the title page or headder or page number or any of that. But I advise putting the book title, then chapter name or number, then paste it in.

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DrG2
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Re: formatting sample pages for queries

Postby DrG2 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:07 pm

I've never seen anyone suggest Arial, though I have seen suggestions that any "normal" font is OK. The only ones I've seen suggested are TNR (by far most often), Times, or Courier (though this is mainly for speculative fiction). one inch margins, 12 pt font. double spaced. Slug line at top of each page with title, author, and page number.

ece
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Re: formatting sample pages for queries

Postby ece » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:54 pm

MookyMcD Posts: 1113Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:45 amLocation: Boise, Idaho




Re: formatting sample pages for queries

Postby MookyMcD » Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:41 pm

Well, all manuscript pages should be formatted similarly: Solid font (arial, TNR, there are a lot of opinions on this, but any you could use in a business letter should do), double spaced, double hard-return between section breaks, and the first page of each chapter starts (again, opinions differ) either 1/3 or 1/2 way down the page.

In an e-mail query, you can paste your MS pages in (that format) after the query itself, without the title page or headder or page number or any of that. But I advise putting the book title, then chapter name or number, then paste it in.

http://michaeljmcdonagh.wordpress.com/


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DrG2 Posts: 1386Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:13 pm

Re: formatting sample pages for queries

Postby DrG2 » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:07 pm

I've never seen anyone suggest Arial, though I have seen suggestions that any "normal" font is OK. The only ones I've seen suggested are TNR (by far most often), Times, or Courier (though this is mainly for speculative fiction). one inch margins, 12 pt font. double spaced. Slug line at top of each page with title, author, and page number.




would you both say the start of paragraphs should be indented five spaces, title and chapters centered? It may seem like a dumb question, but I've read another way, and collecting opinion - majority will rule the day.

Laycrew
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Re: formatting sample pages for queries

Postby Laycrew » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:25 am

I'm going to agree with all of DrG's comments. I have seen TNR most often as the choice font. The font mentioning Arial is the only thing I disagree with Mooky.

Yes to 5 spaces but I just move the top arrow in the margin at the top of the page to that spot and it will indent as you write. Title centered but not sure if it really matters if chapter headers need to be, but if someone else knows better, maybe follow their advice but I haven't been rejected for having my chapter headers in the wrong place.

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DrG2
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Re: formatting sample pages for queries

Postby DrG2 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:41 am

I did suggest the OP research standard manuscript format before. This should have some good info, but note that Shunn's guidelines are directed towards speculative fiction primarily.

https://www.google.com/search?q=standar ... &source=hp

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MookyMcD
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Re: formatting sample pages for queries

Postby MookyMcD » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:45 am

FWIW, the first query I ever sent (before I was really ready to query) had three, single-spaced chapters attached, per guidelines, with no thought to formatting whatsoever (although I do everything in TNR, anyway). It resulted in a full request, which I responded to immediately, sending the entire, single spaced manuscript with no spacing at the beginning of chapters, no header, or anything beyond a hard return for the chapter and a page number at the bottom. And that, horribly unformatted manuscript was read in its entirety and the agent put me on a revise and resubmit.

So, while I agree we should do everything we can to put our manuscripts in the most usable form possible, and there's no reason to start with any strikes against us, when all is said and done, it's really about the quality of the writing and little else.

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mammamaia
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Re: formatting sample pages for queries

Postby mammamaia » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:12 am

ALL 6 e-book collections of my work are FREE...email me with "want free books" in subject line and include a message.

FREE writing help/mentoring: http://www.saysmom.com

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updog
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Re: formatting sample pages for queries

Postby updog » Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:37 am

Always, always, always read the guidelines, but when in doubt, or when the guidelines just say "standard manuscript format", use Shunn's suggestions.
"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



James A. Ritchie
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Re: formatting sample pages for queries

Postby James A. Ritchie » Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:34 am


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