1. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    A question about fonts...

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Iain Sparrow, Dec 15, 2016.

    I'd like to know what fonts are typically used, and preferred for fantasy fiction, and translate well to the various media a manuscript would be exported to. I'm currently using a hybrid Baskerville font, in fact an authentic font for the time period of this story. I'd like to know from the standpoint of an Editor or Literary Agent, or as a reader, what fonts are acceptable and easiest on the eyes.
    This is the actual font I'm using: https://creativemarket.com/GLC/790673-1785-GLC-Baskerville-PRO-OTF
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Editors or agents will often have submission guidelines, and those often include fonts. If they don't have guidelines, or the guidelines don't mention fonts, use standard manuscript format.
     
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  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Here's an article on standard manuscript format at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America web site:

    http://www.sfwa.org/2005/01/manuscript-format/

    ETA: The font you are using is cool, but as a general rule agents and editors don't want to see that sort of thing.
     
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  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Those guidelines are from 2005, and seem to be assuming a printed-out MS, which is pretty rare these days. I agree that a standard font should be used, and Courier is a reasonable one, although I think TNR has more-or-less taken over as the default. But a lot of the other stuff in that post, like drawing a squiggly line under bolded words and writing things in the margin, is outdated.
     
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  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Yes, fonts and margins only. For SF/F markets, I still use the standard font and margin guidelines from that article unless a market asks for something else in their guidelines. So far no complaints about the formatting, either for sold or rejected stories. I liked standard format when I was reading a lot of submissions, except that I asked that writers use actual italics or other formatting so that the words appeared in the manuscript exactly as they should in the final product. This made sense because the publishing was all electronic and that made it much easier.
     
  6. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    So Comic Sans is not the standard. Got it. :supergrin:
     
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  7. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    My opinion is that everything is digital these days, no matter what. If you can't find guidelines, stick to the most basic digital fonts, that way it won't change depending on another user's font catalog. Think long term.
     
  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Here are some thoughts by Vonda McIntyre, a well-known SF author, and in consultation with some of the top markets/editors:

    http://www.sfwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/Mssprep.pdf

    That one is from 2009, so a little newer than the above, but may still have bits that aren't entirely applicable to a wholly-electronic process. It is directed toward hard-copy submissions, but I've seen plenty of markets who still ask for a standard format for electronic docs.
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Lastly (sorry) here is a link currently provided to a "standard format" requested by one of the top paying and best known markets in SF/F:

    http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html
     
  10. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    I like Times New Roman. Call me old fashioned I guess.
     
  11. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    More likely new-fashioned - one of the advantages of Courier was that it made it easier to estimate word count based on the number of pages; but that's not at all necessary with a digital submission, so there's more room for non-monospaced fonts like TNR.
     
  12. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    There are still quite a few short story markets that seem to want printed submissions - I have no idea why, unless they're just trying to discourage indiscriminate submissions.

    But the OP was asking about agents, so probably we're looking at a novel, in which case I agree - the submission will almost certainly be digital.
     
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    I think that's it, mostly.
     
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  14. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    That is it exactly. It is how you force authors to edit before submitting. Someone that sees a prompt and bangs out a story in 15 minutes is not going to then print, fold, address an envelope, put paper in envelope, buy stamp, stick stamp, mail envelope.
    The only people that do that are people with pride in what they write; they aren't just looking to submit.
     
  15. Malisky

    Malisky Fortune cookie Contributor

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    Comic sans are used today only from political parties. It's the font which they prefer when it comes to suggestions.
     
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  16. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    @Malisky Well that certainly explains a lot. :)
     
  17. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    Thanks.
    I'll save the SFWA link and use it as a reference. I'm using Storyist and its default, 'novel' settings are pretty close to most of the guidelines.
     
  18. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    It's not old fashion, it's out of fashion.:)
    Some of the websites I visited actually said not to use TNR. The reason I like fonts such as Baskerville and Garamond, they have an organic feel, nicely rounded, serif'd just right, with pleasant italics. Hey, am I describing fonts... or aged bourbon?
     
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  19. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Were these websites for self-publishers? Because that's a totally different issue. When you're submitting to agents/publishers, your book (if accepted) is going to be designed by a professional, who will pick an appropriate font as one of the design choices. But if you're self-publishing, you are the book designer, so you'll be the one selecting the font.

    For submission to agents/publishers, keep it simple; for self-publishing, make it beautiful.
     
  20. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    Yeah, that much I at least understand. I'm new to this so I'll keep learning as I go along.
    This book will be illustrated in a very classical style, similar to the work Charles Robinson did for The Secret Garden.
    http://www.nocloo.com/charles-robinson-the-secret-garden-1911/#gallery/11222/4002

    So I have other questions regarding that aspect of it...
     
  21. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    And if anyone is interested, this is what I'm going with... (ditched the artsy font for something acceptable and classic, Adobe Caslon Pro)

    [​IMG]
     
  22. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Yes, it's lovely, but I believe that this diverges substantially from manuscript format. So drastically that I think that the format alone could get it rejected. Others will know better, but I feel that you're not quite understanding the purposes of manuscript format.
     
  23. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    If this is the design for the final product, I think that's fine. If you're submitting to a publisher or agency in this format I agree with @ChickenFreak that it is a mistake.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  24. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    A lot of agents want the first pages cut and pasted into an e-mail, so the formatting will be lost anyway, in which case - this isn't a big deal one way or another!
     
  25. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    I'm using two books as a sort of template of what, I assume anyhow, is acceptable for a fantasy novel.
    The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman, and Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War by Clive Barker. What you see above is almost a dead ringer for formatting and appearance, to the Abarat hardbound edition. As this story will be accompanied with illustrations, both full color and sketches, it's going to be a visual experience. The text font, margins, indents, chapter headings, etc... I've just copied what I'm finding in the books on my shelves. It can't be that far removed from industry standards.
    At any rate, the final draft will be sent to a professional editor before moving up the food chain. She'll have the final say on what those folks see.
     

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