1. Isoul

    Isoul New Member

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    Formatting of Query Letters?

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Isoul, Sep 25, 2019.

    I've scoured the ends of every horizon and cannot find for the life of me either standard formatting for a query letter, nor commonly requested formatting for manuscripts that might be sent with them. Does anyone have any insight on this seemingly important detail?
     
  2. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I've moved your post here, as this is the forum for it, as well as the forum where you might get your answers. Cheers!
     
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  3. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I can't help you on the query letter because I publish my work independently. But here's a good source for manuscript formatting for submission: https://www.shunn.net/format/novel.html.
     
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  4. Isoul

    Isoul New Member

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    Thank you! Though I am a bit shocked that Times New Roman font is not being used? The font the example is using seems rather hard for the eyes to digest (Something I would imagine agents would disapprove of)
     
  5. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Use Times New Roman. I didn't click on the link, but always use Times New Roman, 12 point, double spaced, unless specified otherwise by the agent or publisher. Standard formatting, too. Stick with the basics. Same with the actual MS. They will tell you if they want things differently, but really that's the least important part of a query. Most of the time your query letter is pasted into an email. Then they'll let you know if they want to see more. Agents and publishers can vary on how they what things so always read the guidelines. If there is nothing about the formatting in the guidelines, it's probably not all that important. Just don't do anything weird.

    I've noticed that more publishers seem to be working in google docs. Changes and comments are right there, and if they request changes from you, those are clearly marked as well. It's a lot easier than sending comments and requesting changes. So, if your MS is requested, I think you should still email it as a word doc. or docx. or however they want it, but don't be surprised if things move over to google docs if they want to work with you. Has anyone else noticed this or worked with a publisher or agent via google docs?
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  6. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Shunn recommends sending manuscripts in Courier because it's a monospaced font, which makes it much easier to read, find errors, and estimate print space. It can be off putting if you're not used to it, but I kind of prefer it just for working in. It used to be much more common when actual paper manuscripts were being sent back and forth, but it's easy enough to change on digital documents. Either way, always research the agents you're planning on querying. Most have agencies with websites that have submissions guidelines. Some have specific preferences and instructions that are there not only because it makes their job easier, but because it tips them off as to whether or not you've actually take the time to read and research.
     
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  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I hate Courier. I think I would be turned off by an agent who wanted that font. Kidding. But I do hate the font.
     
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  8. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Try working in it for a couple of years, then every time you come across proportional fonts they look irredeemably wonky.
     
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  9. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Are you still writing in it? What made you spend years in that dreaded font? LOL.
     
  10. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    I honestly just find it far easier to read over long periods of time and, when editing, little things like missed tags in blocks of dialog just stand out way more than they do in Times. Plus I find word count is more consistent when estimating, so yeah, not pretty, but more functional for how I work.
     
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  11. Isoul

    Isoul New Member

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    Thanks! Both your insights were very useful. I'll try the courier font out for another project and see how things go... haha
     
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  12. oreopaw

    oreopaw New Member

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    I've looked at a ton of queries too and they all seem to be completely different from each other. Some sights say to talk about yourself, some say not to, some say to give a really detailed description of your book, some say only a couple lines... what I've taken from it all is that there is no standard format! My plan is just to write a query and post it here for criticism, then work on it until I like it. In this business, there's no formula for a perfect query that will get you the agent every time.
     
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  13. Zachary Phoenix

    Zachary Phoenix Member

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    If you're still looking for info on this, go to Queryshark. It's a blog dedicated entirely to query letters. A professional literary agent (the Queryshark) has hundreds of query letters posted, with critiques, advice, insight into what most agents are looking for, etc. I believe the Shark is actually Janet Reid at FinePrint Literary agency. It's quite helpful to those in the query trenches.
     
  14. Isoul

    Isoul New Member

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    Hey Zachary, I actually was going to make another post about specifically query shark but I see you've renewed the topic here! (Many thanks). I am actually very confused about query shark. The site barely seems to use any recent examples for query letters (and from my understanding the industry's needs are going to change). Additionally, it appears that most of the examples and critiques given are for specifically the synopsis of a story, and not the actual query letter itself (ex: it does not address subject line in email, introduction, or really anything related to closing said material). It seems to strictly talk about gauging the interest of the agent from summary. Though, EVERYWHERE I see people bring up the query shark, I understand there has to be something I'm missing here.
     
  15. Steve Hill

    Steve Hill New Member

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    Agreed. I've tried searching queryshark and I'm personally having trouble navigating it.
     
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