Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Fonts

When it comes to writing queries and formatting manuscripts, authors can make themselves crazy obsessing over font size and type, how to figure word count (which I previously covered), and how many pages a synopsis should be.

Stop! Please stop.

Stop obsessing and start thinking. When you get an email or a letter, or if you are getting hundreds of them, what is a comfortable font for you to read and what is a comfortable size? Usually about 12 pt in a standard Times or Courier. The same fonts everyone else uses.

That’s all you need to consider. Also consider the pain and suffering (small violins playing, please) that I have to endure when I receive emails like this:
Hello Miss Faust. Thank you so much for considering my book. Lost Days is a historical, although some people might consider it more hysterical, romance about the lost days of a New York City high society girl during the turn of the century. While traveling with her companion, young Lucy Cavendash falls from the carriage and bumps her head. My story reveals the truth about what happened during those lost days.
Remember, keep in simple.

—Jessica

11 comments:

Demon Hunter said...

Jessica,
I had a discussion just last night with a writer I didn't even know, but I had to help him out. He wrote his novel in 12pt. New Times Roman; no problem, but he thought it was more professional to send it out single-spaced!!! I almost fainted. He knew NOTHING about the industry. I gave him links to all agent blogs and some other writer info. and websites. I thought thta all writers had enough clues because of the Internet; I guess not. LOL.

Bella Andre said...

Actually, I think the blurb sounds kind of interesting! ;-)

BookEnds, LLC said...

the font that was used didn't come through in the blog I'm afraid. It was really illegible. I had to ask the writer to resend since I couldn't even read it.

Anonymous said...

I think one of the reasons we obsess over fonts and margins and format is because that's one of the few things we can control. So much of the rest of the business seems to be beyond our influence. It's nice to have one safe, easy area where we can think, well, at least I can make sure I get this part right. (And yes, I realize we have total control over the quality of our work, but that's HARD, LOL!)

chris

Lesley said...

I totally understand why someone might worry about the length of a synopsis. One person will ask for one page while another will say as long as it doesn't exceed fifty-five. That is a pretty huge difference.

I sat long and hard contemplating whether or not to email you about synopsis length and in the end decided you had enough email and submissions to read and went ahead and sent my short and sweet synopsis. I figure why waste words if you can get to the core of something faster. Now I just hope that was the right decision and you enjoy it! :-D

adrienne said...

Sorry, could you explain what was wrong with that email. It seemed concise and had a sense of humour, and the premise of the novel sounded kind of interesting.

BookEnds, LLC said...

there was nothing wrong with what was said, it was the font used, which blogger messed up when I posted it. The font used was unreadable

ultimately the post wasn't as effective as it could have been.

spyscribbler said...

It happens! I can imagine the font, though! :-)

You were very nice to give the author a second chance. I hear lots of agents would just hit delete.

Anonymous said...

I obsess over what font to use for email submissions where everything is embedded in the email.

Times and Courier are great for paper submission, but research shows san-serif is easier on the eyes onscreen. In that case, Arial 12 pt is my preference because it's universally available (Verdana is actually one of the best, but not everyone has it installed). But will the editor/agent print out the submission or read it directly from the screen? Will using the easier-on-the-eyes onscreen font then tick off the person whose eyes I'm trying to save?

Do you still use Times or Courier for chapters, synopses and queries all embedded in emails????

adrienne said...

Ah I thought there was something more to it than meets the eye. Pity the font didn't translate.

Shelli Stevens said...

Why would someone use an unreadable font? I don't even throw that on my friends, let alone an agent :)