Thursday, March 25, 2010

Follow-Up to Submitting a Partial

There were a lot of questions/comments on my post about Submitting a Partial, and rather than have my answers get lost in the comments section I thought I’d address them in a follow-up post.

what about partial submissions ie., to publishers? am curious how that works

Partial submissions to publishers should be made in the same way as you submit partials to agents. Assuming the material has been requested, you should first read the publisher’s submission guidelines and follow those. If there are no guidelines, you can send the material in the way I described in the first post.

if sending via email should the document itself be Word compatible or PDF? And if it is Word compatible, should it be "read only" or otherwise locked?

I tend to recommend Word compatible, but I think a PDF would work as well. I know that Kindles accept both; I’m not sure about other ereaders and that might make a difference. I don’t think it makes a difference if the file is “read only.” Your concern was that the agent might accidentally open the doc and wreak “unintentional havoc with a few accidental keystrokes.” I just don’t see that happening. Honestly, I’ve never checked, but read-only might limit Amazon’s ability to translate the files into Kindle, so I think sending it Word compatible without locking it might be your best bet.

when you say "attach", do you mean quite literally an attachment? Or pasted into the body of the email?

I mean literally attach as an attachment. That way I can forward the doc to my Kindle. If you send it in the body of the email I would have to read it as an email.

if we put our cover letter as the first page of the requested material (for Kindles and e-readers), then the actual front page of the manuscript will have headers and page numbers on it, which it shouldn't have. The front page becomes the second page of the document with the headers and page numbers. Doesn't that look unprofessional? When snail-mailing this is no problem, but I always put my new cover letter and copied query in the email, and then the attachment.

It doesn’t look unprofessional because it’s what the agent asked for. Here’s the thinking: I open the email and I want a quick reminder not just that I’ve requested your material, but of what your material is and therefore why I’ve requested it. That entices me to open the attachment. I then send the attachment to my Kindle. Unfortunately it will take me a day or two to get to it and all it shows on my Kindle is the file name. So when I open the file on my Kindle I want to see your letter again, which, again, gives me a quick reminder that I’ve requested your material and why (your blurb again). Years ago headers on the letter might have looked unprofessional, but with most agents reading on ereaders that’s no longer the case.

I recently rec'd a Email partial request which asked me to put everything in a Word doc attachment and snail mail it. I assume it was a typo... When I checked the website guidelines, it sounded like they preferred partials snailed, so that's what I did. I didn't want to reply and ask, but in cases like this, would it be appropriate to email and ask? Or did I do right by just picking one way?

My advice would be to do exactly as you did, just send it. Don’t get too caught up in second-guessing yourself. You got a request, which is fabulous, and you got it into the agent’s hands, which is the point. I think you did the right thing by checking the guidelines and doing exactly what she asked for. She said snail mail. That’s what she meant.

All of this is an ATTACHMENT, correct? We get permission to send as an attachment at this point, I'm guessing. I would hate to get it flushed.

Yes, this is how you would send material as a requested attachment. Do not send it as an attachment unless the agent, or the agent’s guidelines, specifically say to attach. If you are sending snail mail the only difference is that one query letter would suffice. You don’t need to send two.

Hope that helps.



Kimber An said...

My empathy to all.

All these bazillion different ways of doing things we run into in Queryland can really get our braincells in a twist.

Thanks, Bookends!

Anonymous said...

What about Microsoft Works word processor (the one that usually comes free with your computer)?

Is that Word compatible?

Anonymous said...

FYI in answer to one of the questions, I have a Sony reader, and I much prefer receiving Word docs to PDFs. In a PDF, if I want to alter the size of the text, the reader lacks the capability to re-flow the text normally in the same way it can do with a Word document. Paragraphs are totally destroyed. It's really annoying. Usually when I get PDFs I do not bother to read them from my Sony.

Phoenix said...

Re: headers on cover letters -- if you're using Word or most any Word-compatible software, look into formatting using section breaks. They allow you to control exactly which pages display header information, what info is displayed, and how the numbering is handled.

Section breaks also allow you to add a synopsis at the end of the sample pages, give it a different header (adding "synopsis" to the info, e.g.), and start the page numbering over at page 1 if it's a multipage synopsis.

Anonymous said...

Because I'm a formatting dork--you actually can do a "different" header on the first page (so it can be blank) and have the numbering begin on page 2. So if having the header on your query page really bugs you, it can be fixed in Word. Yes, I stressed over this for my first submissions, and yes, it took way too long :)

Rich Dailey said...

Tip: Google Docs allows you to download your document in PDF or Word format. It's free, and you have access to it wherever you have Internet access. Over the past couple years I've migrated from writing with Word 2000 to Google Docs, and love it.

Rich Dailey

John Baron said...

Thanks for the explanation of why you'd want to include a copy of your query letter in your attachment. I appreciate learning why, and knowing why makes it that much easier to remember, too.

Stephanie L. McGee said...

I will bookmark this for the eventual day I reach this point. Thank you for all the information you provide here on the blog.

Lorenda said...

Rich - question for you. I also use Google Docs, since I can access my stuff from anywhere, but I noticed that when I uploaded my Word 2007 docs, the paragraph formatting was horrible. I experienced the same thing going from GoogleDocs back to word. Do you have this issue? Any suggestions?

Rich Dailey said...

@Lorenda - I have not uploaded a Word DOC file to Google docs yet, so not sure how that works. My experience has been downloading a document created in Google Docs in Word format, and I've not had any problems with these files in Word 2000...Rich