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Is there a set layout to send manuscripts to publishers????

(13 Posts)
2wildbabies Tue 31-Aug-04 22:30:55

Hello everyone

I have a children's story and a novel ready to be sent off......but I don't really know what format they should be sent in. Can anyone help out??

What should I do with the children's story. I have drawings to go with it, but don't know how to lay it out.

Take care T x

anorak Tue 31-Aug-04 23:16:10

Hi, 2wild. If you go to your library and look in the literature section, there are books that tell you this kind of stuff.

anorak Tue 31-Aug-04 23:16:34

By the way, we all want to hear about it!!

lavender1 Tue 31-Aug-04 23:23:16

wow that's clever lady you

lavender1 Tue 31-Aug-04 23:30:59

actually I was on a website today which included literary agents....and included lots of things like novels to write, etc it did include publishing books...if you like I can let you know this site (put it this way there was a business 5 miles from here when I asked for it) am not very good at attaching web pages which is why I ask first just incase!.....please ask!!!

ggglimpopo Tue 31-Aug-04 23:31:45

Message withdrawn

prettycandles Wed 01-Sep-04 14:23:13

I used to work for a publisher a few centuries ago, and IIRC they prefer to receive manuscripts from agents rather than from authors, but many, especially the smaller ones, will still read manuscripts sent in by authors.

The accepted format is typed on A4, one side only, double or one-and-a-half line spacing. 10 or 12 point in a standard font. My personal preference is for 10pt Arial or 12pt TNR. Not critical but helpful, is to right-justify the text and indicate new paragraphs by indenting the first line. Start chapters on a new page.

Run off several copies if you can (use a print shop, it's the cheapest way) because the ms will get tatty, and will show any reader that you have submitted it unsuccessfully to other publishers.

If it's a large novel, then you might find it cheaper (and the publishers often prefer it) if you send only the first few chapters.

I don't remember what preferences there are over the binding, but if the document is relatively short (eg only a few chapters) then a hole punched through the top left corner and a ring or treasury tag threaded through is fine. If it's thicker, then you'll need something more substantial, like a soft ring binder. Try to keep it as unbulky and as easy-to-handle as possible. The title page and back cover should be of light card or slightly stiffer paper for this reason.

In your covering letter, DO NOT SAY '...enclosed for your perusal.' Every editor I have known hated that phrase!

This is my experience, but it may be out-of-date given new technology. It was only 10-15 years ago, but since then computers are so much more common, that it's possible publishers may now prefer ms on cd.

Good luck!!

2wildbabies Wed 01-Sep-04 22:04:01

Hi all

Thanks for your advice prettycandles I am sending it straight to publishers....not heard great things about agents, but I could be wrong.

lavender1 I would love to see that website....please post it.

I've never sent a manuscript before, so I am really nervous about sending it off. I imagine everyone feels the same way.

ttfn, T x

MissTuesday Tue 05-Oct-04 15:45:32

hi there

so great that you have written a children's story AND a novel, where on earth do you find the time.
I currently work for a publisher (in Human Resources though). I know that agented manuscripts are definitely given priority so it would be worth getting hold of the current copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook. They list all the relevant agents who deal with each particular area etc. Having said that though, some gems are found in the wretchedly named 'slush pile' that every editor has beside his or her desk so it would still be worth sending them to publishers. A good tip though is to always make sure you send them to the right person. Take the time to find out who the relevant children's editor is in the publishing house otherwise it might just get lost.
As a general rule, a proposal and 3 sample chapters is the way to go for novels, I'm not sure about children's stories but I could easily find out for you.

Good luck

lisalisa Thu 28-Oct-04 15:13:42

Message withdrawn

heymissy Tue 16-Nov-04 20:15:10

Hi there

Agents have their benefits - having an agent means your ms will be seen by all the right publishers, your ms may even take priority over others when being sized up for reading or not - also an agent will handle the formatting and layout of your ms and will work for free - if you don't get paid the agent does not get paid, on the other hand if you get paid the agent usually receives 10 per cent - its worth considering!! Keep us informed on how you get on

fionagib Fri 04-Feb-05 13:47:09

I don't know about kids' books 2wild but am just finishing my 3rd novel (stress stress stress!). You don't need to do anything fancy - just double spaced on white A4 with a short & simple covering letter.

It's better if it's sent to the publisher via an agent as they'll know individual editors and their tastes, so there's a better chnace to matching you with the right editor/company. Although, if you don't have an agent, an editor might recommend some agents for you to contact if they want to publsih your book. You will need an agent for all the contract-style stuff.

Good luck!!

almostanangel Tue 31-May-05 13:56:27

ok do you choose an agent??!! and then how do you get them to choose you ..

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