Friday, March 16, 2012
Where Did All These Rules Come From?
One of these requirements--that some things are single-spaced, others double-spaced-- has never really made sense to me, but I observed it anyway. Now, agent Jessica Faust addresses it, and makes it understandable. Here's the exchange from her website.
The question: If an agent's submission guidelines ask for a query and the first ten pages, those ten pages should be double-spaced, right? I don't want to be sending more or less than I'm supposed to! (Maybe I'm alone in this, but I always write with single-spaced lines. It wasn't until I started researching "how to get published" that I realized my idea of ten pages might be very different from someone else's.)
Jessica's answer: Any pages you send should always be double-spaced. The only exceptions are the query and the synopsis. Those can be single-spaced. This "rule" stems from the "old days" when all agents read on the printed page. The double-spacing allowed editors and agents to make notes on the pages, and it also protected their eyes. Now that agents read on ereaders this probably doesn't matter as much, but that's assuming you know for sure that the agent you're sending to is doing all of her reading on an ereader. Since you don't know that, always double-space your manuscript pages.
Writers, are there other "rules" that make no sense to you? Readers, did you have any idea of the hoops writers jump through to get their manuscript considered by a publisher? I'd like to know.
PS: If you're a member of the ACFW book club, don't forget to vote today for the July mystery/thriller selection. Of course, I'd love for you to vote for Lethal Remedy, but there are lots of good choices. Members can vote at: