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Submission Formatting

This question about email formatting comes from Helen:

My question concerns e-mail submissions. When an editor, publisher or agent requests e-mail submissions with the manuscript cut and pasted into the body of the e-mail, Is there a way to keep the proper submission format? I have experimented with techniques and looked in help, but have not found a way to keep the formatting once I hit the send button.

It is almost fruitless to stress about formatting. No matter what you do on your end, the editor or agent’s email client might just tinker with things on the receiving side. (If that isn’t enough to keep you up at night!) Do the best you can and remember the universal truth: we’ve most likely seen much, much worse.

There’s a lot of anxiety about query letters and typos and formatting (like, a LOT of anxiety). Those are important and you should pay careful attention to what you’re doing, but, in the grand scheme of things, the writing is the star of any submission package and that’s what I’m paying the most attention to. If you’re looking to burn off some nervous energy, worry about the manuscript. It’s of paramount importance and the rest of this stuff slides like water off a duck’s back after we start reading. Just do your best with query, personalization, and formatting.

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  1. Kathryn’s avatar

    If you’re really worried about the formatting, you can always use a plain text program like Notepad (usually found listed under “accessories” on the Windows start menu). It will strip all your formatting and allow you to put hard returns between paragraphs.

  2. Andrea’s avatar

    This is something I’ve worried about too. No matter what I do (even using notepad), e-mail submissions end up looking scrambled. I’m glad to hear that good writing shines through anyway. [Now I know what to work on!]

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