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Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript (Writer's Market Library) Paperback – November 15, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

"Perfect margins and ideal spacing won't prevail over dull, poorly written work," counsel the authors of this book. Still, why would you let sloppy formatting obscure an editor's first encounter with your brilliant words? Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript will help you, yes, format and submit articles, nonfiction books, short stories, novels, scripts, poetry, even greeting cards. There's no reason, the authors say, to "mangle or otherwise abuse" your work in order to get it to fit a format, but whenever possible, you might as well give the editors what they want. It's all here: queries (electronic, faxed, and otherwise), sidebars, market analyses, manuscripts, treatments, etc. Each element is handled through the use of examples, submission tips, formatting specs, and "other dos and don'ts." Strewn throughout are words of wisdom from those on the submission-receiving end, among them Robin Dolch, a senior editor at ICON Thoughtstyle. "We can always tell when people are going to be very hard to work with," Dolch says. "It's when they're willing to do very little work up front before getting a contract." --Jane Steinberg

About the Author

Jack Neff is a full-time freelancer who writes regularly on marketing, legal, financial and other business issues. Glenda Neff is a former editor of Writer's Market.

Product Details

  • Series: Writer's Market Library
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Writers Digest Books; 1st edition (November 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 089879921X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898799217
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,808,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Dee-Ann LeBlanc on March 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Because I write a lot of technical materials, I totally misinterpreted what an agent told me about sending in an outline. If I had not gotten this book I wouldn't have known that outlines for novels are very different from technical outlines. I verified this with people "in the know" and have started redoing my novel outline in the RIGHT format.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By chemikalguy on May 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is probably the best guide to document formatting I've seen yet. Of course, half the staff at Writers Digest magazine wrote it! Most of them are writers or editors as well, so it only makes sense that it would be good.
I looked at several different formatting books in my search for the best. Many of them got great reviews when they were released. The problem is, most of them are more than 5 years old. With the publishing business changing as rapidly as anything else these days, you need an updated resource to follow, especially if you are new to the business of writing - and yes, it is a business. In business, things are expected to be done a certain way, and this book shows you that way.
This book is chock full of full page examples of everything from proposals, cover letters, tables of contents, etc. It's broken down into sections like most of the other books, each one covering a topic such as articles, novels, and screenplays.
If you want a book that is easy to follow when formatting your manuscript and writing the associated correspondence to an editor/publisher/agent, this is the book for you. The example documents even show you how many spaces to leave between lines etc. I don't think they could have made it any easier if they had sent someone to my house and had them walk me through the formatting!
One thing I thought disappointing was mentioned by another reviewer. Personal essays is mentioned on the cover, but after a quick search, I wasn't able to find that topic covered at all in the book, even in the index. My guess is that it's assumed that these documents would be handled according to guidelines from a different section, although which section eludes me.
Overall, this is the best book out there. It's new, and covers the currently accepted formats for a plethora of documentation. If you're searching for a book like this, spend the money, it's well worth it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Bourgeois VINE VOICE on February 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a great guide for those at the submission process! I would never have known that there were general guidelines to follow when submitting your fiction, etc and probably earned myself rejection letters because of it. But with this guide, I know that at least I used industry standards upon submissions.
This book also has great examples of query and cover letters. I recommend this to anyone new to the submission process of publishing!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By I. Gross Georg on August 19, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm an essay writer, and on the cover it says, "A Visual Guide to Preparing and Presenting Your: Novels, Personal Essays, Articles and Proposals, Screenplays & TV Scripts, Short Stories, Poetry, Children's Picture Books, Greeting Cards, and more.
Well, guess what. Absolutely doodly-squat about essays of any kind, much less personal ones. I'm upset because this is the reason I got the book, to give me a floorplan for submission of my essays.
I already have an excellent book on formatting submissions written by Mary Lynn called "Every Page Perfect". I recommend this book; hers doesn't have anything on personal essays, either, but at least hers didn't SAY it did.
I don't give "Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript" one star, because the book does have good information in it, IF you don't have Mary's book. Plus, there is information on e-querying in it that's not in Mary's book because the edition I have was written pre-Internet.
The authors and Writer's Market dropped the ball as far as I'm concerned. Their cover amounts to false advertising.
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Format: Paperback
Poorly designed query letters and manuscripts are a first point of rejection in a very tough business. FORMATTING & SUBMITTING YOUR MANSCRIPT is a must have reference book for every aspiring writers. The editors and writers of Writer's Digest have been in the business for many years and they know the necessary steps to avoid rejection as non-professional.
This important step is vital to your career. The well illustrated examples spell the correct and acceptable style for submissions of a novel, screen & TV scripts, plays, short stories, etc. A stylish submission will not insure acceptance, but it will foster consideration.
Writing as a Small BusinessSins of the Fathers: A Brewster County NovelThe Bluegrass Dream: A Wilderness Adventure of Early SettlersUnder the Liberty OakGuns Across the Rio: A Texas Ranger in Old Mexico
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Format: Paperback
The authors of this book certainly know their business--how to format manuscripts, write query letters and design book proposals. The book has been my bible, encyclopedia, and dictionary for the last five or six years. I've used the sample query letters, book proposals, and manuscript formatting that I found in this book and sent my information to agents, editors and publishers.

I believe it was the query letter modeled after one of the book's samples that earned me a publisher's attention and eventually got my book, Mr. Jefferson' Piano and Other Central Harlem Stories, published.

When you buy this book, you'll find yourself returning to sections of it to use in your own writing as I did. This is the kind of book that does not grow old with time, instead it becomes even more useful with age.
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