On Writing Guidelines

When you get serious about publishing and doing things the right way (so as not to be rejected), you find out about submission guidelines—usually something like 12pt font, 1″ margins and double spacing throughout the manuscript.

I’d heard this was to preserve eyesight/sanity of agents and editors who spend their day wading through submissions.
Today, I discovered another reason.

I personally use Palatino Linotype 11pt single spacing when I write. On my old computer with limited options in W97, it looked best.  But last night, I signed up for an agent bootcamp to receive feedback on my first 10 pages. Now I’m forced to confront my confusion over what they mean by X number of pages.

With my single spacing, 10 pages covers my first chapter. (Yay! Lots of feedback!) Double spaced, it hits 1/3 of the way into the inciting event. (Uh…) So, do I take my 10pgs and double space them, giving the agent 20 pages (10 pages double spaced)? Or do I double space it then give them 10 pgs?

As I said, I thought the double spacing was for our poor “gatekeepers”. I assumed readers got twice as many words in the same amount of pages once the book was printed.

Not so.

Given the average of 250 words/printed page, this actually lines up with the guidelines. In essence, your book mirrors your manuscript under those specs. Which makes mine 473 pgs, plus 7 more chapters and a table of contents.


And it means I’ll only get feedback on half of chapter 1. Drat. (Although, I think I give most authors even less than that to hook me.) Ah well. At least that’s cleared up. 🙂


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