View Full Version : The Font That Agents Prefer

05-07-2008, 02:20 AM
I was posting over in the FAQ forum on the question of using Courier font.

There seems to be an argument for using Courier font, but it also appears that the idea may be outdated.

Would the use of Courier font increase the chances of landing an agent, and would it increase the chances of landing a publisher?

05-07-2008, 02:27 AM
Your best bet is to read each agent's guidelines and submit to them in the font they prefer--if they list one. I queried an agent today who said flat out--NO COURIER!!!!--but likes Time New Roman.

Those two fonts are your two best choices, with the edge going to TNR. That's the font I use when there's no preference listed--TNR 12 pt, no bold.

05-07-2008, 03:58 AM
My first request for a partial - ever - happend a month ago and I got excited (i.e., panicked). I put the partial together and emailed it to the agent, only then seeing that she preferred Times New Roman. The partial was rejected. That may not have been the only reason, but I'm sure it didn't help.

I agree with mscelina: read each agen't guidlines and especially their blog (if they have one). Thats worth repeating: READ THEIR BLOG!!!! :)

05-08-2008, 03:25 AM
The font you use will not increase the chance of getting an agent or publisher.
It is your premise and your writing.

05-08-2008, 03:48 AM
I would caveat that statement, Patricia. Yes, your work has to be solid and in the long run that is what gets sold. But agents and editors are people too; they have bad days, and they have good days. Some of them also have preferences. Catch an agent on a bad day, with a font and/or format he/she hates and you're not doing yourself any favors.

I wouldn't write a masterpiece on napkins and send it in!!! :)

For a first time writer, trying to get someone to read his/her work, I would advise using the font preferred by the target agent/editor. Even if you have the most brilliant book ever written.

05-08-2008, 04:03 AM
I agree with Patricia.

Your font is a little different than writing on napkins. :) Unless it's wingdings, that would probably get you a rejection.

My agent hates courier. I sent my partial in courier. She read it in one or two days and requested the full. As long as your font is easy to read and professional, an agent is going to read for the writing.

05-08-2008, 04:10 AM
Wow - I'm shocked. So everything I've been reading on agents websites about what font they prefer I can ignore???? It won't improve my chances? I still think I'm going to go with following guidlines religously from now on. ;)

05-08-2008, 04:13 AM
I don't think it's a huge deal whether you use TNR or Courier, except that if you follow instructions it gives you that added bonus of having shown you can follow instructions. And you have nothing to gain by NOT following instructions, anyway.

HOWEVER don't use any other font except TNR or one of the Couriers. Seriously, you will look unprofessional.

05-08-2008, 04:18 AM
Totally agree Icecream. Funny thing: I almost sent in shortstory manuscript to a pro magazine and was about to hit send when I noticed something funny at the end of their guidelines. They wanted garamond, and .25 inch margins!!! First time I saw that.

05-08-2008, 04:18 AM
yeah, by easy to read and professional I meant courier or TNR. Because both are. And script or gothic are going to look pretty stupid.

I guess I've never encountered these stringent websites listing fonts of preference. I just found out my agent didn't like courier later, cause I do my drafts in TNR and then when she was submitting to editors we reformatted into courier. okay, that's all. If you want to obsess, have fun. :)

05-08-2008, 05:52 AM
Totally agree Icecream. Funny thing: I almost sent in shortstory manuscript to a pro magazine and was about to hit send when I noticed something funny at the end of their guidelines. They wanted garamond, and .25 inch margins!!! First time I saw that.

That's just bizarre. I wonder if they just convert the files into .pdf and print directly from that?

05-08-2008, 06:01 AM
It is bizarre. I don't know exactly what they do once they get your work, but they do it because they like to read on paper and want to minimize the amount of paper they use. Weird. I forgot to add that they want spacing at 1.5, not double.

Here are the guidlines:


05-08-2008, 12:34 PM
You are really talking about 2 different things here- agents usually want TNR or Courier and any agony about one or the other is really wasting time IMHO-
This particular instance seems to be related to an online magazine which has their own guidelines - obviously when an agent or publisher (or literary/genre magazine) lists guidelines you follow them.
If no submission guidelines are listed you are safe if you use TNR, 12 pt font, one inch margins and double space -
of course query letters are not double spaced - I am talking about partials and fulls here...

05-08-2008, 03:23 PM
Listen to them. It doesn't matter. I am the poster child for it just doesn't matter. Repeat this to yourself 500 times and then 500 times more until you believe it. If they like the writing, it will not matter. Good writing trumps everything. Even the wrong font.

I sent a ms to an incredible agent. I was SO nervous, I'd been having probs with my computer. Well, actually, first I forgot to send it. Then I sent the wrong one. And it turned out the doc was corrupted. It was humiliating-when she opened it, aack. OMG. When she sent back an email telling me. I nearly died. I thought that was IT.

And um, it wasn't. She didn't kick my butt to the curb. She liked it. Go figure. She fixed it and read it. Now I have to fix a few things for her, revise a scene and try again, but let me say, that agent was given every opportunity to reject me-I was such an idiot. And she didn't. And she's giving me a second chance. I still get teary thinking about it.

I lurve her.

Anyway, just write your heart out, send your best, and don't worry about it. NO WAY can you ever screw up at the level I did.

I will live in infamy. :)

05-08-2008, 03:40 PM
Great story, Twizzle. Thanks for sharing, and I think it really illustrates the point you are trying to make. I think writers can't help but dwell on some of the smaller issues that really don't matter because we are so anxious about landing an agent or publisher. I never thought I would worry about some of the stupid things that now cross my mind. Also, when we are getting close, I think it is easy to think about ways to do more then we have already done (example - changing fonts). Just believe that your polished work will be enough and try not to sweat the small stuff. Now if you excuse me, I am off to start my own thread about the latest little thing that is driving me crazy. LOL. Good luck, Twizzle, and to all of you.

05-08-2008, 03:44 PM
Reading all of the different preferences of the literary agents makes me wonder ... Why is it we writers carry the moniker of being head strong or diva-ish or difficult? Maybe we should be looking at the literary agents instead ... :). I think we seem like a pretty easy going group :)

05-08-2008, 08:45 PM
My agent is VERY easy going and most of the agents I have met are...
Mine simply didn't care about font or even the fact that when I e-queried her she didn't "accept equeries.
I think many writers online have manufactured this weird idea about what agents are like simply because we think the agents are exclusively interested in presentation or following directions and the reality is they are only interested in the premise and the writing.
It's easy to persuade yourself that the agents are out to get us rather than the fact that our writing might not be strong enough yet for publication...
And like it has been said often before- it's easier to focus on something we can control -- like font and paper type -- than the fact that an agent may not like our work...

05-09-2008, 02:28 AM
OK - my last post on this subject. I don't think we've invented anything about agent preferences; if your agent didn't care: awesome!!! But I think we all know there are agents out there who do. In fact, some of Miss Snarks old blogs on this subject are pretty funny. I think some on this thread actually responded to them...

Some agents do care about the font and it is not some manufactured concept by writers on the board! To paraphrase Miss Snark: following the directions (if they are there) is advisable. That goes for agents, publishing houses and magazines.

Nobody is arguing that the writing is not the most important thing; clearly it is.

I'm done.

05-09-2008, 02:28 PM
If they state a preference, change it to what they prefer. It only takes a few seconds.

If they don't state a preference, use Courrier or TNR.

It's not rocket science.