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Zefiris
06-06-2010, 06:54 PM
So, for the past hour I've been sending off submissions. My query is fine and everything seemed to be going to plan.

Around half of the places I've sent too wanted the first chapter/5 pages etc putting at the body of the email.

I copied it straight from MS Word, everything looked a-o-k when I double checked through the email. The formatting correct etc.

BUT...And here's where the balls-up is.

I checked my sent emails and it turns out the formatting for the sample chapters was completely messed up! It's like all really spaced apart and looks really amateurish, even though when I was typing up the email it was set out correctly and looked fine.

So worried now that this is going to affect my submissions :( :( :( It's not really my fault either, before I pinged the email off it looked perfect...it's only when its sent that the crappy formatting has shown.

God...You wouldn't believe how peeved off I am at it :(

Danielle S.
06-06-2010, 07:04 PM
Yikes!

I read on one agent's blog that if she receives two queries from the same author one right after the other, she deletes the first one and assumes the author wants her to use the second. If the formatting is that bad, perhaps just re-query, with a brief mention (or not) of the messed up formatting??

Perks
06-06-2010, 07:05 PM
I think this happens often enough that the agents know how to sort out what's important. I'm sorry this happened to you. Copy and paste from Notepad to avoid some of that wacky formatting issue, but try not to worry too much.

This has happened to so many people. Me for one.

Medievalist
06-06-2010, 07:12 PM
This is a minor thing. Really. It's more than likely the Internet/email client will be blamed, not you.

As Perks said, next time use Notepad.

Mr Flibble
06-06-2010, 07:17 PM
As Perks said, next time use Notepad.

And / or email it to a separate account first to make sure it looks okay.

And as Perks said, I think this happens a lot.

Zefiris
06-06-2010, 07:26 PM
Thanks :)

Glad it happens alot, I was really worrying that the horrendous formatting would put any agents off. Hopefully that won't be the case :)

I'll do the notebook and email it to another account thing, hopefully it'll fix the issue so it stops happening.

Thanks again!

Jamesaritchie
06-07-2010, 02:24 AM
Use MS Outlook thrugh Gmail, with MS Word as your e-mail editor. You should never, ever have to cut and paste, and there's no excuse for screwing up format in a query.

Drachen Jager
06-07-2010, 02:27 AM
I had a similar problem with my e-mails. Some of the ones where they wanted several chapters pasted into the body came back with the whole e-mail as an attachment when I went to look at them again. Of course, most agents don't accept attachments.

Before I flipped though I forwarded one to my wife and she said it read just fine. It turns out that it was just my e-mail doing it!

So... Double check from a different e-mail reader or something before you worry about it! It might just be a software glitch on the READING part on your end.

mario_c
06-07-2010, 08:27 AM
Does your eMail have a plain text function? OR you Select All and convert to a very vanilla font. Preferably Courier.
Can you send them a PDF or do they not want attachments? I'm in a field where formatting has to be perfect, so that's how I submit.

kaitie
06-07-2010, 09:58 AM
Something else that helps is to do a find/replace on all the end and beginning quote marks and the normal notepad quotation marks. It'll copy the word versions into notepad, and I've had those screw up before, but the find/replace is super easy and solves the problem mondo fast. :) Good luck, and I'm sure they'll understand. They probably see it a lot.

brainstorm77
06-08-2010, 08:27 PM
I always email it to myself first before sending it out.

Chris P
06-08-2010, 08:32 PM
Good tips all. And yes, I would believe how peeved you are!

Medievalist
06-08-2010, 08:51 PM
Use MS Outlook thrugh Gmail, with MS Word as your e-mail editor. You should never, ever have to cut and paste, and there's no excuse for screwing up format in a query.

. . . though I note that it's very common--as in around 40 to 50 percent of people pasting blocks of text into a client will end up with email that looks funky.

I also note that following this procedure will result in odd formatting characters appearing in the email of anyone who is not using Outlook for Windows.

There are two different sets of problems in formatting email.

1. Character sets--so-called High ASCII characters, like "printers' quotation marks," or "Curly Quotes" or em-dashes are high ascii. They are encoded differently on different operating systems, word processors, and email clients. Don't use them. Use plain ASCII or text, that is, save as .txt.

2. Structural formatting--paragraph breaks and the like. These too are handled differently in different word processors and operating systems. MSWord actually embeds invisible characters called control characters in MS Word documents. When you copy and paste directly from MSWord, you also copy and paste these.

Best advice:

1. Make a .txt copy of the text you wish to paste into the body of the email. I would strongly urge Windows users to use NotePad or a text editor to do this.

2. Copy that text and paste it into the body of the email. Send that email to yourself and a kind friend to check. Most emails have an option to send an email as "Plain text." Use that option.

3. Check your copy of the email in a browser using Web mail.

Zefiris
06-08-2010, 09:51 PM
Just gotta say thanks again y'all!

Pasting from notebook instead of word works perfectly!

Odd really, MS Word is the superior programme so you'd have expected that to be easy to cut and paste onto email from but obviously not.

Thanks again :)

Miss Plum
06-11-2010, 02:27 AM
I just sent my standard query to Stan Soper. I did it my usual way: by opening up the last e-mail I sent off and replacing the greeting and the addressee. Unfortunately, I forgot to note that I had personalized the Subject Line, so the e-mail I sent to Stan said in the subject: "ATTN: Beth Fleisher, Author Query."

Everyone else on the Stan Soper thread in B&BC is merrily posting their requests for partials and fulls with 2-hour turnaround after querying. Gee, I guess mine got lost in the intertubes . . . or something.

benbradley
06-11-2010, 05:14 AM
This would be yet another chapter ... I'm half-seriously thinking of writing a non-fiction book titled "Computer Secrets Microsoft Doesn't Want You To Know!"

Just gotta say thanks again y'all!

Pasting from notebook instead of word works perfectly!

Odd really, MS Word is the superior programme so you'd have expected that to be easy to cut and paste onto email from but obviously not.

Thanks again :)
MS Word sticks all that carp in when you copy so that when you paste elsewhere in an MS Word document all the MS Word formattting stays the same. The magic breaks when you paste elsewhere. People have similar formatting problems copying from MS Word into forum posts.

A Rolls Royce is a superior vehicle to a Volkswagen Beetle, unless you want to keep your insurance and gasoline bill down. :)