View Full Version : What's the best way to email a lengthy manuscript to an agent?

12-01-2010, 10:21 PM
I apologize because I'm sure this has been addressed somewhere before, but I'm in a bit of a hurry since I need to send this manuscript out today, and I searched around and couldn't find a thread that specifically addressed my questions. (And before anybody says 'congratulations', I'm doing this for my father's historical novel that an agent requested--it's not one of mine! I haven't sent any queries recently--mostly been writing new stuff, among other things . . .)

Anyway, since my father types on an old 1950's Remington, and I believe he sees computers as mythical beasts full of unending mysteries (sometimes I feel the same way) my brother typed most of this manuscript into Word, and when he asked me how to do it, I had him put the different sections into different documents, all under one folder, which is how I always do my novels--with a different document for each chapter (or each major section with several chapters within it, in the case of my long SF novel). I find it easiest for me to work with that way.

But now I'm wondering if most agents and publishers would find it annoying to have to open multiple documents as they go through the manuscript. Is it best to dump the entire thing together in one Word document? (This historical novel is 900 pages!) I did find one discussion about PDF vs. Word, and the consensus seemed to be that just using Word was best.

I know these things have improved, but it seems like it wasn't that long ago when I tried emailing one section of a novel to my sister for review, and it wouldn't go through. I also found a thread where someone was asking why agents bother to request a partial instead of a full when it's being sent in a digital format, because space isn't an issue . . . I don't understand that at all, because unless you're putting it on a flash drive that you're sticking into a FedEx envelope, isn't the size of emails still some kind of issue? Can't it take a long time to download long attachments, and doesn't it increase the chance that the attachment won't go through?

Obviously people are sending entire manuscripts electronically all the time these days--how do most people do it???

Ol' Fashioned Girl
12-01-2010, 10:25 PM
Word docs are typically pretty compact... even for 900 pages. My 300 pager was under one meg.

I'm not an agent, and I don't even play one on TV or the 'net, but my best guess is that it should be one document... and I can't imagine your being able to meld all those docs into one document and make sure the formatting is correct and get it out today... but good luck!

12-01-2010, 10:59 PM
Definitely send it as a single document. Make sure it's properly formatted--12 point font, Times New Roman or Courier New, double-spaced.

Unless you're using dial-up internet, the file size of an attached manuscript shouldn't be an issue.

12-09-2010, 10:43 PM
I'm not an expert, but definitely put it all into one document and folllow the standard MS guidelines.


02-26-2011, 03:34 AM
huh. i had this question (i always save my work a chapter at a time), and got an answer without even having to ask. i love this place! :-D

02-26-2011, 03:55 AM
huh. i had this question (i always save my work a chapter at a time), and got an answer without even having to ask. i love this place! :-D

I do this for drafts and the first revision, but afterwards, I create a new document, formatted properly, and then copy and past as needed and save.

Once that is done, I then start on what I hope is the final revision.

The reason I switched, was because agents and editors are cautious about opening files with multiple attachments. They want a single, clean document they can scan without opening up a bunch of additional files. Or so I have read...