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View Full Version : Agents and e-manuscripts: an era is over?!



aruna
09-23-2011, 04:50 PM
This is just a curiosity thread. Now that many, if not most, agents only want e-submissions: do they still print out the mss they receive, or have they all got Kindles etc to read those mss on?

I remember the very first positive feedback I ever heard about the Kindle: it a blog post by agent Kristin Nelson, who was raving about how wonderful it is to read mss on her Kindle.

Back when I was agented and published, ie ten years ago, agent offices were a chaotic mess of mss piled high and toppling over. Hard copy mss were everywhere: on shelves, on the floor, on her desk. Same with my editor. Somehow, it gave me a nice cozy feeling, seeing all those mss all over the place! And remember how we had to number the pages carefully and put headers on each page, just in case several mss fell on the floor, so the agent could sort them all out? Those days are bygone, methinks!

With the Frankfurt Book Fair coming up, I can think of another advantage. I've been to the Fair (again, 10 years ago!) and I always felt sorry for those poor agents, schlepping huge mss around with them. I guess those days are over.
However we feel about e-books, it seems pretty certain that for agents and editors, hardcopy mss are in the past.

For anyone whose been in an agent or editor's office recently: what do they look like now? Still lots of hardcopy mss lying around? Are the offices now all sleek and tidy?

I do feel a bit nostalgic for the old days of slush piles gathering dust.

Libbie
09-23-2011, 06:53 PM
I know my first agent printed it out to read. She sent me scans of her notes that were hand-written onto my ms. This was only about a year and a half ago.

Cyia
09-23-2011, 06:57 PM
Some print them out, others prefer the convenience of sticking 5 MS on their Kindle and taking it home so they can read on the train.

I was surprised when an author posted a photo of her recent editorial letter on her blog and it was an actual copy of the MS marked, by hand, in pen. I would have expected an attached file, not a physical copy.

Namatu
09-23-2011, 07:12 PM
I usually do my editing electronically, but there are some times that I prefer to switch to hard copy. Usually that means I'm going to focus less on line edits and more on big picture issues.

Phaeal
09-23-2011, 09:27 PM
If I were an agent, I'd be saying, "Thank you, Jesus, for the e-reader!"

My agency still asks for postal queries with five hard-copy pages, but all subsequent business has been via email, which is fine with me and the trees.

Jess Haines
09-23-2011, 11:45 PM
My agent does pretty much everything electronically. The only stuff I get from her that still comes on paper are contracts, royalty statements, and checks. ;)

AlishaS
09-24-2011, 02:15 AM
I know of quite a few agents that I follow on Twitter have talked about reading manuscripts on e-readers.
That being said, when it comes to putting in notes and corrections, the e-reader can only do so much, so they either do it in say Word or by hand... I'm thinking.

ColoradoGuy
09-24-2011, 02:26 AM
My agent, admittedly an oldish one, still does everything by paper. With my last book we encountered an editor who wanted an electronic submission; I had to make one for her to forward on to the editor.

I've never seen her office, but I bet it's piled high with manscripts.

AmsterdamAssassin
09-24-2011, 11:14 PM
Melissa at Tor asked me specifically for a .doc and not .pdf, because her e-reader had trouble with .pdf. So I know she reads mss on an e-reader.

rugcat
09-24-2011, 11:27 PM
My agent reads on an e-reader, and thinks it's a godsend esp when traveling, of course. But she still prints out a hard copy if she's editing.

In fact, she's sending me back a hard copy of my current ms project with various notes and questions scrawled all over it and in the margins.

A paper copy. By snail mail. I love it.

BySharonNelson
09-25-2011, 09:38 PM
I have a small publishing company and we get submission mostly in .doc which we read on our Ipads or on computers. Word has a function that allows you to track changes and leave comments which works great for editing and suggestions. We almost never print out hard copies. Everything is on computers and ipads and backed up onto a server. We are almost completely paper free. We do have a couple of freelance editors that we work with who use hard copies. I think it's all about personal preference.

Old Hack
09-25-2011, 10:55 PM
My agent-friend tells me that most submissions are now electronic, but despite their requesting e-submissions only there are still plenty of printed mss sent in every day. They still get those toppling piles of submissions stacking up: but the piles don't develop quite so quickly.

What is awful, though, is that the more electronic things get, the more submissions they get. And the quality of those submissions are going down. People submit far too quickly now that they don't have to print their mss out and lug them down to the post office.

colealpaugh
09-26-2011, 08:59 AM
My agent reads on an e-reader, and thinks it's a godsend esp when traveling, of course. But she still prints out a hard copy if she's editing.

In fact, she's sending me back a hard copy of my current ms project with various notes and questions scrawled all over it and in the margins.

A paper copy. By snail mail. I love it.

Wow, more power to you, rugcat...give me Track Changes any day. I wouldn't know what to do with a marked-up paper copy.

Although I used to love all the sh*t going on in my Mad Magazine margins.