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Richard Paolinelli
10-20-2012, 06:49 AM
An agent e-mailed me a few minutes ago asking for the first 20-30 pages of my novel as a hard copy printout to be snail mailed in. I have a very high quality printer but was wondering what type of paper to use?

Just regular run-of-the-mill printer paper or something a little heavier?

Bright white, a little off-white? Does it matter?

Any advice will be appreciated and thanks in advance in case I forget to do so later.

Maryn
10-20-2012, 07:04 AM
They want regular old printer paper, submission format, ending at a natural stopping place.

Congratulations for piquing the agent's interest!

Maryn, wishing you luck

Sheryl Nantus
10-20-2012, 07:06 AM
I'd think regular paper is just fine.

It's what's ON the paper that's important. Don't go colorful, don't sprinkle perfume on it - just make sure you can read it clearly and make it look as professional as possible.

Label each page as 1/** and use your last name - MS Word does a header/footer that'll help with this. In case a page slips out he'll be able to know where it is and who it came from.

jmo, of course - don't forget all the pertinent info on the first page, name addy etc. with word count and all that.

Good luck!

rugcat
10-20-2012, 07:36 AM
They want regular old printer paper, submission format, ending at a natural stopping place.This, definitely.

Heavy, quality paper just annoys them.

Susan Littlefield
10-20-2012, 10:17 AM
Congratulations, Richard! :D

Richard Paolinelli
10-20-2012, 10:18 AM
Thanks for the replies everyone.

One last question:

He is also asking for a detailed synopsis.

How detailed should I get? Is there a min/max number of pages?

NicolaD
10-20-2012, 10:49 AM
I'm not sure if there is a hard and fast rule on synopsis lengths, I've seen requests anywhere from a couple of paragraphs to five pages plus. Guess it also depends on the length of the novel and how many subplots there are, but for yours I'd suggest maybe 1-2 pages.

GeekTells
10-20-2012, 01:51 PM
The Synopsis is the bane of our existence (http://geektells.com/the-agony-of-the-synopsis-or-how-not-to-write-a-synopsis/) as writers. My research has found that most agents want 1-2 pages. Some will accept 3. A few want 5, and the outlier is 10. I get the feeling that 10 pages is pretty darned old-school, but I can't prove that.

Since your agent specified a "detailed synopsis," my gut instinct is that he wants 3-5 pages. Look on the agency's site for any clues.

If you're freaked out about getting it right, feel free to ask for his preference.

I hope that helps, and congrats on the interest! It sounds promising. :)

heyjude
10-20-2012, 02:40 PM
What they said (plain paper, 3-5 pages for a detailed synopsis) and congratulations!

amschilling
10-20-2012, 06:10 PM
Just jumping in to say ditto - 20lb white printer/copy paper, about 3 pg synopsis, and don't forget the header with last name, book title and page #s.

And most of all - CONGRATS on the partial request! :D

stormie
10-20-2012, 06:54 PM
Years ago I remember sweating over the brightness of the paper and the weight. Now it really doesn't matter. The heavier the paper, the more it costs to mail, so just go with any printer paper you have, as long as it's white (which most are anyway).

Synopsis--one to three pages, single spaced. Double space between paragraphs. (I just had an editor ask for a single page synopsis. I've had agents ask for two to three page synopsis.)

Best of luck!

ARoyce
10-20-2012, 08:11 PM
Congrats on the request!!

Ditto what everyone has said.

Regular printer paper is fine. Standard white. Standard submission format.

A synopsis of 3-5 double-spaced pages is the sweet spot. (A synopsis for a manuscript contest can sometimes go up to 15 pages, but anything over 5-6 is probably more than an agent wants or needs at this stage.)

Good luck!!

Maryn
10-20-2012, 09:37 PM
I don't double-space synopses, for whatever that's worth.

Richard Paolinelli
10-20-2012, 09:42 PM
Thanks again everyone for the help. Putting it all together this weekend and heading for the post office first thing Monday morning.

Undercover
10-20-2012, 10:05 PM
Congrats Richard, hope you'll need more paper to print out for a full request!

Roxxsmom
10-21-2012, 02:31 AM
Oh wow--agents still request paper synopsis and manuscript submissions? That'll eat through some printer cartridges.

A nice problem to have, though. Congrats on the partial request and good luck with the synopsis! I wish I could give you some advice there, but I'm still confused about what the things entail as well.

ARoyce
10-21-2012, 10:16 PM
Oh wow--agents still request paper synopsis and manuscript submissions? That'll eat through some printer cartridges.

A nice problem to have, though. Congrats on the partial request and good luck with the synopsis! I wish I could give you some advice there, but I'm still confused about what the things entail as well.

Paper requests are increasingly rare. For example, out of 13 requests (either partial or full) I received, one wanted it in paper form. The rest asked for emailed files. But I also limited my list to agents who accepted email queries...there are many who don't and still want paper queries; I don't know if those "paper query" agents request more material in paper form.

stormie
10-22-2012, 06:38 PM
Oh wow--agents still request paper synopsis and manuscript submissions? That'll eat through some printer cartridges.


Some still do. It'll probably be a thing of the past within five years. Either way, it's a good idea to have a synopsis ready after you've polished your ms. and are about to query.

Helen Zimmermann
10-23-2012, 09:48 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone.

One last question:

He is also asking for a detailed synopsis.

How detailed should I get? Is there a min/max number of pages?

He wants to get a sense of your writing style (hence the 20-30 page request) and he wants a sense of the arc of the whole story (hence the synopsis request). The quicker you can effectively reveal the arc of the story, the better! Good luck!