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Laurie
04-04-2006, 02:31 PM
At a conference, an agent who ran a two-session seminar stated book titles should be in all CAPS. That it was the publishing world standard, and to not do it was to expose yourself as an amateur. And yet, I've read letters from agents who don't do this.

Are all CAPS the standard?

aadams73
04-04-2006, 03:13 PM
Looking back through my rejections I see that all caps have been used 100% of the time. I say go with the standard.

Julie Worth
04-04-2006, 03:27 PM
Are all CAPS the standard?


Only for the book you're hawking, I believe. All others you put in italics. Itís one of those little things that says youíre not a complete idiot.

arkady
04-04-2006, 04:03 PM
At a conference, an agent who ran a two-session seminar stated book titles should be in all CAPS. That it was the publishing world standard, and to not do it was to expose yourself as an amateur. And yet, I've read letters from agents who don't do this.

Are all CAPS the standard?


Are you talking about in the query letter, or on the cover page of the manuscript?

Laurie
04-04-2006, 04:46 PM
I'm referring to the query letter.

victoriastrauss
04-04-2006, 07:50 PM
Only for the book you're hawking, I believe. All others you put in italics. Itís one of those little things that says youíre not a complete idiot.Uh...Julie...I assume you're joking. If not, this is bizarre advice.

There is no Rule From On High that dictates that you must put book titles in caps. If you want to do it, fine--many people do, though there are some who find it annoying--but if you don't, italics are equally fine.

- Victoria

Julie Worth
04-04-2006, 08:38 PM
Uh...Julie...I assume you're joking. If not, this is bizarre advice.

There is no Rule From On High that dictates that you must put book titles in caps. If you want to do it, fine--many people do, though there are some who find it annoying--but if you don't, italics are equally fine.

- Victoria

Perhaps it is bizarre, but I've heard it many times. Noah Lukeman says it, for instance. See here (http://www.lukeman.com/greatquery/excerpt.htm). Scroll halfway down. It's in the box.

victoriastrauss
04-05-2006, 12:39 AM
Noah Lukeman says it, for instance. See here (http://www.lukeman.com/greatquery/excerpt.htm). Scroll halfway down. It's in the box.Well, that's just...weird. I have never seen this advice anywhere else. Lukeman is an accomplished agent, but I think he's off the mark with this one. Never once have I heard an industry pro say that TITLES IN ALL CAPS is a sign of professionalism--and I have heard more than one comment that they find it irritating.

Writers love to sweat the small stuff--titles in caps, the number of spaces in an indent, whether to put page numbers at the top or bottom, etc. But really, as long as you follow the basic formatting guidelines, keep it neat and consistent, and make sure you don't have careless errors, you should be fine.

- Victoria

Emerson Dell
04-05-2006, 06:41 AM
I followed this discussion with great interest because proper grammar and punctuation matter to me. Have noticed with irritation that the NY Times Book Review section uses quotes around book titles. I was taught that book titles go in italics. Chapter or short story titles go in quotes. Then I started sending out queries (following the rules I was taught) and noticed that the email replies I got from agents always had book titles in all caps. And, more importantly, when the responses included my original email, all the care I'd taken with italics had disastrous results...let's say a book is titled GONE WITH THE WIND. If I used italics in my original email, it would come home to me as: /Gone With the Wind/ or something like that. So I've switched to all caps. I will NOT use the NY Times method of putting quotes around book titles. That is something up with which I will not put.

Jamesaritchie
04-05-2006, 09:51 AM
I have heard a few idustry professionals say you should put the Book title in caps when querying, and that the characters names should be in caps, etc.

But most I know find it annoying, and I doubt anyone, anywhere really give a darn.

It annoys me, so I never have put a title in all caps, and have never suggested anyone else should do so.

I think it all goes back to do whatever you know a particular agent or editor wants, and if you don't know what they want, don't worry about. Putting things in all caps is certainly irritating to many.

And no agent or editor has every asked me to put a title in italics, and I've never read such in guidelines anywhere.

Jamesaritchie
04-05-2006, 10:04 AM
I followed this discussion with great interest because proper grammar and punctuation matter to me. Have noticed with irritation that the NY Times Book Review section uses quotes around book titles. I was taught that book titles go in italics. Chapter or short story titles go in quotes. Then I started sending out queries (following the rules I was taught) and noticed that the email replies I got from agents always had book titles in all caps. And, more importantly, when the responses included my original email, all the care I'd taken with italics had disastrous results...let's say a book is titled GONE WITH THE WIND. If I used italics in my original email, it would come home to me as: /Gone With the Wind/ or something like that. So I've switched to all caps. I will NOT use the NY Times method of putting quotes around book titles. That is something up with which I will not put.

Just do what works for you. I hate book titles in cap. It annoys me to no end. I hate it.

From the standpoint fo grammar, book titles should be in italics. From a readability standpoint, however, putting a title in quotes generally makes for ease of reading, and it's grown very common. I know the grammar, but I greatly prefer titles in quotation marks, and it's what I've been doing for years.

maestrowork
04-05-2006, 10:05 AM
Some agents do use all caps for BOOK TITLES in email, because in text email, you can't italicize the title. But in a query letter (paper), you should just italicize the Book Title.

Irysangel
04-05-2006, 03:09 PM
Really? I never italicized mine. I used all caps. Didn't hurt me any. *G*

Seriously though, I don't think it matters one bit, as long as they can tell what part of the sentence is the novel title and not you spouting out gibberish. ;)

broughcut
04-10-2006, 10:33 AM
At a conference, an agent who ran a two-session seminar stated book titles should be in all CAPS. That it was the publishing world standard, and to not do it was to expose yourself as an amateur.


Better to be exposed as an amateur than a professional query letter writer.

RJK
07-31-2009, 09:24 PM
I just read Noah Lukeman's HOW TO WRITE A GREAT QUERY LETTER. He insists that ALL CAPS is the industry standard and a query letter with your Novel written any other way depicts you as an amateur. He did say it's OK to put other's titles in italics, but yours MUST BE IN CAPS.

Lucy Dashwood
07-31-2009, 10:00 PM
Ask 3 people get 5 opinions. When I was writing screenplays there were 2 schools of thought. 1)--include the WGA registration number on the front page so the reader is assured you won't come back and say they stole the idea. 2)--including the WGA registration number makes you look like a dopey rank amateur who thinks their crappy idea is in danger of being stolen. I (member of the WGA so no rank amateur) sent a registered script to Susan St James on the insistence of someone who knew us both. Ms James' assistant sent it back saying they would never read an unregistered script. I wrote back assuring her it was registered. Crickets. That's the last time I gave a la-di-da about such minimal issues.

Write the best story you can. That's all you can do. You can't accommodate everyone's psychological tics and twitches. If they pass because something was capitalized when it should have been italicized, do you really want to work with someone that unhinged?

Danthia
08-01-2009, 12:35 AM
It's the standard, but if you don't do it, you won't get rejected because of it. I went back and checked mine, and I used italics, and got plenty of page requests. The story is what matters. Those kinds of "errors" are the ones agents ignore, as they have no bearing on your ability to write or tell a great story.

MsGneiss
08-01-2009, 12:38 AM
Hey there, folks - felt like chiming in. Since quite a lot of people still read their email in plain text, your formatting (like Italics) will be lost once they receive it. In fact, depending on your text editor, they may even get it with a bunch of strange characters. That's why, I think, ALL CAPS makes much more sense - it is not formatting, and will look the same regardless of the system where it is read.

Madisonwrites
08-01-2009, 02:24 AM
Personally, I follow the standard, so my titles are in CAPS. Doesn't bother me. Italics don't bother me. Quotation marks don't bother me. So whatever the industry standard, that's what I do.

But hey, I've heard that even a sloppy query letter can snag an agent if the story is interesting enough, so like someone else said, don't sweat the small stuff. :)

Good luck and happy writing! :D

Robert E. Keller
08-01-2009, 02:30 AM
Wait, I've got the perfect solution. "JUST ITALICIZE YOUR ALL CAPS TITLE AND PUT IT IN QUOTES!" Then, insert a note explaining that you weren't sure how the agent preferred it so you were trying to cover all the bases. (At the end of your note, be sure to remind the agent that he or she is reading a query letter with a story idea or two inserted.)

Actually, don't do any of that. :)

K. Taylor
08-01-2009, 03:17 AM
In school, it was always book titles are underlined. Other kinds got other treatments.

IceCreamEmpress
08-01-2009, 05:03 AM
I just read Noah Lukeman's HOW TO WRITE A GREAT QUERY LETTER. He insists that ALL CAPS is the industry standard and a query letter with your Novel written any other way depicts you as an amateur. He did say it's OK to put other's titles in italics, but yours MUST BE IN CAPS.

Yeah, Noah Lukeman's advice is very idiosyncratic (note his thing about never using your protagonist's name in the query, which most other agents would hate). It would certainly be a good idea when querying Lukeman to be sure to put your title in caps, but nobody else is going to care if it's in caps or in italics.

Not in quotation marks or underlined, though. Those are just wrong (except at the New York Times, which has its own idiosyncratic style sheet).

Exir
08-01-2009, 09:12 AM
For me, Queries = makes sense + nothing out of whack + respectful and professional

I'll go with ALL CAPS because emails might not show italics. But, really, no agent is gonna throw your query away just because of something like this.

A query that is 1) confusing 2) boring 3) full of clunky sentences 4) grammatically incorrect WILL get you a rejection, though.

Donna Pudick
08-30-2009, 07:55 PM
Honest to God, agents and editors are so damn busy, no one gives a hoot how you address your title. A high percentage of queries, partials and fulls are sent by email these days. Often, the appearance changes dramatically when it's received, depending on the computer that's receiving it.

scope
08-30-2009, 08:55 PM
Writers love to sweat the small stuff--titles in caps, the number of spaces in an indent, whether to put page numbers at the top or bottom, etc. But really, as long as you follow the basic formatting guidelines, keep it neat and consistent, and make sure you don't have careless errors, you should be fine.

- Victoria


I couldn't agree more.

I use italics. I really dislike the screaming "all caps." Personally, I find a book title that's all to be disturbing - all the time - but particularly in a query letter.