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cunparis
06-16-2007, 09:39 AM
People talk about proposals but I haven't found anything on what format to use when sending electronically. I'm using the latest version of Microsoft Word (2007) and I'm sure I can't send it in that format. Also there is talk of using Courier font. I'd like to use a special font for my title page but I can't, because the reader probably won't have that font on his/her computer.

PDF was created exactly for these reasons. It will guarantee that the reader will see exactly what the writer sees. It also guarantees that the reader will not modify the text.

Yet surprisingly I search here for PDF and I don't get any responses. So I'm curious do you send your proposal in Word format? PDF?

-Michael

BenPanced
06-16-2007, 10:32 AM
People talk about proposals but I haven't found anything on what format to use when sending electronically. I'm using the latest version of Microsoft Word (2007) and I'm sure I can't send it in that format. Also there is talk of using Courier font. I'd like to use a special font for my title page but I can't, because the reader probably won't have that font on his/her computer.

PDF was created exactly for these reasons. It will guarantee that the reader will see exactly what the writer sees. It also guarantees that the reader will not modify the text.

Yet surprisingly I search here for PDF and I don't get any responses. So I'm curious do you send your proposal in Word format? PDF?

-Michael
Read the agent's or publisher's guidelines and follow those. If they request paper, send paper. If they request electronic, find out which format before assuming PDF. Some will request a simple Word .doc file, some may request it be saved as an RTF document, some might request PDF. If you don't follow the guidelines, you pretty much guarantee your chances of the proposal not being read.

Don't worry about formatting the document how you think the reader should see it. That's not up to you; it's the publisher's job. Send it in, yes, Courier font. 8.5"x11" paper. 1" margins all the way around. Double space (there are guidelines in the forums that explain "standard" manuscript format). They need to see the quality of your writing, and the simpler the formatting, the better.

Cath
06-16-2007, 03:36 PM
Nobody will modify your text without your permission. And the reason Courier is a standard font is that it's easy on the eye, especially when you have a lot of manuscripts to read.

Not following the agent/publisher's preferred format is a quick way to the reject pile. So do whatever their guidelines suggest whether it's PDF, Word, or handwritten on silk...

veinglory
06-16-2007, 04:37 PM
I would suggest using standard fonts and sending in an interchangeable format like .rtf unless otherwise specified. Even if your only goal is to preserve fonts etc IMO use of PDF suggests you are trying to keep the work secure (i.e. think they might steal it).

citymouse
06-16-2007, 05:55 PM
PDF was created exactly for these reasons. It will guarantee that the reader will see exactly what the writer sees. It also guarantees that the reader will not modify the text.
-Michael[/QUOTE]

Michael, I hate to tell you but that's a popular myth. If you take a PDF file and do a "select all" then copy / paste the text into a word doc you can alter it at will and then reformat back into a pdf. Try it. It works.
C

cunparis
06-17-2007, 12:26 AM
PDF was created exactly for these reasons. It will guarantee that the reader will see exactly what the writer sees. It also guarantees that the reader will not modify the text.
-Michael

Michael, I hate to tell you but that's a popular myth. If you take a PDF file and do a "select all" then copy / paste the text into a word doc you can alter it at will and then reformat back into a pdf. Try it. It works.
C[/quote]


I'm not sure but I believe if the PDF is encrypted and locked that you can't copy the text. But I'm not positive about that. I guess PDF doesn't guarantee it but it does make it more difficult that someone is going to modify the text. The copy/paste you mention would require reformatting which is a lot of work. It wouldn't be much easier than just retyping the text.

I speak of the PDF advantages from my experience with my CV. IF I send it in Word, the headhunters will completely change my CV. Sometimes to the point where during an interview someone asked me about a job I never had! I gave him a copy that I printed myself. So for my CV I prefer to send PDF. Also, the user doesn't need to have fonts installed, graphics, etc. PDF just makes sure the document looks 100% as it should. If the publishing industry isn't using it now, it's just a matter of time before they will.


Also, a lot of people replied to follow the guidelines of the publisher.. well I've found several publishers that accept proposals and they don't list anything about the file format, font, etc. I understand for a manuscript that this is important but I remind everyone I'm asking about a proposal, not a manuscript.

-Michael

Medievalist
06-17-2007, 01:21 AM
People talk about proposals but I haven't found anything on what format to use when sending electronically. I'm using the latest version of Microsoft Word (2007) and I'm sure I can't send it in that format. Also there is talk of using Courier font. I'd like to use a special font for my title page but I can't, because the reader probably won't have that font on his/her computer.

You follow the guidelines of the publisher. If there are no guidelines, you send .rtf and you use Courier or Times New Roman. You do not use another font. You do not use .pdf.

citymouse
06-17-2007, 01:49 AM
Michael, You're correct if the PDF is encrypted. However, an IT friend of mine confirms that a skilled hacker could copy an encrypted PDF. I confess I don't know many people who would go so far as to do that for so little. Unless of course the text is very valuable.
My publisher asked for my text in non-encrypted pdf format. I read the final product and there were no alterations so I don't know what the reasoning was.
C

Medievalist
06-17-2007, 01:53 AM
Look, having your unpublished work "stolen" is the least likely scenario. Really. It doesn't happen. And you're still covered by copyright.

But sending an editor or agent (speaking now as one who has been a reader of slush) something that is difficult to open, slow to download, awkward to read or not the format said editor or agent requested pisses 'em off. They won't read it.

You want to make it as simple as possible for them; you want to show that you can follow guidelines.

cunparis
06-17-2007, 11:26 AM
Look, having your unpublished work "stolen" is the least likely scenario. Really. It doesn't happen. And you're still covered by copyright.

My issue wasn't having the work stolen, it was this: If I send PDF I can be 99% sure what they see is what I sent. If I send word or RTF who knows what they're going to use to open it and how it will look.

I was hoping to use a different font for my title and make the proposal look a little more interesting than just standard courier font. I write technical proposals for my job and appearance is very important. The proposals have to look professional. It's hard for me to write a proposal with everything in the same font. If that's what all the publishers are expecting then that's what I'll do.

Again, I remind people we're talking about a proposal and not a manuscript! I understand that a manuscript should be very consistent with other manuscripts so that they can judge the length etc.


But sending an editor or agent (speaking now as one who has been a reader of slush) something that is difficult to open, slow to download, awkward to read or not the format said editor or agent requested pisses 'em off. They won't read it.


I don't know how well these people use computers but nothing could be simpler than opening a PDF document. PDF is so standard I can't imagine anyone not having the PDF reader installed. I work in the IT field so I admit my view can be biased. :)


You want to make it as simple as possible for them; you want to show that you can follow guidelines.

Yes, but as I said, most publishers do not post proposal guidelines saying what font, what format, etc. I spent hours looking at publisher's sites for books of the same topic as the one I want to write and I didn't find one publisher that said RTF, Courier font, etc. That leads me to believe there is some room for creativity for the proposal.

if I were reading these proposals all day and there was one with a different font that fit the title well, it would stand out to me. On the other hand a French person would be suspicious. A French person would say "why did he make the title so nice? It must be to cover up a weaker text." hehe..

-Michael

cunparis
06-17-2007, 11:27 AM
Michael, You're correct if the PDF is encrypted. However, an IT friend of mine confirms that a skilled hacker could copy an encrypted PDF. I confess I don't know many people who would go so far as to do that for so little. Unless of course the text is very valuable.
My publisher asked for my text in non-encrypted pdf format. I read the final product and there were no alterations so I don't know what the reasoning was.
C

Thanks for the info that your publisher asked for a PDF, that is very encouraging! :)

I agree to send unencrypted because they might want to copy/paste some text into another document/email/etc.

-Michael

Gigi Sahi
06-17-2007, 09:29 PM
I thought pdf was supposed to retain all formatting, fonts, colors, yadda-yadda and be some sort of universal WYSIWYG file format. I've always relied on pdf when transmitting files electronically for those exact reasons, but lately I hate pdf and can't use it.

Recently, three people who I've previously sent pdf files to without a problem - many times - have complained that when they open them all they see are Chinese characters. But the pdf files they sent me were coming through just fine until about a week ago. Now all I see are Chinese characters. We realize something's going wrong, but none of us can figure out the problem. We're all using Adobe Reader 7.0. The real kicker is, this ONLY pertains to pdf files we send one another - and just started happening out of the blue.

So now when we need to send files to each other we either embed them in the body of the e-mail, (and lose lots of formatting), or attach rtf, odt, or doc files. Really, anything except pdf files.

I just thought I'd mention this as a heads-up that pdf files are not as foolproof as people may think.

Medievalist
06-18-2007, 01:06 AM
PDF can be used to be completely what you want in terms of fonts, typesetting, images, links, layout and movies.

But you have to know what you're doing, and it generally means embedding the fonts or using only the sacred seven. Embedding the fonts makes huge unwieldy files, and there are still cross-platform font issues even in this day and age, so you do need to know a bit of geek stuff.

BenPanced
06-18-2007, 02:46 AM
Again, I remind people we're talking about a proposal and not a manuscript! I understand that a manuscript should be very consistent with other manuscripts so that they can judge the length etc.
The same standards apply across the board. The agents and publishers want to see how well you write.


I don't know how well these people use computers but nothing could be simpler than opening a PDF document. PDF is so standard I can't imagine anyone not having the PDF reader installed. I work in the IT field so I admit my view can be biased.
Operate on the assumption they don't have the capability to open a PDF file. You need to make this as simple as possible for the person who may be reading your proposal.


Yes, but as I said, most publishers do not post proposal guidelines saying what font, what format, etc. I spent hours looking at publisher's sites for books of the same topic as the one I want to write and I didn't find one publisher that said RTF, Courier font, etc. That leads me to believe there is some room for creativity for the proposal.
Creativity on the subject matter, yes. Creativity on how it's presented, it's pretty narrow.


if I were reading these proposals all day and there was one with a different font that fit the title well, it would stand out to me.
Again, keep it as simple as possible and you'll have a better chance of getting the proposal read.