I recently read a fabulous blog post by Alison Janssen about how to please your editor.
What’s that? You don’t have a book contract? Or even an agent? I’m in the same boat, and still found this helpful. The eight tips are fabulous for agented and unagented authors alike.
These are things that you can incorporate to have a more presentable manuscript. Most of the tips are simple technical changes/improvements you can make that we ‘creatives’ may tend to dismiss, ignore, or have no clue about.
Content trumps all (because having technically squeaky-clean pages with no plot probably won't help you), but there's nothing wrong with having as crisp a manuscript as possible when making the query/submission rounds...and you'll save yourself some time and please your editor once you land that deal!
Make Your Editor Love You By Checking Your...
(Scroll to the bottom for a link to the full post, which you should definitely read)
1. Word consistency: Decide if you're going to use "okay" or "OK" and stick with it.
2. Emdashes: Don't use single or double hyphens (--) to represent emdashes (—)
3. Apostrophes : Apparently the Word program interprets apostrophes incorrectly on words like 'em (as in, "Go get 'em boys!"). See the post for a solution.
4. Single Spaces after Sentences: Yup—it's one space after sentences in the vast majority of cases now. I was totally oblivious of this until a few months ago. I grew up doing two spaces and never got the memo...FYI, it will NOT get you a rejection if your manuscript currently has two spaces after a period, so don't stress about it too much. Just consider changing your habit in the future :)
5. Page Breaks: Learn about them. Use them.
6. Tabs: She mentions that this one may not apply everywhere, but that you should NOT use the Tab key to indent paragraphs. You should set the paragraph indentation individually, so that you hit Enter, it automatically indents to the right place. This one hit home for me. I always used the Tab key.
7. Timeline: This is a basic (chronological) list of events that you can share with your editor.
8. Character Bible- I don’t have a full bible, but I do keep a Word document of character sketches.
There you go~ hopefully you got something from this! Click HERE for the full post at a fun group blog where Alison Janssen posts on Thursdays.