Bound vs unbound

I recently completed my final edit of my mystery, and raced off to Office Max and faster than you can toss back a double Gin Fizz, had the manuscript printed on both sides of the page, added an electric blue cardstock cover and had it bound with a nifty little spiral-notebook contraption. Not to worry, I know better than to send a bound manuscript off to an agent. These went to my trusty critique partners for the official bloodletting. I kept one for myself for my own hardcopy edit.

After critiquing dozens of unbound manuscripts over the years, which often had me chasing windblown pages across the lawn or having to take the time to reorganize 365 pages after a close encounter of the canine kind, I found I much preferred the pages held together in one cohesive unit.So, could you please explain to me why agents prefer unbound mountains of paper that cause all manner of frustrations over the more manageable bound variety?

Because the first thing we do is run them through the xerox machine. Xerox machines do not like bound copies. They chew them up and spit them out and say "follow the guidelines". Same reason you can't print on both sides of the paper. It makes the Mr. Xerox very unhappy. Miss Snark prefers to keep Mr. Xerox happy, and thus Mr. Technician from becoming a close personal acquaintance.


Christine said...

I vaguely remember a post like this before... but maybe it wasn't on this blog (I do read others, you know, but I like yours best).
I recently received this...

To Christine,

Thank you for submitting to XXX Agency.

We greatly appreciate your submission, and though
XXX is not a good fit for us, your
writing shows promise. We would be interested to
consider any future projects.

We wish you the best of luck in your writing
career. Again, thank you for thinking of XXX

XXX Agency

Does this mean I don't suck? I've been having a crisis of faith, I guess. A book publication (small press) and several smaller pubs (ie: short stories, essays), but have yet to find an agent who doesn't tell me to shove off.

Please decipher the agent-speak.

Thank you (give Killer Yapp a Milk bone for me)

Miss Snark said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Killer Yapp here. Thanks for the bone.

Miss Snark is swilling gin in the library and asked me to bark up your tree.

Sadly, even I recognize that as a form letter. Clearly those agents are out of their minds becuase you are a very very good person and a better writer.

Can I have another milkbone please?

Christine said...

Aw, how sweet of you to say, KY. Have another Milkbone on me.

Anonymous said...

My take on this is that this is a standard rejection to a writer who is a good way above average, but not 'there' yet. You do not suck and they really do mean that they would like to see your next book.

Simon Haynes said...

This is probably a dumb question, but if the first thing you do is to photocopy the MS, why not ask for it on CD or as an email attachment? The techy person inside me is sure that printing a large document on a laser printer is a lot quicker and a lot less bother that trying to feed 500 loose pages through a copier, ADF or not.
I'm sure there are reasons, but I'm just curious.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused--how is Christine's letter different from the letter the other Snarkling got--the "rejected second hand post"? That letter said:

The last line read, "And should you feel you have a manuscript suitable for X Books in the future, I strongly hope you'll feel free to query me again."

You said,

If you sucked you'd have gotten a rejection letter with no hint whatsoever that you should ever contact them again.

Is it because one is from an agent and one from an editor?

Unknown said...

Unless, of course, in the film version of Miss Snark's epistolary memoirs - the Xerox technician is played by George Clooney.