Sending your manuscript

We'll review some of the basics for those new to the blog.

In my authorial angst, I'm trying to make sure I don't shoot myself in the foot. A couple of agents have agreed to look at me work, and am planning on querying a couple of others. So as I'm getting ready to send out my novel....

1) How the heck do you mail out a manuscript? It's about 260 pages. Can I use a 10x13 envelope? Should I put a rubber band around it? Should I use a manuscript box (and if so, where do I get one and what exactly is a manuscript box, and do I wrap it in craft paper before I mail it or just tape the sucker up and send it?)? Also, is it okay to print the manuscript on pink, unicorn stationary (okay, just kidding on the last one).

2) I'm currently writing a spec script with an established, successful screenwriter. I am NOT looking for a screenwriting agent - I will most likely use my friend's agent - I am looking for an agent for my novel (literary/mainstream fiction). Should I mention, at the bottom of my cover letter, in the about me paragraph? Currently, my query letter has the line, "I am currently writing a spec script with NAME (movie credit, movie credit, tv credit)."

In reverse order:

2. No. Generally book agents are only interested in your book. If you had an actual deal, or a screenwriting credit, that's different, but speculative stuff is all talk until there's cash on the table. This looks like you're reaching for credentials. Leave it off.

1. You can buy a manuscript box at any office supply store. If one isn't near you, you can order online. You don't need a box though. You just rubberband the pages, slide them in an envelope that will hold all the pages without using bacon grease, then seal. I fold over the top of the envelope and tape it with shipping tape so the paper doesn't slide around. Then, off to the post office where you forgo anything requiring a signature from the recipient, and bob's your uncle. Don't forget to include a #10 SASE. Don't ask for the ms back.

I'm glad you're kidding about the pink paper with unicorns. The last person who sent me unicorn paper is now wearing it as a festive chapeau.


Anonymous said...

Cynthia writes:

Miss Snark, you are restoring my faith in the hope that one day, the North WILL understand the South. Your mention of bacon grease is the first I've ever known of someone above the Mason-Dixon line understanding how wonderful this stuff is ...

Down here in Georgia we still use all of the pig but the squeal.

Snark on! I appreciate your culturargia, we still use l diversity!

Anonymous said...

The last person who sent me unicorn paper is now wearing it as a festive chapeau.

chapeau was your second choice of location right?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering, Miss Snark. If I lived in NYC I'd find the prettiest woman in town (I'm assuming that's you) and buy her a bottle of her favorite gin.

Carter said...

The last person who sent me unicorn paper is now wearing it as a festive chapeau.

I think you're just being nice so you don't scare off the newcomers. I rather suspect it's actually a decorative suppository.

Bernita said...

It's great in peanut butter cookies.

Anonymous said...

Cynthia writes:

Does Killer Yapp ever get on the keyboard right as you're clicking "send" or publish? My cat Max does ...

That last line was SUPPOSED to be:

Snark on! I appreciate your cultural diversity!

Anonymous said...

Miss Snark: This may be a nitwitted question, but should a synopsis be single or double spaced when it is sent with a query letter?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I sent out my manuscript to one agent and one publisher who'd asked to see it, and I had no idea how to send it, so I just guessed and put it in a rubber band in a big envelope. Then I started hearing all this talk about manuscript boxes and I panicked, thinking they'd nail it to the wall of shame.
I feel so much better now. I'd feel even better if I actually heard back from said agent and publisher... Can anyone tell me how long this usually takes? I'm obviously very new at this.