3.17.2006

If I May Be so (Bodini) Bold

This is a pretty minor issue compared to most of the things you deal with, but I'm a nice guy (we would make an odd pair, you in your patent stilletos, I taking in water through my battered Air Walks, you snarking while I quietly sip from my bucket of scotch) and I want to make things as easy as possible for my potential agent and Best Friend In The Industry. So: I know copy editors prefer Courier, and quite understandably so, but the best font for markup is not necessarily the friendliest for curling up with a bucket of gin and reading out loud to a poodle, and the copy editor is still in the distant future. I'm curious, therefore, if you personally prefer something more poodle-friendly like Times, and to have italics be italicized. I understand yours is but a single opinion among many, but I am curious. It is a matter of seconds for me to switch; I just want to make life easier others down the pike



There is no way to know or keep track of what font an agent likes. And since I'm an agent, not a copy editor I'd be hard pressed to look at something and tell you what font it is. Yes, I click Select Bodini Bold on my trusty computer when I need to screech in a letter, but I wouldn't know Bodini Bold if I fell over it on a leprechaun infested Fifth Avenue this very morning.

Just make it something your grandma can read and we'll be happy.

25 comments:

Christa M. Miller said...

I was using Courier, but I switched to Times because it saved me 100 pages, which ultimately will save in shipping costs. Plus it lets you send "more" in a 50-page partial. (I considered something even smaller like Garamond, but thought that was pushing it.)

Anonymous said...

While courier is a wall flower compared to most fonts, it's easy to read and what I'd call a clean font. I personally dislike Times New Roman because it's serif'ed and because the letters are packed so closely together (kerning). My favorite font is Verdana because it has nice fat letters, sans serif, and is easy on my old (farsighted) eyes.

Font is a four letter word.

As far as shipping goes, I like to use USPS priority mail. There are two packages (free at the post office) with fixed rates regardless of weight. As an added benefit, if you print the label from their web site ( http://www.usps.com/ ) you can track it at no additional cost.

anon-y-mouse

Anonymous said...

I think Courier is a darned ugly font, but I've started using it in my word processor whenever I'm writing because, yanno, it is easy to read (especially if you put it in bold face).

Those copy editors are on to something.

Chesya said...

I use Times. I simply like it better.

I also AWAYS mail my submissions as media mail. It's cheaper and in the long run will save a lot.

Poohba said...

Actually, serifed fonts are supposed to be easier on the eyes. I always set my stuff in Times.

Anonymous said...

There's also a Dark Courier font, but I can't remember or find the web site where you can download it.

And ultimately, isn't it the editors who would prefer either Courier or New Times?

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

I personally like Courier, but have switched to Times New Roman beause it actually looks prettier and does save on pages.

Anonymous said...

I just wrote a 2,000 word question about what font to use. But I see it's been answered here. I'll submit it next week, though. Cuz it seems like the most popular question to ask a literary agent. No wonder they mask their identities at cocktail parties.

NL Gassert said...

I like Batang (12), because it's larger than Courier and even easier on the eyes. But, yeah, if it becomes a page number issue, I change to Courier, which saves me a few pages. In the end, though, ten pages more or less isn’t that big a deal. I always, always use Priority mail with delivery confirmation. Media mail is too unreliable from my part of the country (takes six weeks to reach NY).

Elektra said...

Chesya--while media mail is much cheaper, it also takes an average of two-three weeks more simply to reach the agent's office.

Bethany said...

I used to use Courier, but I use Times now because when people ask specifically for a font, it's usually Times. Plus, I write long books (over 130,000 words for the last one) and doing them in Courier would be insane. ^_^

You know, Miss Snark, it sounds like this chap wants to do more than query you. ♥ ♥

Anonymous said...

I'm confused about the Priority Mail issue. I used it to mail complete mss to two agents - one in NJ, the other in CA - and was charged different amounts even though they were identical in weight. I didn't know there was a fixed rate. I thought the differences were due to the different ZIP codes.

Bella Stander said...

Umm, Miss Snark...begging your pardon, but it's BODONI, not Bodini.

Speaking as a former manuscript reader and copyeditor/proofreader, and current book reviewer, for large blocks of type, serif is WAY easier on the eyes. Save sans serif for titles and online.

Anonymous said...

Priority Mail--there are two flat rates where weight doesn't matter: one is large envelopes (was $3.85 before the rate increase 1/9), and the other is a flat rate box (was $7.80). Go to the USPS web site and pretend you're printing a label for a one pound package from your zip to another zip (you'll have to enter addresses, etc.) and you'll get to a place where you select how you want to send the priority mail where you can see the rates. You can even pay on line and can have the package picked up at your mail box if it's a pound or less. It's a pretty nice service, imo.

anon-y-mouse

Chesya said...

Elektra, if a manuscript hasn't been requested, why does it matter how long it takes to get there?

Now if it's been requested, then that's another story. I want to get it in their hands asap.

Chesya said...

Also, let me say that I live in GA, and it usually takes about 7 to 10 days to get to NY.

Elektra said...

That's odd---I live in NC, and it took 5 weeks to mail a ms to a friend in NYC.

I also wonder why you don't save even more money by NOT sending unrequested manuscripts--75 cents for a query letter/SASE seems like the most economical way to go.

McKoala said...

Serif is easier to read in large blocks of text than sans serif. Courier is a serif font, as is Times and Miss S's beloved Bodoni. I tend to use Times, but would change it in a heartbeat at an agent/publisher's request.

BuffySquirrel said...

Dark Courier

Debra Broughton said...

I use Courier because it's in the BBC's script smart templates. When I had an agent, he wasn't fussed about font, but asked me to use a bigger font size.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/scriptsmart/

Anonymous said...

Thank you, buffysquirrel!

December Quinn said...

Chesya, why are you submitting unrequested manuscripts?

Or do you actually mean "queries with or without partials" when you say "manuscripts"?

Chesya said...

Yes, I mean queries.

Not sure why it would take 5 weeks. It never takes that long for me. I just (on 3/9) sent something media to NY and it got there in 8 days.

Anonymous said...

People, you are not supposed to send manuscripts media mail. If the PO finds out, they will charge the recipient fpr the extra postage (how's that for annoying an agent?) There was a notice about this in the RWA magazine.

Jo Bourne said...

Hi Anonymous -

The US Post Office says, under 2.0 Content Standards for Media Mail Parcels -- 'Playscripts and manuscripts for books, periodicals, and music' are eligible for Media Mail.

See the regulations at
http://pe.usps.com


JoB