10.10.2006

Staples

Hello,

I am sending out query letters to try to interest various university presses in my book. I am following their instructions to the tee. Sounds like a silly question but I need to know the answer. Can I staple any of the sample pages together? So far I am just separating various pages with colored paper, as I have done when sending out the entire manuscript. What about with query letters? Can I use staples?

Thanks,


No.
No colored paper either.

15 comments:

Sherry D said...

Most guidelines say that paperclips are acceptable but use the minimum. For instance, if you have three separate stories/ms/enclosures, use a paperclip only on the middle ms. In your cover letter, state you are sending three separate pieces. One editor suggested using Post-It notes with '1' '2' '3' on them, placed on the front pages of each ms instead of paperclips.

Ben W in PDX said...

I will never understand why people have such difficulty with not binding their pages... just put them in the envelope! Is it their need to control every little detail?

Rei said...

This letter reads as "joke" to me. Staples are bad enough, but certainly they're not so clueless to use colored paper. Right?

lizzie26 said...

Has to be a joke. Those two items--staples and colored paper--are highly NOT recommended on any writer's board. Or book.

If the manilla envelope is too big, and you're afraid the ms. will get shuffled around in there, one simple rubber band around the ms. will do the trick. Otherwise, don't worry. Just send it.

Heather said...

Ben, I would guess that people question the intelligence of the people they are submitting to. I mean, only intelligent people can figure out how to keep papers together, right?

Sherry D said...

Rei said... certainly they're not so clueless to use colored paper. Right?

It's the sign of a very new writer.
Everyone made stupid mistakes when we were that new. I did anyway.

shelby said...

The way I read it was that the submitter is dividing the submissions by inserting a piece of colored paper in between each sample, not actually printing on or using colored paper.

Terry said...

I think the colored paper refers to slipping a sheet of colored paper between the different stories/etc. This sounds like a carryover from contest instructions that specify separating the manuscript pages from the synopsis pages with a sheet of colored paper.

For requested partials, I just stick the dreaded synopsis at the end and hope by doing so the agent won't be tempted to find it and read it first. A sheet of colored paper seems to say, "hey, start here; it's shorter."

sundae best said...

I'm guessing this person works in the corporate world. Every week, I get at least one proposal or multi-part agreement that's been sectioned off with sticky notes wrapped over the top of each portion, or by colored paper sheets (goldenrod seems to be a favorite). Judging from most submission guidelines, literary agents don't care for these methods. But they don't mar pages with staple holes or paper clip furrows. For organizing important documents, you can't beat them.

Anonymous said...

She said she's following their instructions, but evidently not all presses indicate the answer about staples. However, the best advice I've heard: just follow the industry standards. No staples, no binding, no colored paper, no pretty envelopes, no fancy fonts, no colored ink, no stationary with teddy bears on it - nuttin' but white paper, black ink and paperclips. ;-) Don't worry about separating anything: that's why we put page-number/author-last-name/title-snippet in the header of each page of the sample. That way the cover/query letter and sample pages clearly differ.

Boring Is Good. Staples and colors bad. ;-)

P.S. Sorry for anonymous-ness, but I don't have a blog here.

CorporationABC said...

There's a post in the Snarkives that will give you a good idea of how MS manages her work flow and what her work space is like.

Unlike the corporate world, staples and colored paper in between different sections is, generally speaking, more of a hinderance than a help.

Jim Oglethorpe said...

Oh sweet, sweet binder clip. How I long for you.

Anonymous said...

Hey, uh, rei, chill out. You never made a mistake? You were born with the knowledge the professional standards of the publishing industry? The person was seeking information so that they don't make or repeat mistakes, and you want to antagonize them for that? Does it make you feel better about yourself to put down a newbie? You should try being helpful instead of acting like an ass. You remind me of a little girl in the schoolyard trying to impress the popular girls with how cool she is by making fun of some less fortunate soul. Self-awareness might be a stretch for you, but you should give it a try sometime.

wolfbarbie said...

Thanks, Anonymous, and others with straight answers. The question wasn't a joke. Appreciate the help and yes, I'm a newbie.

RB said...

This is definitely a natural tendency for new writers to want to compartmentalize, categorize, bind, clip, etc., their pages to make it easier, to have it arrive neater, etc., etc. We're taught this in grade school. It's natural.

My first manuscript was sent with each chapter neatly separated by color paper. To get around the chance it might get bounced in the mail, I put so many massive rubberbands around it, it could've bounced like a peeled golfball. And then, just to make sure it got there safely, I boxed it, wrapped at least a half roll of tape around said box, then shipped it off. Only to have it rejected.

Was it rejected because I made all the newbie mistakes? No. It wasn't ready. If an agent receives a gem packaged like that, she will curse you as she unwraps it, but she's still going to take a peak--just in case.

I still fight the urge to overpackage my manuscripts to my editor and agent. I want my babies to arrive safely. So even though my editor sends them to me with only one rubberband around the middle, horizontally, I still use two rubberbands. One vertical, one horizontal. Yeah, I like to live dangerously. ;-)

In truth, I wish there was a blog like this when I first started writing. Back then, blogs didn't exist. The internet barely existed. I've got several books out and I still don't know everything. That's why I read Miss Snark.