Dear Miss Snark,

Should query letters be single or double spaced? Does it matter?

I've been reading up on how to format queries, synopses and manuscripts, and I'm getting totally confused by conflicting advice from different books and websites. Two Writer's Digest books disagree on line-spacing for queries, and both make it sound like theirs is the only correct format.

I suspect like a lot of neophytes I'm getting balled up in trivia, but there is an overwhelming feeling that I've only got one shot, so I'd better get it right.

Thank you,

A query letter is a business letter. Single spaced.

If you include pages (and you should unless otherwise instructed) those are manuscript pages. Those are double spaced.

Anyone who says different is just plain wrong.

And yes it does matter. Send manuscript pages single spaced and I'll know you don't know what you're doing. It's also very hard to read which means you better have a gripping first sentence cause that's about all I'm going to look at.

This applies ONLY to print. Email submissions are formatted for email.


ORION said...

Repeat after me.

It will answer all those questions.

That and Miss Snark

Kerry Allen said...

Or you could use some common sense. A one page query letter, double spaced? That would give you, what, 3 lines to sum up your story? Your hook better be DAMN good in that case...

Anonymous said...

"This applies ONLY to print. Email submissions are formatted for email."

What do you mean? How are email submissions formatted?

Terry Odell said...

If I send an e-query, I copy and paste what I would have sent by snail mail, but I don't do any fancy-font letterhead stuff. I simply include the pertinent information in the same format as the rest of the letter.

And, going back a couple of posts down: "we'll get back to you if we like you"

I just sent an email query (the only way the agent wants them) to an agent. Her website says 1-3 days response time on queries. I heard back same day with a request for a partial. Her cover email for that says I'll hear that it was received within 48 hours; if not, assume it got lost and please resubmit. I got confirmation my partial was received within an hour, and it includes a projected response date, with permission to follow up if I haven't heard by then.

THAT'S professional. And it doesn't seem that hard to do.

Anonymous said...

Uh, this doesn't have anything to do with this question, but what happened to the post about the April conference? Did Killer Yapp eat it?

Martha Bridegam said...

Single or double spacing, then, on a table of contents outline for a nonfiction work?