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  • Some submission queries
    by Michael_PD at 09:51 on 06 March 2007
    A few little basic nuts-and-bolts points are bothering me on covering letters and sample chapters. Small things but they might be rather important. Others may be asking the same questions, so anyone who can shed some light on them it would be very welcome.

    How should the sample chapters be bound? Paper clips? Staples?
    Should the “title page” of the novel be included?

    If like me you have some articles published in magazines, should you name the magazine and give the subject matter of the articles?
    Should I mention my age, occupation and experience (a mini CV)?

    As I said, basic stuff but these little things may mean a lot to some agents!

    I may think of more....

  • Re: Some submission queries
    by EmmaD at 10:06 on 06 March 2007
    Michael, don't bind them in any way (paperclips drive some agents nuts, and staples others) just loose pages, and if the stack's unwieldy, put an elastic band round it. I don't think title page or not is crucial. I think I usually put one in, if only because it protects the first page and gives you somewhere to put name, address and wordcount for when they lose your covering letter.

    With publishing credits, I'd be inclined to mention generally in your covering letter that you've had articles published (i.e. someone other than your mother likes your writing enough to pay you for it), and then have a separate page with a mini-CV which is pretty light on anything not relevant to writing - the name-address stuff, then minimal listing of education and jobs, except where they're relevant to your novel, and a list of publication in some form like: 'title of article' in title of magazine (date).

  • Re: Some submission queries
    by Michael_PD at 10:23 on 06 March 2007
    Thanks Emma!

    Priceless advice

  • Re: Some submission queries
    by Michael_PD at 16:24 on 06 March 2007
    In the best tradition of Colombo, just one more thing……my pen name is ever so slightly different from my real name (the addition of my mother’s surname, hyphenated).

    Some sources suggest keeping the pen name on the manuscript and writing the cover letter and CV in my real name - because the agent will then understand that the novel is written in a pen name. But I am wondering whether I should mention this in the cover letter, to be clear.
  • Re: Some submission queries
    by Account Closed at 16:30 on 06 March 2007
    Agents are funny creatures, aren't they? I read that particularly hated is paper clipping chapters together - i would have thought this ideal, the sheets aren't permanently bound and it's clear where the chapters are...

    but then what do i know...

  • Re: Some submission queries
    by rogernmorris at 17:48 on 06 March 2007
    Michael, if I were you I wouldn't get into the two name thing. Pick one and stick with it, otherwise it will confuse them and make them think there's something odd here.

    If I were you, I would use your real name for now, then, when you have the publisher, tell them that you want to publish it under a pen-name.
  • Re: Some submission queries
    by Dee at 17:56 on 06 March 2007
    Paperclips can pick up things that don’t belong to them, which is one of the reasons agents don’t like them. They know where they are with elastic bands.

  • Re: Some submission queries
    by mariaharris at 21:19 on 06 March 2007
    Or loose pages. I don't think I used elastic bands for any submission of a partial (which was always under 50 pages).
  • Re: Some submission queries
    by EmmaD at 23:31 on 06 March 2007
    Yes, it's because paperclips eat other things - and ping off when you try to read the chapter - that they hate them.

    No, you don't need elastic bands for a partial, but I would for a full MS. Though 3 chapters of TMOL was getting on for 90 pages, which gets awkward to handle.

    Yes, I'd agree with Roger - stick to your own name for now.

  • Re: Some submission queries
    by Michael_PD at 08:01 on 07 March 2007
    Thanks for these replies.

    The paper clip thing makes sense. As an ex civil servant I remember the annoyance of paperclips latching onto loose papers, and wondering what a stationary requisition was doing attached to the minutes of a meeting!

  • Re: Some submission queries
    by EmmaD at 10:24 on 07 March 2007
    The paper clip thing makes sense. As an ex civil servant

    Of course, instead of the elastic band you could always tie it up with pink (aka red) tape. My father was a civil servant, and we always had bits of it lying around at home...

  • Re: Some submission queries
    by RT104 at 09:14 on 08 March 2007
    Or a nice red ribbon like on a barrister's brief. Pink ribbon, perhaps, for romance. A nice plastic wallet with Scooby Doo on it for children's fiction. The possibilities are endless.

  • Re: Some submission queries
    by EmmaD at 09:31 on 08 March 2007
    How about a lovely barrister's silk bag, complete with tassels?

  • Re: Some submission queries
    by Sappholit at 09:00 on 10 March 2007
    I tied my last full ms request with a pink ribbon from my dressing gown cos I'd run out of elastic bands.

    Agent thought it was a gift and took it home for her daughter. Still, I couldn't really say, 'The ribbon is from my dressing gown. Please return.'
  • Re: Some submission queries
    by anelma at 15:40 on 14 March 2007
    The advice I've heard regarding pen names is to write something like this under your signature (in the cover letter): "writing as Jane Doe". This has come from the US, though, so UK conventions might be different. I did this in a couple of submissions, simply because I thought my strange-sounding name might frighten the agents;-D But I think I won't mention the pen name issue in future submissions, just to avoid misunderstandings and misconceptions.
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