The first step in submitting electronically is to KNOW WHAT THE AGENT or EDITOR WANTS.
Read each specific editor or agent’s guidelines to see whether to send a query only, query with sample pages, query with synopsis and sample pages, and for the latter two, how many pages. Usually, you’ll be pasting into an email or form versus using attachments.
Next, PREPARE for PASTING the REQUESTED INFORMATION into the body of an email or into a form. A form will have separate boxes for different info. In email, it will all go into the body of an email. You can easily separate your query letter from synopsis and synopsis from manuscript by using returns (enters) and ten or more dashes.
- Write your query letter in Word and save it.
- Ditto with your synopsis, if required. Some agents or editors will specify how many pages of a synopsis they want. Others won’t. It’s good to have several versions, such as one page and three pages.
- Go to your manuscript and copy the number of pages requested and paste into a new document. Make sure you end your last page on a full line. It’s better to be short than have a partial line. (Of course, you are using standard manuscript format.) I like saving different length page samples with the number of pages in the title-it makes for future ease of use.
Third, open your email or the form. As appropriate, copy your letter, manuscript pages, and synopsis one at a time and paste into the form or email. Remember, for email dashes and a blank line are good separators.
Don’t stress if your pasted in manuscript loses centering for title and chapters. It won’t look perfect. However, I’ve found both yahoo and gmail work fairly well. If in doubt as to how your email will look when sent, you can always send a sample to a friend as a test although it still may not match exactly what the agency or publishing house receives unless your friend uses the same mail service.
In email, type an appropriate subject. E.g. Query – Red River, Query SCBWI Oregon Conference, etc. Use whatever the agent or editor has requested. If they don’t specify, putting the word Query and type of submission is helpful. It doesn’t hurt to put your manuscript title.
Lastly, double-check that all your information, including the subject line looks all right. Or for a form that you have filled in all the boxes.
When you are ready to go, enter in the TO: email address for email and send. For forms, choose “submit.” (Multiple page forms might have “continue” before you can submit.
SUBMITTING a QUERY with an ATTACHMENT
In the rare case, you may be able to send an attachment. Usually a Word document is requested. Your most recent or your current version of Word is fine. MAC users, never send a Pages document unless it is requested. If someone requests a PDF, but you can’t print to PDF or don’t have a PDF maker, download PrimoPDF. It’s free and easy to use. If you have questions, feel free to put them in the comments.
Nathan Bransford, former agent, author says in How to Format an Email Query: “Note that I did not begin with the recipient’s address or my address or the date, as that is not customary for an e-mail.”
How to Format an Email Query for Literary Agents – Seven Tips says: “…so start your subject line with the word ‘Query.’ . . . After the word query, list your book title and genre or category.”