Numpty Gong

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Jay Aitch

Aug 29, 2014
West Midlands, UK
I have just realised how stupid I have been over recent years.

In my numerous attempts to submit manuscripts via email I have created the submission letter via Apple Pages or Microsoft Word, then copied and pasted. Of course that has created odd formatting issues in the New Message window, but I assumed (ass-alert) it would read perfectly well at the 'other end'.

I have just read that this is not so and what I have sent has likely been utter nonsense, which may (or may not) have been a contributing factor to my ever-growing rejection box.

I wonder, has anyone else made such a faux pas, and does anyone know if it would be worth resubmitting submissions correctly?
Yes - I compiled from Scrivener to ms word. I still had to edit through the whole manuscript before submitting to make sure things were in order. I found the quotes were different and just used the replace function to make this change which was simple enough but didn't recognise that for a while.

I don't like using 2 different platforms anymore not even open office because I just don't trust the transfer at all.

To be safe I submit everything on MS word only after I've checked through it completely.

As for resubmitting - I don't see the harm. I did resubmit a MS after making changes using an online submission form for Curtis Brown and the first time it was submitted was a form / standard rejection. The second time I resubmitted their website recongised that I had already submitted the same document and refused my submission so I had to change the title slightly to allow the resubmission to go through. I got a more detailed and personal rejection which was far more encouraging than the first time I submitted 12 months previously. So I know that I am doing something right by way of improving the manuscript. Still a way to go.
If you use Notepad, TextEdit, or whatever version of text document your OS uses, you won't have to worry about massive formatting issues on the other end. A few may still sneak in, but they'll be far less messy. Word and Pages (but Word especially!) adds a ton of code when you copy and paste. It only shows up in the HTML, so even if you *think* you've corrected all the formatting in the text box or email body, you have not.

Best thing to do is take whatever you're submitting and copy and paste it from Word or Pages into a rich text file. Fix anything in that document, and *then* copy and paste the text into the submission form or email.

As for resubmitting, most agents have a way to keep track of submissions and they will know you've already sent it in. Although some have had luck with getting it past them a second time, I'm not sure I'd advise chancing it. I once forgot to add contact info in an email submission and like a dolt, sent the same submission a second time, admitting I hadn't added the contact info the first time. It was an automatic rejection. Following directions the *first* time is important. :)

I doubt your submissions looked like utter nonsense on their end. At the worst, the paragraphs were off, or they ran together, but it's the content they're reading. I would imagine by now most agents understand that formatting can get wonky when copying and pasting from one platform to another, and would hope they have enough common sense not to reject based on that alone.
A tip from an agent was to send a trial e-mail to yourself first to see what it looks like at the 'other end'. I would resubmit - why not? Worse that could happen is they say no. ;) Good luck!
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