I am putting together my first agent query for Sigils of the Forgotten! Hurray! Now it’s time to obsess over email formatting!

Thank goodness for this blog:

The Swivet [Colleen Lindsay]: Reader Question: "How do I format emailed pages in a query?"

And this one!

Literary Rambles: How Do I Format My E-Query?

When I was querying agents in 2008, it seemed like everyone just wanted query letters and nothing else. But this time, my top four agents are all asking for queries plus the first few pages of the manuscript. And now I’m getting all flustered about how to format them.

Just to get my thoughts in order, here’s how I understand it.

Query Letters

  • Single spaced
  • No indents at the start of paragraphs.
  • Double line breaks between paragraphs.
  • Opens with Dear [AGENT’S LAST NAME]:
  • Ends with your contact information
  • Plain text, with no special formatting (which, of course, tends to come over when you copy/paste from Microsoft Word or something similar.)

Partial Manuscripts and Synopses

  • Make it readable.
  • Follow the agent’s guidelines if they have them.

But wait! That’s not enough detail! I’m assuming that they want me to follow the “old” manuscript formatting rules–basically, the old rules that have lingered on since the days of typewritten queries and snail mail. Namely:

  • 12pt Times New Roman font
  • Double-spaced
  • Standard indents at the start of every paragraph

(There’s a lot more to it, but things like indentation and header information don’t really matter if you’re copy/pasting your stuff into an email.)

But the basic “old style formatting” is explained here.

I’m just worried that I might be wrong. But I haven’t seen anything to the contrary, just a lot of “please strip the formatting out so someone can actually read it.”

Yeah, I’m probably obsessing. I can’t help it. I will probably obsess over every tiny detail of this entire process.