I noticed you mentioned TNR 12-pt. font. At Seattle's PNWA conference in August, a book doctor told me to switch my manuscripts from TNR to Courier.Question: Which font should I use in manuscript pages sent to agents (assuming a particular font is not specified in the guidelines)
Got any advice, oh wise sage of the Publish-o-sphere?
A: a literary agent says Times New Roman
B: A book doctor says Courier
Which one is right?
A or B?
Let's try another one:
Question: Do you need to know someone in publishing, ie have connections, to secure representation by a literary agent?
A: a literary agent says no
B: the authors in a survey are divided; some say yes, some say no
Still not sure?
One more, just for fun.
Question: If you want to find out who the agent is for a book (and it's not listed in the acknowledgements or dedication) should you call the publisher and ask for the editor of the book?
A: A switchboard operator at RandomHouse says "one moment, please" and drops you into the publicity department voice mail.
B. The switchboard operator at PenguinPutnam says "one moment, please" and drops you into the subrights department's voice mail.
C. An industry blog says "yes, the editor's assistant will be happy to tell you."
Still not sure of the right answer?
Here's the key: follow the advice of the person who actually DOES the job that you're asking questions about.
Don't follow some goofball book doctor's advice about query letters instead of an agent's.
Don't follow some unknown author's prognostications about how agents choose clients instead of an agent's.
Don't follow some well-intentioned but bone-headed advice from people who don't actually answer the phone at a publishing company.
It galls me to no end to see people slavishly following misguided instructions about query letters given by people who don't work in a literary agency, don't read queries, and don't know anything beyond their own experience.
It galls me further to see people repeat things as gospel which are absolutely and totally wrong; things they heard were true from people who don't work in literary agencies, don't sign clients and don't have the first clue about how this works (but have a lot of experience in how it doesn't.)
And it amuses the hell out of me to see people tell you to call publishers to ask for information.
Publishers are not in retail or reader customer service. They're also not the library. Their job is NOT to provide writers with information about agents.
I won't tell you how to write good novels, if you'll stop telling people how to get an agent. Deal?
Answers: A, A, and none of the above