I read (First Five Pages, Noah Lukeman) that seeing italics in a manuscript is cause for an agent to ditch the manuscript immediately into the "delete" bin.
My m/s uses italics heavily, not for emphasis in sentences as many writers do, but to transmit understanding that we are now inside a character's head, either thinking, or communicating telepathically. If I remove the italics, it pulls the reader entirely out of my characters' heads and onto the sidewalk, observing rather than experiencing. I am very hesitant to change everything over. However, the point of the whole thing is to sell my story, and if nobody will read the m/s because they see italics, then I have not accomplished what I set out to do and the whole thing is pointless. Please, do you have any helpful insights here?
This is advice that falls right into the "are you out of your mind" bin.
I've seen some other advice credited to this book ("Send your queries by Fed Ex! for attention!") that is also bin material.
I'm not sure if "no italics" was ever the case but it sure isn't now.
For starters, since everything is electronic, changing format is no big deal. For finishers, EVERY SINGLE agent I know, have heard of, worked with, heard tell of, or otherwise poured in to a cab after a night of revels is looking for projects they can sell. If it happens to arrive in ALL italic font, well, that's not good, but it sure as hell isn't going to stop me from reading it.
Yes, it's a smart idea to format your work properly but last I looked that meant the following:
1. TNR or Courier
2. 12 point
3. White space in email pages
3.5 Double space on .doc attachments
4. 1" margin in .doc attachments
5. Page numbers on .doc attachments
6. Name/TITLE upper right header in .doc attachments
You'll notice it doesn't say anything about BOLD, italic, underline or
And honestly, I've had people (clients even!) who've sent me stuff that was so oddly formatted I ran it through Google translate to see if it was actually in English, and even then all I did was send it back and say "hey, no fancy shenanigans here, plain old TNR and light on the interrobangs."
And why the HELL are you reading a book on how to submit queries that is 13 years old? The ONE thing that has changed a lot in 13 years is how authors query. (Hint: electronically)
Quit worrying about this.