When you send your manuscript in some sort of crazy ass format as though it's a printed book
*justified right margins
*drop cap on the first sentence in a chapter
or you just don't pay attention
*two spaces between words
*interchangeable single and double quote marks.
or you don't know how to use the tools in your word processing program
Example: This sentence is going along nicely, and you think the end of the page
is coming up so you hit return at the end of "page", instead of waiting. That puts a return in the middle of a sentence if I change the font or the size of the font. If you let the program do it, you can adjust font/size with no problem. See below.
Example: This sentence is going along nicely, and you think the end of the page is coming up so you hit return at the end of "page", instead of waiting. If you let the program do it instead you end up with what I've written here.
*Thank you Kate for asking the question that showed me this needed clarification.
*hitting returns to mark page breaks rather than using the "insert page break" command
*Using five spaces rather than the tab key
*Using the tab key instead of the command for "indent first line by five spaces"
I have two choices: send it back to you with a blunt "fix this" or do it myself.
Update: I should mention here that I don't care if hire someone to fix this stuff. I don't care who does it as long as it's Not Me. If you know this kind of formatting thing is a weakness, get help. I'm not going to make you pass a test on formatting to sign you. I'm ONLY going to read your pages.
Often times it's just easier to do it myself since it's clear you don't know how or didn't care enough to proof read. Plus, I discover these things when I'm reading your requested full, and I'd rather just read it and see what you've got.
So, sometimes I'll overlook this.
Cause I'm not stupid.
Write well enough and I (or more likely you) can hire someone to fix this stuff.
But the kicker is write well enough.
And the hurdle for how well you have to write goes up every time I have to adjust/fix/correct anything.
The baseline hurdle is you have to write as well or better than the front list books currently on the shelf.
That means if you write crime, you have to be as good or better than Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly etc.
I don't expect you to be better than Patrick Lee. I'm not insane.
Or Lee Child.
But you've got to be playing in the big leagues to have a shot at being published.
Making stupid formatting errors raises that hurdle.
Don't set yourself an impossible leap by being careless with formatting.
If you need to, get a second set of eyes on your ms.
Make sure you know what standard formatting IS, and use it.
If you don't know, ASK.