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Useable Word Document?

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Useable Word Document?

Postby Neurolanis » Sun May 25, 2008 3:51 pm

Okay, I am in the process of sending a query to selected agents. The snag is, I can't be certain that all the agents have software compatible with 2007 Word. I remember that computers, or was it Word itself, used to come with a simpler document option? My computer doesn't have one but I'm wondering if there is one I might download somewhere? I seem to remember my old computer having a basic Word 2000 option or something..
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Postby Qray » Sun May 25, 2008 10:46 pm

There are quite a few Word Processors out there that will save a document in different formats.

I'd think the first step would be to contact the agents you're interested in submitting your work to and see what format they want it in.
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Postby aldan » Wed May 28, 2008 11:48 am

This is just a guess, but I'd think that a publisher would have a pretty updated version of publishing software, or at least would be able to receive articles published in that software. It could be, though, that most really small, garage-type publishers would not necessarily have the really updated versions. I'd suggest that you do as Q suggested so that you may find out. It may take extra time, but in the end should be worth it.
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Postby Qray » Wed May 28, 2008 1:13 pm

The one thing about literary agents and publishers is that even though they may have the capability to read a document in different formats, they usually only accept a submission if it's in the format they require. In many cases, an agent may get so many submissions, they don't have time for ones that aren't submitted correctly.

Most, if not all, literary agents have submission guidelines on their Web Sites. For example, if you check out the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency Site you'll see a link for Submission Guidelines right on the front page.

It's up to you, Neuro, but I'd find out what each agent's submission guidelines are first. MS Word can save in different formats and usually will be able to save in a older format of Word. If however you find that you need to save a document in a format your word processor doesn't save in, we can find you a freeware WP that will.

Q-tip : By mentioning Ethan Ellenberg I in no way endosre his agency. It just happened to be a convienent Web Site to show how to find and agent's submission guidelines. Always, always, always research an agent before sending them money. Groups like the sfwa sponsered Writer Beware are good sources for researching an agent.
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Postby Neurolanis » Sat May 31, 2008 7:43 am

Thanks for your advice. :)

Yeah, I think I'll just include it as part of the e-mail message for now and only attach it if required. Often the agents' requirements for submission are surprisingly short and sweet, well not so sweet really as they can leave much open for interpretation. One agent (agency) I submitted to recently had guidelines which simply said, "Send your query material to..." or something like that. Very unspecific.

I have been doing background checks on them, and need to make sure I keep doing that. I can see myself being so excited when I get a call from an 'agent' that my reasoning might hop out the door. :lol: So I need to do that work before submitting to them.

I believe I already applied to the agency you mentioned, Qray, and didn't hear back from them (and yes I do realize you weren't suggesting them.) Just as well perhaps, too big might mean not enough attention for you. I found one agent that I really liked, the spitting image of Q from Star Trek actually. Had a good feeling about him. Problem was, he only accepted a query letter and said to mention your publication history. In other words, he only wants to deal with published authors. There are some that do say they deal with unpublished writers, I only hope they are good agents.
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Postby The Master » Sat May 31, 2008 12:42 pm

To answer the general questions, with Word being the defacto standard for business documents it is unlikely that any agent/publisher worth you talking to would be unable to open a Word document, even the new version (there is a free update that lets you open them with past versions of Word). The simple format you are probably thinking of is Rich Text Format (*.rtf) which can be opened by serveral different programs. I don't have Word 2007 but would think it would work like past versions in that you "save as" and make that the "save as type" selection. Notice that Word can also save as plain text (*.txt)...you lose all formatting but some might want it in that format.

Be that as it may, the best advice remains "submit exactly what they ask you to submit". Many agents and publishers will simply reject incorrect submissions out of hand. If you can't tell what they want send a short email asking for instructions. I'm sure they will be more than happy to help you :)

Good luck with your search!
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Postby Neurolanis » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:38 pm

Thanks, I have been using just the body of the email to for the query, synopsis and sample material. Always as requested, of course.
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