How to Lose Agents and Frustrate Editors

You finished your pride and glory. Now’s the time to tell all those agents and publishers just how damn good it is. A sure bet. The best book they ever read. Here’s how to annoy and pester agents and editors until they relent and publish your marvelous manuscript.

Don’t bother with the first pages or chapter, send them the whole novel. All five-hundred-pages. Be sure to make it UPS or FedEx and a sign on delivery. If you’re not up to plunking down the dough for the whole enchilada, then send the best chapters. You know which ones those are. It’s never the first one. Come on! You’re just warming up. How many other classic books have slow openings? Too many to count. So send a selection of your best chapters to amaze your prospective agent or editor.

Now, let’s talk about formatting. It’s not as important as you would think. We know how much paper costs these days, so don’t waste dead trees with double spacing. Try one-and-a-half or single spacing. That way you can squeeze that three-hundred-page novel down to one-hundred-and-fifty. Or, better yet, print on both sides of the paper. Then you can cut it down to seventy-five pages. Hey, you might just be able to afford to mail that bad boy.

Now, some of us might remember the good old days of typewriters. Yes, those things that printed without electricity. There, you needed to put two spaces after each period. Don’t ask me why. It was a barbaric age. Now with word processors, you don’t need to do this anachronistic task any more. The fonts are developed to look good with only a single space. But don’t worry, add two, three, or even four spaces after each sentence. Sure, it might bug agents, but at least it’ll get their attention.

Speaking of fonts, don’t shy away from frilly cursive fonts as chapter headers. You can even change your font from chapter to chapter. Get creative and make an impression.

As you write, make sure to dump all that exposition up front. The longer the paragraphs, the better. Yes word processors can auto-indent for you, but that’s too complex and hard to figure out. Just tab each paragraph. Or better yet, hit the space bar five times. Consistency rules. Plus, rather than page breaks, you could hit the carriage return enough times until you reach a new page.

Finally, let’s talk dialogue. “Said” is sooo boring, Why not spice things up with “announced,” “protested,” or “cajoled.” Editors love that sort of thing. It shows range. Sure, no other published writers do it, but that only makes you unique.

So are you ready? Heck yeah! Bundle up those pages—coffee stain and all—slap some stamps on it, and mail that sucker away. Yippee-kay-ay. You’re going to be published.

Tim Kane

(I do hope you realize these are list of things NOT to do. If you attempt these, prepare for the long lonely ride to rejection.)

12 comments on “How to Lose Agents and Frustrate Editors

  1. You certainly have a wry sense of humour! I think I like it!

  2. I love all of it, except the last sentence. I think you should have omitted it. If they’re too dense to know it’s a joke from your title, let them take it to heart and have the ultimate fail. Who needs more mentally challenged numb nuts lining bookstore selves with inferior product? Hahahahaha!!!!! *mischievous smile*

  3. […] Kane shows us how to lose agents and frustrate editors; Veronica Roth explores the author-reviewer relationship; and Jody Hedlund tells authors how to get […]

  4. So, you really are not supposed to double space after a period anymore? (No, I really want to know this, because for years that is what I learned in school) Also, you are not supposed to hit the tab button? Just clarifying.

    The rest was hilarious though. Loved it!

    • Word to my mother, that is the truth. I too took typwriting classes as a youth and had the double space drilled into me. Fortunately, I went into graphic design where the single space was then drilled in. Modern computers adjust the space between letters (kerning) and words to accommodate.

      Likewise, the tab was a left over from typewriters. Wordprocessing programs will allow you to indent each paragraph using the rulers or the format paragraph function. Set it up once and forget it. This also helps when converting it to ebook format.

  5. […] it off to an agent or editor.  I had first thought about it after reading one of Tim Kane’s post on what not to do when you  submit a manuscript.  I knew some of the things, like playing with […]

  6. says:

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  7. I thank you for this post, sir! Truth be told, I never thought to make each chapter title a different font. This is the most brilliant idea in the whole world. I am off to do ALL these things and then some. Color text? Wouldn’t that just be a gas? What if each character had a specific color when they spoke? That would make it easier for the editor to follow, right? Oh man, my manuscript just hit EPIC!

    p.s. Great post. There be a smile fixed on me face. And as a total noob I’m so glad I get the joke. 😉

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