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.
(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.)