Monday, September 21, 2009

Why you need to put your contact info on your manuscript. (Aside from the obvious DUH factor!)

Intern A read a query for us. Said query was received via snail mail. Intern A liked query and, upon asking one of the agents here at FinePrint for guidance, asked to see more. Intern A received partial. Liked partial. Asked to see full manuscript. Full manuscript did not arrive in a time manner (yet another strike against sending paper queries). Intern A's internship is up, She leaves, and moves onto job elsewhere. Intern B has replaced Intern A. Some weeks go by. Seasons pass. Colleen's hair begins to turn grey. THEN SUDDENLY!!!!! Previously requested manuscript shows up. Addressed to nobody in particular. But Intern B figures out that this is requested material, and takes it to Agent Z, who asks Intern B to read it and make notes. Intern B really likes manuscript; writes up a great deal of feedback, returns manuscript to Agent Z. Agent Z looks over manuscript and feedback, thinks Intern B is dead-on and sits down at her desk to email/phone author of mysterious manuscript...and discovers that there is no contact information on any part of the manuscript. Not a phone number. Not an email. Not a PO Box or street address. Just the author's name, which is of no help at all.

So, in the future, dear authors. take heed: Put your contact info on the front page. Then, for the love of all that is holy, put your contact info in the header or footer OF EVERY SINGLE PAGE OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT! Because pages get separated. Interns leave. Email sometimes gets deleted. Agents have brain farts. (Hey, it happens.) Prepare yourself for every eventuality by putting your name, phone and email on every single page of your manuscript.

Okay, then.

Now, if anyone out there in the blogosphere knows someone named Christy Humphrey who writes YA fantasy, would you please have him (or her) email Suzie at FinePrint? Thank you.

15 comments:

Mandy said...

Great advice! I have a cover page, but I've never thought to put my contact info in the footer. Crap! I will hastily add said info to Every. Single. Page.

Alena Thomas said...

Unbelievable! I cannot imagine not putting my name on my manuscript after all the blood, sweat and tears that went into it. "Christy" is fortunate your agency went to so much trouble for her/him!

stopdropandplot said...

Like Mandy, I've got a title page with my contact info but it hadn't occurred to me to add it to the headers and the footers. Currently rethink that. Thanks.

susiej said...

Thanks for the tip! Oh, I sure hope you find Christy. I'm sending out some good Karma for him/her right now.

Travener said...

I posted this on the Absolute Write Water Cooler. Hopefully she's an addict and/or knows someone who is.

I assume this is not the Canadian Chris Humphreys who has published several YA fantasies.

www.thebiglitowski.blogspot.com

KayKayBe said...

Ooh! OOh! I'm Christy Humphrey- or I will be once I get this name change done. Want to see my OTHER novel? LOL Seriously, I hope you find her and good luck!

Mandy- you're going to edit your footer so that it will magically appear on every page, not type it manually, right? -Kelly

Rhyanna said...

Hi Colleen, or do you prefer Ms. Lindsay...have to get it right.
Now on my manuscripts I always have
full contact info, name:address:phone-Email, alternate Email...Now on the main pages of the manuscript are my full name, title of manuscript and page number in the header...no footer...
so do you want address, phone number in header and/or footer?

Sorry...need to go purchase some caffeine...where's the bus tickets...

Sonya L Volkhardt said...

You know, in an odd sort of way, this is actually a very encouraging thing to read. You're willing to chase after someone who's written a good book!

Aimee said...

Okay, fair enough and it sounds like great advice, but what do you do when you read the submission guidelines and it tells you how to format the manuscript, and nowhere does it say to put that in the header or the footer?

Sometimes, I get so hung up on the instructions... fear of not following the guidelines, it freezes me in making a move to submit.

leesmiley said...

Maybe something similar to that happened to me. I sent a full manuscript to an agent, on request, last May and never heard from said agent again, despite three or four follow-up emails to check the status. Nothing in my spam filter, either.

Over a year later and I'm still trying to figure that one out.

P.A.Brown said...

Interesting. I was always told put only your last name and a partial of the title (if it was a long title) and the page number in the header. Makes sense in what you're saying but I would have never thought of it and every article I've read on submitting manuscripts says keep the header simple.

Something I will remember in the future.

Russ Josephs said...

Whoops, did not know that. Just put mine on the title page. Good to know.

BronzeWord said...

Hi, Great advice. Something I tell clients all the time. However with concerning the putting contact info on bottom of page, I used to do that until an an editor at the University of Madison, Wisconsin said no way Jose don't look like an amateur. As usual advice differs.
I'll be tweeting this on @LatinoBookNews
Jo Ann Hernandez
BronzeWord Latino Authors

http://authorslatino.com/wordpress

Jeff said...

If only...

Alas, the door swings both ways.

Author sends query to Agent M, because Agent M is really cool and has the power to dispense double-oh status. Agent M never responds. Author sends follow-up. Agent M never responds. Author moves on. Agents N, O and P offer suggestions for revisions. Author begins work on revision. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Agent M responds, likes query, would like to see partial.

Author explains, a rewrite is in process, she could send a partial after rewrite is complete, if M is still interested. M responds, months later, that yes, he would like to see the partial. So author sends partial, as requested, with complete contant information.

Months pass. Followups are sent.

More months pass.

Alas and alack.

Now, this author is not accusing any one agent. This author currently has 4 partials out for months with agents who won't respond to emails queries. Present company excepted. It just seems to be, shall we say, the nature of the agentorial beast. Authors do stupid things to piss off agents. Agents do stupid things to piss off authors. And the children of Israel grumble against Moses, ever and anon.

Jeff said...

Leesmiley seems to have run into this the Bermuda Triangle, too. Let the compass spin.