Writers Focus On Right Issues

I was answering an email question from someone about how to obtain a special font that some writers still like to use in their print book submissions.

After I’d written it, giving links to where the font could be obtained, I decided to say a bit more about the way writers tend to nitpick the most extraneous details.

Remember this: “No editor is going to reject you because you used a proportional font instead of a mono-spaced font.”

Old School

You see, back in the old days before computer word count was viewed as fairly reliable, writers computed the word count of a manuscript as being 250 words per page. Broken down that was 10 words per line with 25 lines on the page, etc. That was the easy rule of thumb method for approximate word count for book manuscripts.

Editors used a more complicated formula to arrive at something a more exact for the manuscripts they considered buying. Remember, these were manuscript pages typed using a non-proportional font where every letter took the same amount of space. That font yielded a manuscript that was easy on the editor's eyes and easy to compute using their secret formula.

New School

Today, all editors now recognize the computer count as being accurate. You even submit a computer file with your manuscript which makes editing and laying out as easy as pie.

If you’re submitting a hard copy, the main thing to be concerned with is the darkness and legibility of the font and the fact that it is a serif font printed on good quality paper.

If you’re submitting electronically, then you want a san serif font and one of adequate size, at least 12 point, because that’s easiest on the eyes when reading from an electronic device.

So I wouldn’t even sweat the issue. Anyone who tells you it has to be Dark Courier for a printed manuscript is wrong in today’s world.

Now, if an editor tells you: “I only read Dark Courier hard copy submissions,” then download the font. However, I’ve never heard of that happening. So use any of these for printed manuscripts: Courier in bold if that’s the way you need it to be dark enough, Garamond, Georgia, or Times New Roman.

If you’re submitting electronically: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, or any popular san seriff font. Again, make sure it’s a good readable size because editors and agents read a lot.

In fact, that's probably the number 1 rule: give them something easy to read because if they have to strain, they won't make the effort. They just send a rejection.

Takeaway Truth

Don’t nitpick on meaningless details. Nitpick about the quality of your writing.

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