I feel a strange kinship to this magnificent beast, which I attribute to the fact that both of us have injured ankles. Except that the poor horse has only a 50% survival rate due to the way his anatomy and physiology works. It's a true pity, and I really do hope he pulls through it, especially since his injury is way worse than mine, as you can see in the picture I have shamelessly stolen from the NY Times website.
My ankle is only sprained and has been so for the last two weeks, refusing to heal faster. Both Barbaro and I took bad steps; him on a racetrack and I walking down the stairs in my townhouse. I blame it entirely for my long hiatus from posting... I mean, doesn't everyone type with their feet? =)
Anyway, getting back to business, let's start off with a couple of questions that came to me via e-mail or the comments:
lon asks, via e-mail: At what stage of the submission process should an author add Dedications, Forewords, Afterwords, Acknowledgements, Appendices, etc.?(Basically all that stuff that isn't the story proper, but the author would like to see included in the finished product.) Should all this be attached when it goes to an editor/agent, or included the first time you send it after acceptance, or what? Are there any special formatting issues, such as page numbers that need to be addressed on the ms?
I personally feel that it's really amateurish to include such material with your submission to an agent. A foreword or an afterword could be included as part of the manuscript text, as could appendices, if it makes evaluating the book easier. But it really irks me when people send me their manuscripts with all their Dedications and Acknowledgments in place, as this usually isn't dealt with at all until the book has been sold for publication. Then it becomes an issue between the author and their editor, and the agent really doesn't deal with it tremendously. There are always, of course, exceptions to the rule. If you have written a biography of Queen Elizabeth II, and the Queen has graciously allowed you private access to documents and papers and helped you tremendously with the project, then it's perfectly acceptable to include an acknowledgement to the Queen with your manuscript, since she is in a sense endorsing your book. But if your great-uncle Bob read your manuscript, I don't really need to know about it.
In terms of manuscript formatting, I prefer the standards set forth here and here (click on the next page link at the bottom for the information). It makes it easier on my eyes, and when I have to send your manuscript out, it's already in standard format. For word counts, I don't mind if you give me the one from Microsoft Word, but be sure to round it to the nearest hundred or thousand words. I don't need to know that there are 92,054 words in your novel, since those extra fifty-four words don't really matter. =) You can just as easily say 92,000 words.
Harry Connolly asks: I have a followup to Laurel's question: How many of your clients came to you through cold queries?
With the exception of two of my clients who are friends of mine, and who are collaborating on one project, all of my clients have been pulled from the slush pile. It's the lifeblood of our business, literally.
The enchanting and enlightening post about query letters will come later tonight, but for the moment, I'm off to heat up my dinner. I'm also going to be adding some side links to the blog, including conventions and conferences that I'll be attending this year, and links to my clients' websites, if they currently have one.