COME ON GUYS!
I WEAR PROGRESSIVE LENSES.
Yes. You heard me correctly. But what does this have to do with you, you ask? I cannot tell you just how many times I open a submitted piece–query, partial, or full–and my eyes cross. They literally fling themselves into the corners of my eyes in protest to the mass wall of text on my screen. The last thing we both want is for my head to begin screaming and my eyes to not focus on your words. The words you labored over. The ones you are hoping to draw an agent in.
Trust me. You want me to focus. This is not the time to get fancy or wing it. This is when you show that you know your craft and that you can follow directions. Because to be honest, when a sub comes in unformatted, all I can think about is how much time the editing will take. Sometimes this is a difference between a “no” and a “request”.
Industry standards are clear on how to format your writing: Times New Roman, 12 point font, double-space, 1″ margins, first line tab .5 setting.
There is a standard for a reason.
I know there are times where email can be a fickle mistress, but that is easily fixed. I often suggest to copy and paste your text into the body of an email and send it to yourself. See what it looks like. IF you formatted your manuscript the correct way in Word, Pages, Scrivener, etc., the more likely you won’t have any issues when you hit send.