Contemporary Romance Author
Allyson Lindt

...is a full-time geek and a fuller-time contemporary romance author. She likes her stories with sweet geekiness and heavy spice, because cubicle dwellers need love too. She loves a sexy happily-ever-after and helping deserving cubicle dwellers find their futures together.

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Keyboard (I’ve been asked this question a few times, and I always kind of fumble my way through the answer, so I thought I’d try and streamline the process and hopefully it will be useful to some of you ūüôā This is for all of you querying authors out there — whether your submitting to agents or publishers — who struggle with the question… “How do I paste 50 pages of manuscript into an email and have it stay readable?” So, you’re querying your novel, and the submission guidelines say “Paste the first xx pages/chapters into the body of the email. Attachments will not be opened.” And you copy all those pages to your clipboard, and then go to paste, and *bam!* massive mess in your email. These instructions were written using Gmail as a reference, because that’s what I use, but if you follow the Internet Explorer instructions, it should work with any email program. Here’s what you do instead:
  1. Copy the part of the manuscript you’re sending into a new Word document. This is so you don’t accidentally delete or modify your existing manuscript, because…Eep! That would be more than the suck. Save it with a new name like MANUSCRIPT_PAGES1-50.doc (or whatever will tell you what it is).
  2. In Word, either use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+H, or on the Home tab, on the far right side, click Replace.
  3. In the new window that comes up, in the box that says¬†Find what:¬†put:¬†^p (this is the mark that indicates a new paragraph). In the box that says¬†Replace with: put ^p^p (you’re replacing one paragraph break with two.) Then click the button that says¬†Replace All.
  4. If you don’t have any other formatting in your document (either bold or italic words) you can skip the next step, and go to step 7
  5. If you have italics, you’ve got two choices at this point. Either replace them manually once you’ve pasted the text into your email (only recommended if you only have a few instances of italics.) However, if you have a lot of italics:
    1. Go back into the Replace window. In Find what: leave it blank.
    2. In Replace with:  put _^&_
    3. Click on the More >> button to expand this window (if you see a button that says <<Less do not click it, the window is already expanded).
    4. Click on Format -> Font
    5. Under Font style choose Italic
    6. Click OK then click Replace All. This will add an underscore to the beginning and end of every italicized section in your manuscript.
  6. If you have bolded words, you’ve got two choices at this point. Either replace them manually once you’ve pasted the text into your email (only recommended if you only have a few instances of bolded words.) However, if you have a lot of bolded words:
    1. Go back into the Replace window. In Find what: leave it blank.
    2. In Replace with:  put *^&*
    3. Click on the More >> button to expand this window (if you see a button that says <<Less do not click it, the window is already expanded).
    4. Click on Format -> Font
    5. Under¬†Font style choose¬†Bold¬†(unselect Italic if it’s still selected)
    6. Click OK then click Replace All. This will add an asterisk to the beginning and end of every italicized section in your manuscript.
  7. Highlight everything in the document that you want to email (either select Ctrl+A or on the right side of the Home tab, choose Select -> Select All
  8. Copy the text to your clipboard using Ctrl+C  or by clicking Copy on the left side of the Home tab
  9. If you have a Chrome web browser, open a new email message, right click in the body of the message, and choose¬†Paste as plain text.¬†If you’re using Internet Explorer, you’ll need to open a Notepad document and paste the text in there first. Then copy it all from Notepad, and paste it into the body of your email (this removes any formatting that Internet Explorer tries to helpfully add for you).
This should make your sample pages easy for an agent or publisher to read in the body of an email, and you won’t have to stress over whether or not your formatting copied correctly from Word.