The getting-a-book-published basics, part XI: a few more observations on offer-acceptance etiquette, and a cautionary tale

lily tomlin operator

There I was, peacefully enjoying some well-deserved rest this weekend, when a prime specimen of that species so justly dreaded by writers, the hobgoblins of self-doubt, abruptly pulled up a pillow and sat down on my bed. “Um, Anne?” the wily fellow asked, playfully poking at my cat with his tail. “You know those last couple of posts about what to say and do when an agent calls and offers representation. What if some gifted writer out there mistakenly believes that the questions you recommended are the only ones it’s polite, reasonable, and necessary to ask?”

I yanked the pillow out from under him. “Demon Joe,” — that’s the name of the hobgoblin who specializes in tormenting advice-giving bloggers in the dead of night, so you’ll know should you ever run into him — “Author! Author!’s readers are much, much smarter than that. They know that just as every manuscript requires different revision, and that every book category requires a slightly different kind of agent, every offer from an agent and every subsequent conversation will differ. Now unhand my cat and get out of here.”

Demon Joe slithered across the comforter until he was nose-to-nose with me. “Perhaps. But did you talk about what a writer’s supposed to say if she has manuscripts out with other agents at the time that she receives the offer?

“I talked about that indirectly,” I said defensively, extracting my cat’s tail from Joe’s grasp. “Last weekend, when I was discussing what to do if an agent asks for an exclusive while another agent is already reading the manuscript. You ought to remember — you yanked me out of bed to write it.”

“True enough.” Demon Joe stroked his small, pointed beard thoughtfully. “And I wouldn’t want to disturb your sleep. I Just can’t help worrying about whether an excited aspiring writer, burbling with glee over a phone call from a real, live agent, is going to be in any mood to, you know, extrapolate. But if you’re confident that you’ve covered all of your bases…”

I hate it when Demon Joe is right. If you’ve ever wondered why some of my posts bear timestamps at three or four in the morning, blame him.

I certainly do.

Here, then, is an extra-special bonus middle-of-the-night end-of-the-weekend post, devoted to that most burning of problems most aspiring writers pray someday to have: what you to say to an agent who wants to represent you, when one or more other agents are also considering your manuscript?”

Seem like an unlikely scenario? It isn’t, actually, for any aspiring writer sending out simultaneous submissions. Any time more than one agent is considering the same manuscript, one possible outcome — the best one, actually — is that the writer will need to say something along the lines of, “Gee, I’m flattered, but I’m afraid that I shall have to talk to the X number of other agents currently reading my book. May I get back to you in, say, two weeks?”

The very idea of saying that to an agent who wants to represent you made some of you faint, didn’t it? Believe me, I’ve been there.

Seriously, I have. I wish I had known from the very beginning that having more than one agent reading a manuscript at a time is actually a very good thing for a writer. At least, if all of the agents concerned are aware that they’re in competition over the book.

“What makes you do darn sure of that?” Demon Joe demands. “Stop eyeballing that head-shaped indentation in your pillow and share your experience.”

Okay, okay — I’ll tell the story, but then I’m going back to sleep. Everybody but me comfortable? Excellent. Let’s proceed.

Many years ago, I had just sent out a packet of requested materials — memoir book proposal plus the first three chapters of a novel — when another agent asked to see my book proposal as well. Naturally, when I sent off the second package, I mentioned in my cover letter that another agent was already considering the project.

Thanks, Demon Joe, but I’m way ahead of you on this one: all of you multiple submitters do know that you should always mention it in your submission cover letter if another agent is already reading any part of your manuscript or book proposal? And that you should always drop any agent already reading your work an e-mail if you submit your work to another agent thereafter?

Well, now you do.

Although I knew to be conscientious about that first part, back in those long-ago days of innocence, I was not aware of the second. Indeed, the hobgoblin of doubt dedicated to torturing aspiring writers waiting to hear back on their submissions — Demon Milton, if you must know his name — would have forbidden my acting upon it if I had known: unfortunately, the old conference-circuit advice about never calling an agent who hasn’t called you first was deeply engrained in my psyche.

In other words, I was too afraid to bug Agent #1 to let her know that Agent #2 was looking at my book proposal. Big, big mistake.

Okay, Demon Joe, stop battering my head with your tail: I’m going to show them how to avoid that particular pitfall before I reveal the hideous consequences of not playing by this particular not-very-well-known rule.

So what should I have done instead? If more than one agent asks to see my manuscript (or, in this particular case, book proposal), I should have informed all of them, pronto, so they could adjust their reading schedules accordingly.

No need to name names, of course, or even to go back and tell Agents #1 and #2 that Agents #4-6 also asked to see it a month later. All that any given agent in the chain needs to know is that she’s not the only one considering it.

But I didn’t know that; frankly, I was too tickled to have attracted so much interest. Having stumbled into this rather common error, I set myself up for another, more sophisticated one.

A month later, Agent #2 called me to offer to represent the book. Since Agent #1 had at that point held onto the proposal for over six weeks without so much as a word, I assumed — wrongly, as it turned out — that she just wasn’t interested. So I accepted the only offer on the table, and sent Agent #1 a polite little missive, thanking her for her time and saying that I had signed with someone else.

Demon Joe is prompting me to pause here to ask: did that sweeping, unjustified conclusion make you gasp aloud?

It should have, especially if you have been submitting within the last couple of years. Six weeks really isn’t a very long time for an agent to hold onto a manuscript, after all; now, six months isn’t an unusual turn-around time. But even back then, when about eight weeks was considered the outside limit of courtesy, I should not have leapt to the conclusion that Agent #1 had simply blown me off.

Two days later, the phone rang: you guessed it, an extremely irate Agent #1. Since she hadn’t realized that there was any competition over the project, she informed me loudly, she hadn’t known that she needed to read my submission quickly. But now that another agent wanted it, she had dug my materials out of the pile on her desk, zipped through them — and she wanted to represent it.

I was flattered, of course, but since I had already told her that I’d accepted another offer, I found her suggestion a trifle puzzling. I had, after all, already burbled an overjoyed acceptance to Agent #2. I couldn’t exactly un-burble my yes, could I?

Yet when I reminded her gently that I’d already committed to someone else, all Agent #1 wanted to know was whether I had actually signed the contract. When I admitted that it was in the mail, she immediately launched into a detailed explanation of what she wanted me to change in the proposal so she would be able to market it more easily.

Had I been too gentle in my refusal? What part of no didn’t she get? “I don’t think you quite understood me before,” I said as soon as she paused to draw breath; #1 must have been a tuba player in high school. “I’ve already agreed to let another agent represent this book.”

“Nonsense,” #1 huffed. “How could you possibly have made up your mind yet, when you haven’t heard what I can do for you?”

I’ll spare you the 15-minute argument that ensued; suffice it to say that she raked me over the coals for not having contacted her the nanosecond I received a request for materials. Agent #1 also — and I found this both fascinating and confusing — used every argument she would invent to induce me to break my word to Agent #2 and sign with her instead.

Unscrupulous? Not exactly. She was merely operating on a principle that those of you who have been following this series should have by now committed to heart: until an agent offers a representation contract and a writer actually signs it, nothing that has passed between them is binding.

As I so often tell first-time pitchers who have just been asked to send pages: until there’s a concrete offer on the table, that nice conversation you just had with that agent about your book is just that, a nice conversation.

Of course, #1 may have taken the axiom to heart a little too much — I had, after all, already said yes to another agent, somebody equally enthusiastic about my proposal — but as it turned out, I should have listened to her. I should also have done my homework better: Agent #2, a charming man relatively new to my book category, actually had very few connections for placing the book.

Yes, Demon Joe: that is something I might have learned had I asked him a few more questions before saying yes. Thank you for pointing that out. Now stop rolling around on my flannel sheets.

What happened here? Well, my initial mistake in not keeping both agents concerned equally well-informed allowed an agent who probably knew that acting quickly was his best chance of competing in a multiple submission situation to shut out a better-qualified agent by the simple expedient of asking first.

So what should I have done instead? Contacted Agent #1 as soon as I received the second request, of course — and called her before I gave Agent #2 an answer.

Admittedly, that second part would have required some guts and finesse to pull off; if #2 was deliberately rushing me to commit before I asked too many questions about his track record in selling my type of book, I doubt that he would have been particularly thrilled about my asking for some time to make up my mind. (His agency went out of business within the year, after all; he gave up on my proposal after showing it to only five editors. I received a letter from one of them, saying that he had not submitted it through the proper channels.)

In the long run, though, it would have clearly been far better for me and my book proposal had I taken the time to make sure that I knew what my options were before I took what I deemed to be an irrevocable step. (For a more tips on handling simultaneous submissions far, far better than I did that first time around, please see the WHAT IF MORE THAN ONE AGENTS ASKS TO SEE MY MANUSCRIPT? category on the archive list at right.)

The story does have a happy ending, however: fortunately, the next time I was lucky enough to be in this position, right after having won a major award for my memoir, I had the experience to know how to handle it. I was also fortunate enough to know several previous winners of that particular contest who were kind enough to give me excellent advice on what to do if I won. (It’s always worth tracking down past winners, if you happen to be a finalist: it’s amazing how nice most authors are one-on-one.)

Just so I can convince Demon Joe to remove his pitchfork from my foot region, let’s recap what a writer should do if more than one agent is considering a manuscript when a representation offer gladdens his heart:

(1) Thank the offering agent, but remind her that other agents are currently considering the manuscript.
That should not be news to her, right?

(2) Ask for 3 weeks to check in with the others and make up your mind.
Since this is precisely what she would expect you to do for her if another agent had made an offer first, she should be fine with this. If she isn’t, offer not to commit to anyone else until you have spoken to her again — and set up an appointment a couple of weeks hence to do just that.

Why as much as three weeks? Because it’s entirely possible that none of the other agents have yet so much as glanced at the manuscript. You don’t expect them to make a representation decision before they’ve read your book, do you?

Demon Joe likes that so much that he’s doing a little jig on my bedroom slippers. “Let me be the one to draw out the implication here: yes, some agents who are aware that a manuscript is being multiply-submitted will wait to hear that someone else has made an offer before they give the manuscript a serious once-over.”

The hobgoblin in charge of that particularly nasty (from the writer’s point of view, anyway) game of chicken is called Harold, in case you were wondering. You might want to mutter at him under your breath, should you ever be the writer caught in this situation.

Which is, lest we forget, a good outcome for a submitter. Back to our to-do list:

(3) Then ask all of the other questions you would have asked Agent #1 if she had been the only agent to whom you submitted.
You want to have a basis to decide between her and any of the other agents who say yes, don’t you?

(4) As soon as you get off the phone with #1, e-mail ALL the other agents currently reading any part of your manuscript. Let them know that you have had another offer — and that if they are interested, you will need to hear from them within the next ten days.
Seem fast? It is. It’s also a reasonable amount of time for a rush read, and it gives you a little leeway if any of the other agents needs more time.

After all, the fact that others are reading it isn’t going to come as a surprise to any of them, right? Besides, you don’t want to keep Agent #1 waiting too long, do you?

Stop poking me in the kidneys, Demon Joe. I was getting to the leeway issue.

It’s not uncommon for agents in this situation to ask for more time to read your work. That’s up to you, but do be aware that if you grant extensions, you’re going to have to tell Agent #1 about them.

Doesn’t sound like such an attractive prospect, does it? Wouldn’t you rather build a little extra time into your arrangement with #1, so #2-16 can miss the mark by a few days without sending you into a nail-gnawing panic?

(5) Try to obtain similar information from every agent who makes an offer.
That way, you will be comparing apples to apples, not apples to squid. So if you ask one for a client list — and you should — ask each one that makes an offer. If you talk to a client of #1, talk to #3′s client as well. Otherwise, it’s just too tempting to sign with the one who spontaneously offered you the most information — who may or may not be the best fit for your work.

(6) Make up your mind when you said you would — or inform everyone concerned that it’s going to take a little longer.
But don’t push it too long, and don’t try to use what one agent has said to hurry another. (Over and above simply informing them that another has made an offer, that is.) This is not a bargaining situation; it’s a straightforward collection of offers from businesspeople about whom you should already have done your homework.

And try not to move the deadline more than once. Why? Well, you’re going to want to have a pleasant working relationship with whomever you choose — and although writers often feel helpless when torn between competing agents, that is not how they will see it. The last impression you

(7) After you’ve chosen, inform the agent with whom you will be signing first.
This is basic self-protection, especially if you’ve had to push the decision deadline back more than once. It’s unusual for an agent to change her mind after making an offer, but if she does, you will be a substantially happier camper if you have other offers in reserve.

(8) After you have sealed the deal with your favorite, inform the others promptly and politely.
Do this even if some of the others didn’t bother to get back to you at all — some agents do use silence as a substitute for no, but it’s not courteous to bank on that. They honestly do need to know that they’re no longer in the running.

Resist the urge — and believe me, you will feel it — to explain in thanks, but no thanks e-mails why you selected the agent you did. The agenting world is not very big, after all, and the other agent(s) really don’t need to know anything but that you have indeed made a decision.

Above all, make sure to thank them profusely for their time. After all, they were excited enough about your writing to consider representing you; don’t you want them to buy your book when it comes out?

Hey, my cats are asleep, my various body parts seem to be free of pitchforks, and the hobgoblin all-clear has sounded. (It sounds a lot like a snore from my SO.)

That means it’s time for me to turn in, campers. Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the hobgoblins of self-doubt bite. Oh, and keep up the good work!

15 Replies to “The getting-a-book-published basics, part XI: a few more observations on offer-acceptance etiquette, and a cautionary tale”

  1. I’m surprised by this: “all of you multiple submitters do know that you should always mention it in your submission cover letter if another agent is already reading any part of your manuscript or book proposal? And that you should always drop any agent already reading your work an e-mail if you submit your work to another agent thereafter?”

    I’ve been under the impression that agents DO NOT CARE if other agents have a partial or full of your MS. In fact, many have said so plainly either in general on their blogs or to me specifically via their assistants. If an offer of representation comes in, yes, please tell them ASAP, but if another request to see pages comes in, that means nothing. They like the project, they assume others may like the project, and so you’re not telling them anything new if you tell them that another partial went out, and therefore such an update would be considered a waste of everyone’s time… or even pushy! (“Big deal, someone else wants to read Chapter 3, that’s like writing to me to say you’re a finalist in a contest: no one cares!”)

  2. I’m intrigued that you’ve gotten such a uniform response, CKHB, because this has not been my experience AT ALL. Nor has it been the experience of any agented writer I know, nor any of my editing clients…you get the picture. So it makes me wonder if we’re asking the same question.

    Especially on the cover letter side of the equation. Since there is literally NO EXTRA TIME involved on the agent’s end if the writer includes the necessary information in the cover letter, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that many agents would take umbrage at the courtesy. Annoying submitters e-mailing them every five minutes, yes; a single professional sentence in a cover letter, no.

    In fact, I’ve never encountered a working writer who has gotten in trouble for updating an agent when another agent requests materials. I could bore you for days, however, with anecdotes about those who got screamed at for wasting an agent’s time by not letting her know that there were other agents considering the work. Or, heaven help us, that another agent had made an offer.

    As I said, though, there’s no need to keep updating until there’s an offer on the table: it’s merely necessary that all the agents concerned are aware that they are not being given exclusive looks at the material. I’m talking about a one-time communication here to each of the agents concerned, not an avalanche of e-mails, or even repeated e-mails to the first agent each time a new request for materials come in. Agents don’t ask to see manuscripts one chapter at a time, after all: they ask to see either the first X number of pages or the entire manuscript. So it’s not as though a situation is ever likely to arise where a submitter would be in a position to send off Chapter 1 to Agent A on Monday with a note telling him that Agent B is already up to Ch. 6, or have to contact A again on Friday to say that B has just requested Chapter 7.

    So again: a single courteous sentence along the lines of Just so you are aware, other agents are currently considering this manuscript, or a single, brief e-mail saying something like

    Dear Agent Z, I’m sorry to disturb you while you are considering my manuscript, but I thought you might like to know that since your kind request, others have also requested it. Just keeping you informed!


    Aspiring Q. Author

    is HIGHLY unlikely to annoy anybody. Especially since this kind of updating is more or less mandatory once one is actually working with an agent. They aren’t rhinoceri, after all: most of them don’t instantly fly into a rage over perfectly reasonable professional contact. It’s the repeated and/or unnecessary contact that most of ‘em consider pushy.

    And by the way, most agents do care if a prospective client is a finalist in a prestigious contest. That’s just common sense: a credential like that makes it easier to get an editor to agree to take a gander at the manuscript. (I’m glad you brought it up, though: manuscripts that win contests tend to be more likely to garner simultaneous interest from multiple agents.)

    But you are absolutely right that when you are dealing with THOSE agents, the ones who have specifically said that they would prefer to be surprised if a writer they are considering signs with someone else, you should not contact them with updates. As I have said many, many times in this forum, if an agent expresses a preference in public, even if it runs counter to the norms of querying, pitching, or submission, you should follow it to the letter — for that agent alone.

    All of which makes me wonder, though, about the context in which the agents you mention made their personal preferences known — no one wants to be bugged every five minutes by an insecure submitter, after all, but we’re talking about a type of communication lapse about which many agents complain often and bitterly. (As in, “I wasted an entire weekend scanning that manuscript, only to learn on Monday that the writer’s already signed with somebody else!” or “I got all excited about this book, but the silly writer didn’t bother to tell me that thirty other agents were reading it. So now she tells me that she can’t possibly respond to my offer until she’s heard back from #29 and 30!”)

    However, it’s not at all hard to imagine a defensive response to a question that might sound like a universal touch-me-not rule. Like, for instance, if an aspiring writer barrels up to the agent at a conference and demands, “So, how soon can I call you to find out what you think of my book?” Or a blogging agent who has just received the 15th communication from a submitter who sent a manuscript a week ago — she might easily give off a stay away from me, no matter what! vibe. Or picture the swamped agent three months behind in his reading, who perceives any attempt on a writer’s part to find out what’s going on as nagging. Any of these might easily blurt out something that sounded very much like, “Look, I don’t care what’s going on with any writer who interests me. Just go away and let me do my work.”

    Then, too, I’ve heard many a conference speech and read many blog where the agent intends to say, “Look, I want you to leave me alone so I can do my work, so here is a horror story about a writer that didn’t,” but half the writers in the room immediately scribble in their notebooks, “Never contact an agent reading your work for any reason. They couldn’t care less if you drop dead; don’t call them; they’ll call you.” And then they tell all of their writing friends, and yet another conference-circuit rumor is born.

    This kind of misinterpretation/escalation cycle us quite common in the conference circuit: agents express personal preferences, and audience members take them as universal laws, applicable to any agent, anywhere, anytime. But as I always tell readers of this blog, agents are not robots, programmed to respond identically to stimuli. They are individuals with individual preferences, and aspiring writers tend to forget that.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not entirely surprised that you’re surprised, but given the potentially exceptionally high cost of not informing an agent who expects to hear if he’s reading competitively, I’d still advise anyone to mention it in a cover letter. Or in a follow-up e-mail — unless, of course, the agent in question has already made it perfectly clear that she has alternate preferences.

    1. Oh, and I forgot to add: Eric at Pimp My Novel recently gave a really good run-down on what kinds of awards are and aren’t impressive enough to include in a query. Might prove helpful!

  3. Having discovered your compiled wisdom within the last week, only today did I read that I’ve made an etiquette mistake. I have five requested book proposals and a full out there. None of these agents know of the others. (No, none are exclusives.)

    So how do I fix this honestly without broadcasting my naivete? Or perhaps that isn’t possible.

    An added complication is that, except for one recent proposal request, the other submissions have been outstanding for months. Only a few weeks ago I nudged these agents. Three didn’t respond; two asked me to resubmit.

    To send them all an “oh, I didn’t realize until now I should have mentioned” email seems to make it all worse.

    The new request came after all this nudging. I suppose I could mention this new request. But not to mention the others seems, well, not completely honest.

    Do agents want to know specifically how many other agents are looking — and for how long? Or do they just care to know that at least one other agent is?

    1. No worries, Diane — this is an easy one to fix. All you need to do is act as though you’ve only just gotten a request for pages from another agent. No need to mention that you should have mentioned it before; just tell them what they need to know. A simple e-mail saying something like Thank you for your continued interest in BOOK TITLE. I thought you would like to be aware that other agents are now also reviewing it. is fine.

      And no, you shouldn’t say how many other agents are looking at it, or for how long, or who. Basically, all an agent needs to know is that she doesn’t have an exclusive.

      Don’t stress too much about the no reply folks, by the way. It’s quite common now for agencies with a months-long backlog merely to check that they did in fact receive the manuscript, getting back to the writer only if they have lost it. (Which is how I would read the resubmission requests, by the way: they couldn’t find your submission. Happens more than one might hope, especially with electronic submissions.)

      1. Thanks, Anne. Now I’ll obsess over how my work isn’t precisely in standard manuscript format. LOL I did the best I could with what I’d read before. However, I’ve found rules here that hadn’t been spelled out in what I’d read before or contrary to what I’ve seen elsewhere.

        I’ve decided you are the most authoritative.

        I wonder if I should tell these agents that I gave them an actual word count rather than an estimated one. (Yes, I’d read I should do that for my book. Sigh.) One concern that other agents have expressed in that my book is too long. Not by number of pages, it isn’t. And if I get rid of widows and orphans, even better…

        Thanks for all your great advice and information. Here I thought my next book (this one’s fiction) was almost ready for querying. Nope. Gotta get rid of all the sighing, eye-rolling, toe-tapping … and revamp a very stupid interview scene.

      2. Emails done. Now I can feel polite! And maybe these folks will be moved to look at what I sent them — long, long ago.

        If someone loves my work but only is concerned with the length, it will certainly be easy to fix that one.

        1. You’re welcome, Diane. If you’ve been hearing that your book is too long based on the word count, but the page count isn’t over 400, it would DEFINITELY be to your advantage to estimate.

          1. Yes, the page count is below 400.

            You could probably have an interesting entry on the bad advice out there. I cringe now to think of it all (and how unprofessional my manuscript must have looked as a result).

            Let’s see… Different Internet sites have told me:

            1. Word count should be actual
            2. Slug lines are right justified
            3. Chapter headings go 1/3 down the page and are in a larger font
            4. Italics must not be used (one should underline) — fortunately I didn’t do this one because it looked ugly
            5. Section breaks must be indicated by a “#”
            6. Spaces must go before and after ellipses, and even between the periods themselves
            7. Doubled dashes (to indicate em dashes) must not have spaces before or after
            8. Quotations must be italicized
            9. Widows and orphans should be on

            It makes me wish I could call back my work.

            Two of the agents have gotten back to me with thanks for telling them of the other interest, by the way. It makes me wonder if writers commonly fail to mention the interest of other agents.

          2. Yes, they very frequently fail to mention it. For an extensive discussion of how and why, please see the posts under the WHAT IF MORE THAN ONE AGENT ASKS TO SEE MY MANUSCRIPT category on the archive list on the lower right-hand side of this page,

            I have to say, though, I’m always a trifle mystified when readers want to tell me about what they’ve heard elsewhere on the Internet, as though all of us who write about writing regularly get together at meetings to discuss what we should tell people. As I’ve explained at length in the posts under the HOW TO FORMAT A BOOK MANUSCRIPT and WHY IS THERE SO MUCH CONFLICTING ADVICE ONLINE categories, there is no overarching authority governing the accuracy of what’s out there, so it’s not as though telling me would get the incorrect advice removed.

            Just so you know, most of the rules on your list refer to short story format, not book format — not entirely surprising, as a startlingly high percentage of the advice-giving sites out there don’t make a distinction. #6 and #8 don’t make any sense on a punctuation level, however, and anyone who has ever worked with manuscripts professionally would just laugh at #9.

            That may seem harsh, but the basic assumption within publishing circles is that anyone who is serious about writing for a living will have taken the time to learn not only the rules of standard format, but also the rules of English punctuation and grammar, prior to writing a book. (“Seriously?” Millicent asks with incredulity. “A literate person believed that all quotations should be in italics?”) As a direct result, the pros tend not to be all that sympathetic to aspiring writers who fall prey to the plethora of incorrect advice out there. The best rule of thumb, always, is to consider the source of the information.

  4. No, no, I wasn’t meaning to say that you were responsible for getting the incorrect advice removed. You’ve done more than your fair share of helping people. Believe me, I meant no criticism whatsoever.

    Also believe me — I did try my best. As always, I am trying to learn more. I made mistakes — and I do appreciate learning that I did so I won’t do so in the future.

  5. I have a question that I don’t believe you have addressed. (If you have, forgive me.)

    What is the proper way to handle long quotations, those over three or four lines? Do you indent the whole shebang and skip the quotation marks as is done in academic and legal writing? Or would it be handled as one would dialogue?

    If it is relevant to your answer, I am referring to quotations of statutes, legal decisions, academic literature, and newspaper articles for a nonfiction book.

    I know, as I redraft, that I want to reduce the extent to which I do this. But I can’t eliminate the quotations entirely and still tell my story.

    1. The short answer is no, you wouldn’t handle it like dialogue. The long answer can be found here, in my last foray into formatting lore. It’s not the only time I’ve written about it — this site is PACKED — but generally speaking, Formatpalooza posts are the most likely to contain pictures of actual pages of text as examples.

      1. Thanks, again. You’re a sweetie.

        I don’t know how I missed this. Sometimes I think my mouse sends a double signal or something (I want to go back a page and it sends me back two, etc.). I’m working my way back through all your posts more carefully now so I don’t miss anything.

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