I have this font I like to use when I'm working on my MS on the computer. It's not Times New Roman. I understand that almost every agent or publisher I submit to is going to want the MS in the Times New Roman font, so I switched to it, to get used to using it, and I just don't like it, either in print or on the computer screen. How much shit am I letting myself in for if I send in a MS that's in another common serif font (Lucida Console)?

Yes, I really am this nerdy.


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I'll be damned. Lucida Console IS a sans-serif font.

I don't mind Courier. Maybe I'll use that.

The reason I don't like to switch fonts before submission is because it changes the page count. I'm a control nerd, and it just drives me nuts to think I've got 325 pages, then switch fonts and find out I've got 270. Plus, I get used to the way my page looks, and it just feels weird to send it out in an unfamiliar font. It's like dressing up my kid in inappropriate clothing before sending her off to kindergarten.
Except what is "appropriate" is determined by the school board[publisher/agent], in their dress code. So it's more like sending your kid to school in street clothes when she should be wearing her uniform.
Except what is "appropriate" is determined by the school board[publisher/agent], in their dress code. So it's more like sending your kid to school in street clothes when she should be wearing her uniform.

Dude. Who's metaphor is this, mine or yours?
Switching from TNR to Courier will have the opposite effect. Courier is HUGE.
Not so much huge as spacey. :)
Page count isn't so much an issue if they're using a computer to read it, because they can just hit the button that tells them what the word count is.

In any case, it's best to do what the agent/editor asks for, because that way they know you were actually paying attention to their guidelines before you sent your manuscript off.
Courier is the original newspaper font because of the easier word-count (before computers) and space is so important to planning a newspaper page. The five agents I've heard speak of this in the last two years mentioned Courier or New Times Roman, but I think Neil ought to know.

Personally, I use New Courier (it's even bigger) because it creates the illusion of false productivity, and I need all the encouragement I can get.
Hey, huge is good, for these eyes.
Twice, I've asked literary agents about this. Both said, basically: "I'd prefer it if you could just put in it twelve-point Times-Roman." I've also seen screenplays dismissed before so much as a word on page 1 was read because the use of a typeface other than Courier gave the work the equivalent of a stink, or made it seem amateurish. Is this silly? Of course. But it's a market reality. What's the point of giving prospective readers the excuse to shorten the stack in their office?
Use 12 pt Courier. The reason you want to do this is for accurate word count. The word count built into your word processor is misleading, giving you an exact count rather than a publisher's count.

By publisher's count, I mean 25 lines to a page, 10 words to a line, or 250 words per page. 400 pages = 100,000 words.

Now, obviously not every page has 250 words, but remember that publishers count white space as well, so that they can estimate how long the book will be in print. There are variables, of course, but the 250 per page count is a good estimate.

Those who write in TNR are not following the 250 word per page rule, and their count will be off. If you're going to use TNR (or better, Georgia), it's better to raise your font size to 14pt. This way you'll have approximately the same count as a courier manuscript.

I always submit my manuscripts in Courier and have yet to hear any complaints.
Yes, but are you published? Not being snarky, I promise.
I have four books with St. Martin's Press, another one with Dutton, coming out in 2011 (the first in a series) and two books under a pen name coming out next year.

So the short answer is, yes, I'm published. ;)


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