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bear by san

March 2017



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writing headbang


This is a question for agents, editors, and production staff, NOT WRITERS. When I say agents and editors and production staff, I mean that you edit, copyedit, proofread, page design, book design, typeset, read slush, and in other words do a significant amount of work on other people's manuscripts.

If you are a volunteer editor or slush reader, your opinion still counts, as long as the market you work for is a paying market.

If you write AND do one or more of these other things put on your hardworking industry professional cap, please.


What market do you/did you work for and in what capacity?

What typefaces do you prefer to see in submissions?

Justify your existence, please Explain your rationale?


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ChiZine, fiction editor.

Courier. It's what I'm used to looking at, and so it doesn't surprise me. ChiZine gets more subs in Times than the other zine I worked at did, so that one's gotten to look familiar, too.

Mostly I just don't want my reaction upon opening a story to be, "Eek!" Which is what it is if I read twelve stories in Courier and then open one in Times. I'm not rabid about it; our guidelines don't specify a font or even SMF. So I'm in-theory okay with anything that's readable.

I used to change fonts and double-space manuscripts, but now I read in 'view in HTML' and that's not an option.
(Where by 'not an option' I of course mean 'more trouble to me than it's worth.' I could go back to opening each story; I just don't wanna.)
Yes. I will amend post.

Thank you.
I read slush for Ideomancer, and I like Courier. I read on the monitor, and Courier is easy to distinguish.

And not surprising.
I work for Andromeda Spaceway Inflight Magazine as a slushwrangler/submissions co-ordinator, slushreader, editor, layout chick and proof-reader. Not all at once, usually. *grin*

I have also worked for a computer magazine commissioning freelance pieces.

For Andromeda Spaceways, we will read anything that uses a plain, easily screen readable font, because all our slushreaders read on screen and some fonts are HARD to read, and make us cranky and more likely to bounce your story.

Courier new is preferred, partly because it allows the editor to neatly calculate how much page space the manuscript will take up in the magazine without having to give it to the layout chick and ask her nicely to do a practice layout to see how much space it takes up. You can't do it based on word-count because so much depends on the ratio of dialogue to non-dialogue, etc.

Partly because everyone else in the sf magazine market uses standard manuscript format. But we're not terribly draconian.

As layout chick, I love and adore anyone who uses courier new because my version of indesign doesn't do anything stupid with the fonts, that way. Most fonts work fine, though, and it's only a couple that screw me around.

For the computer magazine, we ask that writers use any font as long as the names of their styles match ours, because creative suite CS uses style names to import. I think this is a reasonable approach for professional writers, but not for non-professional ones, otherwise I'd prefer this approach for our sf mag, too. Being able to say, basically "please make your title have the style "Title1", your byline the style "byline" and the bodytext = "bodytext" and "bodytext_p1" for the first paragraph."
Jay Lake here. I'm acquisitions co-editor for Polyphony anthology series from Wheatland Press. (I'm also a writer, which you may or may not be aware of, but I'm speaking in my editorial capacity at the moment.) I have a mild preference for Times or some other clean serif font because it's easier on my eyes. I have a much stronger preference for correct headers and front page info, regardless of font.

Font choice in the mss presentation has never been a decision criterion for me, not in the slightest. I might make an exception for circus fonts or handwriting fonts, but the question has so far not come up.
Hi. I edit some, but mostly I design books. I like serifs. They help me read. I like times best. I can handle courier just fine. Most other stuff I'm likely to re-format. Most of what I get has already been purchased, so re-formatting doesn't bother me, I'll be spending lots of time with these words.
Former book editor for Berkley/NAL/Penguin/Pearson/whoever they are now. Current freelance editor.

Since I didn't work in production, I didn't have any hard-and-fast-rules. Anything with serif. Anything I can read 200+ pages of in one sitting without getting a headache. Courier is fine, although I find it aesthetically ick. I personally like Times New Roman but know that many people consider it the font of death.

It's all about porting the words from page to brain. Whatever does the job effectively.

I did/do have a quirk that flies in the face of general accepted wisdom of manuscript format: I prefer 1.5 spacing, not double. It's a paper-saving, weight-reduction issue -- when you're working with 100,000 words or more, the change in paper-use can be significant.

I like 1.5 too. And I like Garamond and Goudy and Bookman, if I am writing for myself.
Daikaijuzine, slush editor.

I prefer courier for reading slush, actually, though I hate it for anything else. It's spacious and it slows me down. I'm less likely to fall into my natural skimming tendency with courier than with a font that's proportional.

I do also like 1.5 spacing, as above. It's Just Enough White.
[[ I prefer courier for reading slush, actually, though I hate it for anything else. It's spacious and it slows me down. I'm less likely to fall into my natural skimming tendency with courier than with a font that's proportional. ]]

Why is it skimming a problem in reading slush?
1) Special educational needs, UK;
2) Anything plain and boring (Arial will do nicely, or Verdana, or even TNR; it's boring but it's safe), and nothing smaller than 12 point, thank you;
3) I have to read it, and not for fun; it doesn't have to look good, just get its point across, and not make me go blind doing it.
I'm a volunteer slushmonkey over at The Town Drunk


While I prefer reading in Times New Roman, but manuscripts that aren't in Courier just look weird to me. It's a mindset thing -- Courier means time to read for "work" vs. Times' reading for enjoyment. This is reinforced in my writing -- I write in TNR and convert to Courier when it's time to do the final polishing and for submission.

Either way, make an editor happy -- read and follow their guidelines!!!
I can't remember what the Interzone guidelines actually say about subs, but I prefer 12 pt Courier or Times Roman.

Someone once sent a mss into Scheherazade in a gothic font. Er, no.
Freelance proofreader for one of the SF houses, though I haven't gotten anything from them in a couple months. (I'm available!) I like serif fonts: Times Roman, Bookman, Garamond, etc. Sans serif fonts look like the book designer is trying to make an "I'm so modern!" statement and failing, and also cause me to have to worry more about telling I from 1 from l, a problem in OCR text.
Shimmer, Art Director, though I slushed for a while.

Courier or Times New Roman

With Courier I can instantly tell how much space a story is going to take up in the magazine. Also, it helps focus my attention on the writing, instead of formatting, if all the stories look the same.

Because we read on screen, any non-standard font runs the risk that one of us won't have the font loaded on the computer.

You didn't ask, but I also prefer it when people give the word count with [# words per page] * [# of pages] formula instead of the MS word count. I need to know how much space a story is going to take up, and the formula version will give me a better picture of that.
Copy-editor, Tor/St. Martin's and Pocket.

First choice: Courier. Second choice: a good serif proportional-spaced font (Times, Palatino, Bookman).
Clarkesworld mag. I've also read/edited for Soft Skull, Disinformation Books, Akashic, Haymarket Books, and a variety of others.

For paper submissions Courier, unless poetry, then Times or Georgia.

For electronic submissions, Times, full-stop.
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