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Writing Books/Manuscript Binding


I know that most manuscripts submitted should not be bound in anyway other than a paper clip, but when submitting a novel (approx. 85,000 words), how should I bind my manuscript?

Also, I've been published numerous times since age eleven through a children's news bureau in the biggest newspaper in my state (not including national papers). Should I include this in my query/cover letters or anywhere else while trying to publish my work of fiction?

You said it yourself; manuscripts should not be bound in any way, other than a paperclip. If a paperclip won't fit on the manuscript, you don't need it. If you simply cannot stand sending a manuscript without something attached to it, use a bulldog clip. They come in all sizes, even huge ones to bind a novel of hundreds of pages. Why bother, though? Put the manuscript in a box that's the right size, and the manuscript will be “bound” by the box. Truth be told, if you cannot stand any of the above, you can put a big rubber band around the manuscript, but remember the reason for unbound manuscripts. Readers of manuscripts (agents and editors) do not want the hassle of taking off the binding, and most binding gets in the way of reading, so it must be removed. If all the pages are identified with the name of the manuscript, your name, and the page number, that's enough. No binding is required.

As to the nonfiction credits, here's my opinion: Although it’s been said that nonfiction credits will not get you any credibility for fiction, such credits don't hurt. The fact that your work has been published shows you have studied the craft of writing and your nonfiction was acceptable for publication. Nonfiction credits may at least make someone a little more willing to consider your fiction, and they won't hurt in any way.  

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Bobbie Christmas


Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.


Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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