Thursday, April 23, 2009

Q & A 170

I use Comic Sans Serif as my font of choice whenever the option is available (blog, e-mail, discussion forums, etc.). A friend just sent me a copy of a WALL STREET JOURNAL piece about the movement to ban it. I know it would not be appropriate for a manuscript submission, but how about a query letter? And if not, why not? I find it more legible than most fonts myself, as well as clean and elegant. Could you give us your views on "right" and "wrong" fonts for submissions?

It's called comic sans because it's modeled after fonts used in comic books. Also because Evil Editor frequently uses it in cartoon captions. You may argue that the style is used in comics because it's elegant, but more likely it's because kids read comics and younger kids may not be used to serifs. On the other hand, older kids wouldn't be thrilled with this font:


So it's a compromise.
(I seem to have lost all my blocks with R's.)

I don't care what font is used as long as it's not annoying to look at, but some editors are anal a-holes, and not all of them admit it until they get your query. Then they burn it and pour themselves a stiff drink to help them make it to lunchtime when they can gripe to their fellow editors about your faux pas: "Can you believe it? I got another query today printed in Galliard BT instead of Bookman Old Style. Why do these clueless people waste my time?"

It's generally accepted that serifs are easier on the eyes, which is why you always find them in longer works. Also, Comic Sans is considered informal, casual, and thus probably not a good idea for a business letter. Plus, go back to the top of the post and compare your question, in Comic Sans, with my answer in Georgia. Then compare it with my answer in South Carolina. Ba dum ching. Seriously, I actually had to have a handwriting expert come in to interpret your question because I thought it was written in Canadian.

In any case, the fact that you love Comic Sans should mean you wish correspondence you receive
to be in that font, not correspondence you send. What you send should be in a font the recipient likes. Which is why I ask that you submit future questions in

23 comments:

lotusgirl said...

I'm a fan of Times New Roman, but I don't understand why any clear, standard font like Courier would be shunned. I understand there are some editors and agents who won't read something in that font. Crazy! If they are going to be like that, they need to put it on their submission guidelines.

nn Angel said...

I really like Times New Roman and Andalus as fonts, personally, but I've read that the "Proper" font for submissions is typically Courier (which I loathe), but I still oblige because I know it's not for me. I'm submitting it to someone I want to impress and therefore I should meet their requirements.

lotusgirl: I didn't know that about Courier, but I agree, font preferences should be included in submission guidelines.

fairyhedgehog said...

You're on form today, EE. It must be all the anniversary good wishes!

I'm typing this in Times New Roman because I used up all my Wrenched Letters submitting to other editors.

Anonymous said...

May the wit and wisdom of EE never cease!! And yet, TNR is not that great a screen font. Actually, I personally have a vendetta with Times Roman (in all its forms, widths and weights)and deplore its use. So there ya go. Are there different font reqs for e-submissions? San serif is much easier to read onscreen.

Meri

chelsea said...

Evil Edito. Cute

:)

BuffySquirrel said...

Courier fades in and out onscreen. It's a pig.

_*Rachel*_ said...

If I just want to print something out and use very little paper (which is a worthy goal with a novel draft not for editing) I go sans serif, size 8, with tiny margins, because that way I can usually still read it and cram in a lot. Otherwise, I prefer TNR, just 'cause.

talpianna said...

As the querier, I find that you never did answer my question about the proper fonts to use. I know Comic Sans is so named because of its use in comics, but my comics-reading days were long over by the time I got a computer.

I just don't buy the argument that those other fonts are more legible--I find Comic Sans much more readable.

Comic Sans Serif walked into a bar. The bartender said, "Get out. We don't serve your type here."

writtenwyrdd said...

Evil at his snarky best. :)

I like Bookman but I use whatever the recipient wants. Unless it's naked pictures of me, which would probably compromise national security or something so I abstain.

Evil Editor said...

Have I ever answered anyone's question?

I believe Times New Roman and Courier are standard. Anyone who doesn't accept those better say so in their guidelines.

There's no point in getting attached to Comic Sans, when it'll soon be banned. Bill Gates put that into your computer, and don't think he can't get it back out.

Whirlochre said...

Better Comic Sans than Wingdings with footnotes.

As for the Bill Gates Thrust — where does this leave Arial and Calibra?

talpianna said...

If they ban Comic Sans, I'll write everything in Papyrus. That'll larn 'em!

Comic Sans said...

This banning thing better be a joke.

ril said...

Those are some pretty cool fonts. And to think, I've been cutting words out of newpapers and sticking them onto my "letters" with glue.

Gotta get me one of them Macs.

Anonymous said...

"As for the Bill Gates Thrust."

So, is the "Bill Gates Thrust" the reason my PC is fucked?

Khazar said...

I believe that Courier is preferred because of typesetting.

I much prefer Garamond, Agate & Dauphin.

Anonymous said...

Serifs are easier on the eyes and since the agent or editor will be reading a lot of submissions and queries, you don't want to be the one that is remembered for hurting their eyes.

Following the rules is always best.

Ulysses said...

Everyone talks about Comic Sans Serif, but no one ever mentiones Serious Sans Serif.

That seem right to you?

Sarah Laurenson said...

I like Times New Roman and Arial. I had almost everything in Arial, but switched over to TNR when I realized it fit a little bit more on the first page. Apparently Arial is a wider font.

But those wrenched letters? Gotta get me some!

Sarah said...

Comic Sans offends my sensibilities. I don't find it elegant in the least; I find it childish and clumsy. Due to its unpleasant proliferation, I can't even stand to see it used in comics anymore. Ah, Comic Sans! Why must you insult typography so?

http://bancomicsans.com/about.html

150 said...

I'm one of those Comic Sans haters. If you want a professional sans serif font, try Arial or (my favorite) Trebuchet MS. Comic Sans looks silly; it attempts to make things fun, where there is no fun to be had; it infantilizes the reader, assuming we need tilty letters to hold our attention. It approximates handwriting. I choose a font that approximates newsprint, and Comic Sans can die by fire. A tilty, fun fire.

BuffySquirrel said...

Sheesh, why get so worked up about a font?

150 said...

Because it's fun!