Regarding envelopes and address labels, does it really matter if we tri-fold our query and/or short manuscript versus sending flat in a larger envelope?No. As long as we're talking about no more than about five pages. Past that, it takes such force to fold them that they will not unfold fully on our desks.
Does it really matter if we very neatly hand write the addresses on the envelope versus using printed labels?No. As long as "very neatly" does not mean "give it your best shot". If you sometimes write things down quickly and later cannot read your own handwriting, that means you have terrible handwriting all around, and should use a computer for all your business correspondence.
As long as what's inside is neatly typed and professional-looking, do editors care what the envelope looks like or if there is a fold or two in the pages?No. As long as an SASE is reasonably tidy, fits the manuscript, and is easy to use, nobody cares what else it is.
What editors are trying to avoid are:
1. Envelopes of any size folded so many times that they refuse to unfold fully, so that stuffing them becomes a job for three hands.
2. The manuscript and/or SASE that have been stapled together (extra irritation points for stapling them through the stamps). I should not need a special tool to separate your ms from the envelope, nor have to spend time repairing your envelope where the staple tore it.
3. The two-hundred-page manuscript with the leeetle envelope clearly meant for a greeting card. If I need origami skills to figure out how to put my A4 letterhead into your envelope, we're both out of luck.
4. The SAS box-within-a-box to hold your treasured oversize archival scrapbook presentation, plus ribbons and glitter. I know your picture book proposal is special to you. But if it isn't special enough on plain paper, it's never going to be special enough to publish.
5. The manuscript and/or SASE that is dirty. Why is it dirty? Who knows? All I know is: the only way to disinfect paper is to recycle it.
6. The manuscript and/or SASE that smells. I don't care what it smells of.
(a) If you are a chain smoker or have one in your home, make a copy of your manuscript at Kinkos and ship that copy from the same Kinkos. Paper absorbs scents. You can't smell it, but your manuscript reeks.
(b) If you have a penchant for incense, ditto. If I never get another sandalwood-scented pile of paper, it'll be too soon.
(c) Do not spray your favorite perfume on your manuscript. Have you noticed how your favorite perfume is not everyone's favorite perfume? There's a reason.
(d) And for god's sake, don't pack your manuscript in potpourri. This is the slush equivalent of hazardous waste. I will personally hold the fire door open so that the intern doesn't have to break stride as she runs it down to the dumpster.