If you read my post last week on writing a synopsis, you’ll know that author James Crofoot is here at a very timely time for me. (Timely time? I expect an editor would make me change that!)
James is here to tell us why it’s so important to edit your manuscript thoroughly before you submit it for publication. If you can afford the services of a professional editor, it’s well worth the outlay. Here’s James to explain why….
I know the feeling. You’ve worked for months, writing and rewriting. Now you’ve finally finished. You may gaze at the final, perfect, masterpiece in front of you before that final ‘save’, knowing you have polished it to sparkling. After celebrating in some fashion, you send it to a publisher, knowing they’ll immediately sign you to a contract and people will become great, story-buying fans.
When the rejection letters or e-mails come back, you become disheartened. Or maybe angry and confused. Now, if you take the time to go back and look over the piece, you will probably find quite a few mistakes you swear weren’t there before.
Did the mischievous manuscript fairies pay you a visit? Probably not.
In my yet limited experience, I’ve learned a few important things. We see, when polishing the wonderful story, what is supposed to be there. What we intended to put there. Punctuation mistakes, misspellings, and words that have totally different meanings from those we wanted. These mistakes will abound.
And if a publisher sees ten mistakes on the first page, chances are they’ll not even read further.
The reason for this is you skipped one important step…
You didn’t have your work edited.
Not long ago, I read an interesting analogy. You have the perfect resume, flawless in every respect. You’re so confident, you just go to the interview in a t-shirt and jeans. (I know none of you will ever do this, but please read on.) All right now, a man with an impeccable resumes himself comes to the same interview in a shirt with a collar and dress slacks.
Who’s going to get the job?
In short, get your story edited. Don’t send it in in a t-shirt and jeans. If the publisher has to deal with a dozen mistakes on the first page, how are they going to be able to concentrate on your fantastic story? Editors deal with these mistakes all the time, they’ve lots of practice. Now I’m not guaranteeing you’ll get that contract, but I’ll bet you a dollar it’ll get you closer to that coveted document. Trust me; it’ll be worth your time and money to see your contract waiting for your signature.
About the author
Thanks for coming, James! I’m just in the process of picking over my own manuscript for glaring errors and removing all the extraneous words and phrases, of which there are many. I do love a lovely adverb! Amazing how many I’ve shredded in the first read through – but I’m determined my novel will be going out in its best bib and tucker!
If you have any comments on the editing process, or if there are any words or phrases you find yourself using too often in the first draft, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!