Spell Check Your Submission

You’ve spent months or years working over your manuscript. Every single plot point has been brought to a satisfying conclusion. Your narratives are both tight and descriptive. The characters speak in a normal tone rather than bombastic blatherings. The synopsis you labored over for what seemed like your lifetime is so tight that a quarter bounced off it will fly over a mountain.

So it’s not time to send that beautiful book off to a publisher. You have nothing left to do. You’ve done it all. Looking over what you’ve written one last time is the  last thing on your mind. It doesn’t matter there are a slew of red lines under some of the words you’ve used. So what? The publisher will be so entranced by your story they will immediately send you a contract and shower you with praise.

Really?

Do you really expect a publisher to offer you a contract if you’ve skipped the biggest step every author does when writing their book.

Did you spell check your work?

The best responses I’ve gotten are along the lines of:

Spell check? That’s the editor’s job.

Me? Spell check? Nah, I don’t need to spell check my work. I know how to spell.

Why? What reason exists to spell check my book?

First, for your book to be seen by an editor, you have to get past the editor in chief. This august person is often overworked, with more to do in a day than the average person does in a week. They’re just looking for a reason to reject a book. If they open your book in their word processing program and see all those red, and green, lines, their first thought is going to be “Why in the world doesn’t anyone spell check?”

Yup, that’s right. Editors in chief expect you to spell check. They also expect you to grammar check a document, which can be done at the same time as a spell check. They will not offer a contract for a book where the author obviously doesn’t want to take the time to ensure it is its best prior to sending it out.

Think of if this way… Your book is like your clothing. It’s the first thing the editor in chief sees about you. You are being judged by what your submission looks like. A book that hasn’t gone through not one but many spell/grammar checks prior to submission is like wearing a pair of jeans ready to go into the trash to a formal affair—it’s just not done.


My advice to you? If you want a serious chance for your book to be considered for publication, use that F7 key, frequently. Make your book the best it can be before you click send.

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