Yes, I’m talking about this subject today. No, you don’t get to ignore it. Yes, proofreading your book after it’s been through so many beta readers, your critique group, and several rewrites sounds like the last thing you want to do.
But you will do it. And you will smile while you take days to go through each sentence and word, making sure they belong and aren’t misspelled.
First, you need to ask yourself why you’re even asking this question. Don’t you remember that old saying about putting your best foot forward?
A bit of history here, because I adore history. Put your best foot forward is linked to a line from a poem by Sir Thomas Overbury, circa 1613, The Wife.
“Hee is still setting the best foot forward.”
What this means is very simple. You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Therefore, you need to act or appear at your best when meeting someone for the first time.
How does this apply to proofreading?
Quite simply, you are handing your work off to a publisher, attempting to earn a chance to be part of their house. If you are so lazy that you can’t take the time to proofread your book, if the submissions manager is continually seeing grammatical and/or spelling errors, what kind of impression do they get of you?
More than likely, this person believes you aren’t someone willing to work hard to assist the editor and proofreader in fixing the issues they discover. The submissions manager will deduce that you don’t care enough about your work to check out every sentence to ensure there are no mistakes.
In other words, you have failed to put your best foot forward and will more than likely find your book declined by said publisher.
This line of work we’re in is a tough one. It requires a dedication not seen in most jobs. Successful authors will say this over and over again—one must not just write, we must edit and revise, we must check and triple check, and only then can we allow the world to see our work.
Before you decide your work is good enough for a publisher, please take the time to proofread and double check everything.