Invest in yourself. You’re worth every penny.
After many, many years working in the corporate administrative world where I slaved over a typewriter and then a computer, I’ve learned the value of producing superior work. Be it a product, a service, a technical document, promotional flyer, presentation, brochure, report, or even an email, poor quality can derail your efforts for success. The last thing you want to do is show the world anything less than meticulous.
Think about it. Would you go to the local grocery store and purchase a liter bottle of Coca-Coal? Or a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Suop?
Not me! If I can’t trust the company that produced the product to be meticulous with their labeling, how can I trust they weren’t also careless with what’s inside?
Which leads me to ask why any writer would expect an editor or publisher to overlook obvious flaws in a manuscript submission. No one knows how many manuscripts are submitted to publishers each year, but research shows that only 1 out of every 1,000 are accepted, and then only 1 in 2,000 of those gets published!
Look at the competition. Amazon.com alone offers upwards of 800,000 ebooks and more than 1.8 million physical books for order!
For those who choose to bypass the traditional contractual process and follow the self-publishing route, great! Indies have opened the door for pretty much everyone to succeed in the publishing industry. But let me refer back to the paragraph above about the Chicken Noodle Suop.
Bookstores and online retailers are in the business of selling and making money. Consequently, they’re extremely interested is understanding what drives a reader to purchase a book, and have conducted tons of research on reading habits. Did you know that readers who start a new book, only one in four will finish that book?
Various reasons are cited for this — They’re boring, not plausible, unrealistic, I can’t relate to the characters, too wordy. not enough action, etc. But the one reason that screamed at me was: “I couldn’t get past all the spelling, punctuation, and formatting errors.”
Yikes! Don’t let this be you!
Join a writing group or go to writing conferences. Attend classes, find a critique partner. Maybe recruit beta readers, utilize online tools, follow blogs that focus on writing tips, or even invest in a good copy editor.
One of the first things you should do as a writer, whether seasoned or a newbie, is clean up your manuscript.
Study the standard requirements. Know what is expected from a publisher, an editor, and your reader-audience. Master the fundamentals. Create your own self-editing checklist. Invite others you trust to critique your work.
I’ve provided several several excellent links below that can help you through this process. Use them. Look for others. The number of free online resources is almost overwhelming. Take advantage of them.