If I asked you all what the most important thing about a submission is, I bet I would get a lot of different answers. Some would say the quality of writing, others would say the plot, some the believability of the characters and still others would say just a plain good story....and every answer is right.
But almost more important than any of those is PROOFING.
You could have a great story, wonderful, engaging characters and a catchy voice but this can be very hard to see through a manuscript that is full of proofing errors.
Now, I'm not talking about complex grammar or even the argumentative commas. What I am speaking of is the most basic, simple things that should be found before you even think about sending in a submission.
Spelling errors [yelow, policee, its vs it's, brothers vs brother]
Forgetting to add a quotation mark or period at the end of a sentence
["He's so cute, Helen said. She didn't want to go He made her.]
Spacing between words (or words written together with no spaces) [John didn'twant to go. Jennifer aawas the best kkfriend a girl could have.]
Using the same word over and over again or beginning sentences with the same word [She wasn't going to make it. She would need to run way to fast. She wanted to, but couldn't make it even if she ran as fast as she could.]
As you can see, most are very simple. Things that should easily be found by reading over the final copy. Yet this happens all the time and can be very distracting to an editor reading a manuscript. We want to give you the best chance possible, but when a manuscript comes in that has many simple things that should have been found during a good proof reading, we get concerned right from page one--wouldn't you much rather us be intrigued from page one?
It's exciting to finish a story. It's exciting to press that send button and FINALLY get it onto an editor's desk. But it's MORE important to get it onto our desk in the best possible condition.
Rushing will only get us a manuscript. Taking your time and letting someone else proof read your work for even the most basic things, will get us a good manuscript. Then let your voice and your story have the chance to prove to us that it could be a great manuscript.