Submitting manuscripts for review to literary agents and publishing companies prior to rigorous proofreading and editing nearly always results in rejection. It’s the publishing equivalent of playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun. The odds are against your manuscript surviving the review process.
Like most “professions,” the publishing industry maintains high standards and demands that aspiring authors do likewise. Literary agents and acquisitions editors review mass quantities of manuscripts, very few of which meet publishable standard. Even manuscripts good enough to pass the first round of scrutiny won’t survive a second round.
Publishing is a competitive business, and publishing companies need to make a profit to stay in business. That’s why they’re so selective. They seldom risk time and money on unknown authors who may have a worthy tale or message to share but whose narrative requires extensive revisions, including proofreading and editing.
This is why it’s imperative that first-time authors retain manuscript editing services before submitting their manuscript for review. Professional editors know from experience how to help unpublished authors revise their manuscript to achieve publishable standard. They are experts at both proofreading and editing manuscripts.
Most published authors employ a book editing service or independent editor at some point in their writing career. After several letters of rejection, they realize they need help, and the quality of help they need is more than feedback from friends and colleagues. That’s when the mental light bulb goes on: Maybe I need to find a book editor?
I learned this lesson while preparing my dissertation for submission to the doctoral committee. I asked another Ph.D. candidate to review my unfinished manuscript. She advised me to follow her lead and hire an academic who knew how to edit a book. It was an important lesson to learn and money well spent. The doctoral committee approved my dissertation and I graduated.
Hundreds of publications later, I still put my books and articles through rigorous proofreading and editing. It’s my way of increasing their readability and reducing unnoticed mistakes. That’s how to meet “publishable standard.”
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