There are two things that are almost guaranteed to get your hard work thrown in the slush pile – poor editing and formatting that doesn’t meet the guidelines set out by the publisher. I almost didn’t get my book, Der Reizen, published because I didn’t know the correct formatting for the chapters I sent in. Luckily, Kellan Publishing was forgiving of my mistake. Not everyone is.
Before I even sent a query to Kellan, I made sure I had done a thorough read-through of the book. I had it set up at double-spacing and one-inch margins. The margins I didn’t have to change, but the double-spacing helped me find any mistakes that I’d made in typing and it was easier editing the book because my beta readers had room to make corrections. We still missed a couple of things that were, thankfully, caught in the final edit of the book, but they would have been most embarrassing if they hadn’t been caught before publication.
Proof-read! Don’t rely on spell-checkers. They can’t find, as a rule, errors like typing “ama” instead of “am a”. The first is the acronym for the American Medical Association, the second is what I wanted to say, two words. Spell-checker didn’t pick it up and I lost a job possibility because of that. Read your book through, read it back-to-front, if you have to, checking that each word is the exact word you want and spelled correctly. It’s not only a necessary evil, but would you really read a new release with a multitude of spelling and grammatical errors? Your readers are no different. This is a vital part of your reputation, your brand, as an author.
Formatting and editing are part of a writer’s job description these days. There are more books out there than can be easily published. If you don’t know what formatting you need, ask the publisher. If you send the wrong format, even the title may not get read. Why are editing and formatting so important? For one thing, the editor’s job is a lot harder if the stories are in different fonts and font sizes. It’s a pain to have to change the font on a dozen books, just to see if they’re worth publishing. Asking the publisher what format they prefer is just good manners. Same with spacing. It’s just good manners to ask what kind of line spacing the publisher prefers. Good editing means you look like a writer and not someone pretending to be one. If you don’t proof-read, edit and format your documents properly, the publisher could easily get the impression that you’re not interested in getting published.
Get your copy of Der Reizen here.
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