If you are new to the publishing world and want to make the best first impression on an editor, here’s the secret: Submit your best work and follow submission guidelines fanatically.
Please don’t send us – or any publication – a work-in-progress. Carefully edit your work – once, twice, three times. Read your piece out loud and edit it again. Then proof, proof, proof from a hard copy to catch any remaining typos and errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Editing and proofreading are two distinct writing processes. While they sometimes overlap, editing should be done first, proofing second.
What’s the difference? You edit for clarity and proofread for correctness.
Editing ensures your piece is put together in the most effective way. Do your sentences, ideas, concepts, information flow easily from one to the next? Are the facts correct and consistent? In poetry, is the lineation and stanza structure supportive of your theme and imagery? Are there any words, phrases, images, descriptions, background information that need to be eliminated – or added – to make your work stronger?
Proofreading is the process of checking your work for correct spelling, grammar and punctuation. While many writers edit on their computers, the final proofreading should be done from a hard copy.
One common mistake new writers make is to rely only on their eyes for this process. Engage someone who’s mastered the rules to review your piece before you submit it. You’ll be amazed at what you missed – even after several rounds of proofing.
Master the basic rules of punctuation
(Then, if you break them, you’ll do so intentionally.)