Learn the craft of writing

Many would be writers fail before they start.

They fail because they have not learned the basics of the craft of writing. They assume that they can write a best seller on the basis of their ability to string together a few words. They have not done their apprenticeship in the craft of writing. Then they get upset because their manuscript gets rejected the first time they send it to a publisher.

Time for a reality check.

I read recently about a successful editor working for a large publishing company who stated that at least 80% of manuscripts fail in the first page or two and deserved to be rejected. That’s a staggering statistic. Novice writers are almost all rejected because they fail to study or understand the writing and publishing process.

This editor made some simple to follow observations:

  1. Follow the publisher’s guidelines to the letter. Most writers don’t bother to do this basic first step and so their manuscript will be rejected. That is the harsh reality whether they like it or not.
  2. Format the manuscript correctly. Presentation is everything. Most  publishers have their own way they require a manuscript to be presented. Find out what that is and follow it.
  3. Check the grammar. A poor grasp of the English language, its structures, formalities and conventions will make it easy for the editor to reject a manuscript. If you lack confidence or knowledge in this area get someone to teach you – or find a book or course to help you.
  4. Check the spelling. Spelling mistakes can and must be avoided. Check every word, recheck and check again. When writing my current novel I’m on the 7th draft and I’m still finding typos.
  5. Check the punctuation. Again, check, double check and then some more. Get someone else to check the manuscript for you. Pay a professional copy-editor to check it for you. You will be amazed at how many simple errors can creep in under the radar.

In short – give yourself the best possible chance of having your manuscript accepted for publication.

Good writing.


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