Publishers see a lot of books, with seeing so many we tend to notice a lot of common writing mistakes. So, stay tuned to find out what they are!
To start off with, look at what you’re sending off. Would you be impressed? Structure your manuscript with chapters and paragraphs. Create a contents page or index if need be. Also, we shouldn’t even have to say this, but when you’ve finished your book, also send it off in the correct manner. We have received handwritten manuscripts, covered in coffee cup stains reeking of cigarette smoke, we wish we were joking.
Less is best
The best advice we’ve heard is to think of every word as a pound and you’re trying to save as much money as you can. It can be very difficult to be in-between too vague or too detailed. You want to be detailed so the reader can imagine what you want them too, but overly explaining everything can bore a reader, so get a good in-between. Bret Eastern Ellis is the master of this, so if you want a good reference author, check him out.
No need to go into detail for this one. Learn when commas should and shouldn’t be used.
Silly things like missing the apostrophe with “its”, checking your spelling and effect vs affect and their, there and they’re – keep your homophones in check!
Draft, draft and draft again
Every now and again, we come across a manuscript that feels like it’s just been written, no draft, no rewrite – looks like the author just read through it once it’s written and sent it off. We cannot stress this enough, the first draft is almost never the best it can be. Keep drafting, take out things, add things in and speak to people and get their honest opinions. Do not think yourself above changing your first draft, leave your ego at the door and get the best out of your work.
Use a thesaurus
It’s so easy to overuse certain words. We all have our little favourites. Do a quick ctr f and search in the words you know you like to use and count how many times you have used it. If it’s a lot, consider changing some… that’s when the trusty thesaurus comes in. Don’t shy away from it, it will be your friend until the very end.