As I continue on this journey of seeking an agent, I am once again reminded of that dreadful No. 1 reason we get REJECTED...Our Writing is Crap. I appreciate the way agent Mike Nappa doesn't sugar coat this issue. He doesn't tell us, "Remember, send out your best work." He instead gives us the lowdown from his point of view. He rejects us simply because he can't say, "Hey, this writing is good."
Why am I looking back on this issue? Well, as I was working through my final edit on my Saving Mary book I found a horde of little errors and I gasped, "I sent this manuscript out to agents! With these errors! No wonder I got rejected!" This got me thinking, why had I not payed attention to these little errors before? The sad answer is rather simple: I didn't take the time to completely edit my work because in the back of my mind I always thought, Well, an agent will help me do that. Which brings me to Reason No. 14 of why writers get REJECTED: You Are Lazy.
The sad truth is, somewhere along the line I began to think that editing was an agent's job and not mine. But when I decided to publish an ebook suddenly, now, editing was my job--and I took it seriously. I edited and found quite a few errors, and then I took another step: I hired an editor--who found even more errors. But the editor didn't find all the errors. What she did was awaken me to the kinds of mistakes I was continually making. So, from there I edited some more, then I edited some more and some more. In a manuscript that I had always thought was 'good enough for an agent' I found five missing As, a set of inverted words,a doubled word and some not so right sentence structures...and I spelled a few words wrong (and spell check didn't pick up on them and neither did the editor). I also found some 'thens' that should have been 'thans.' I found capitals where capitals shouldn't be, I found cumulative adjective with commas between them and I found missing commas and missing quotations marks. All in all, I found a lot of errors.
The truth is, in order to get the attention of an agent or publisher, we must send out--not just a good idea with some good writing--but our best work. Which means taking editing seriously--especially if we are new to the scene. Of course, you don't have to hire an editor to look over your whole manuscript, but I do advise that you hire one to look over your sample chapters. An editor can teach you to become a better self-editor. So don't be lazy like me. Do the work.