RE: Re-re-re-revision


In response to the post by JS Mawdsley.

I’m so glad you’re sharing these thought processes of revision, J and S! It’s helpful to fellow writers, and it gives us a chance to commiserate with you or let you off the hook on some things.

For example, although it’s important to work toward polishing your work before submitting it to a publisher, when it comes to works of fiction and memoir and possibly other forms, my understanding from working in the industry is that even established publishing-house editors expect several imperfections in any given manuscript.

First impressions are key, so the pitch, submission letter, and first several pages of your sample should be pristine.

But otherwise, as long as the core of the story is compelling, well told, well written, and shows promise as a workable entity, they probably won’t be as concerned about things such as your choices of typeface formatting of in-verse terms or even consistent spelling of those terms. Those are elements that editors and proofreaders get paid to refine with you–and often without you. I believe also that, typically, editors often have veto power over the titling of one’s book and certainly have a primary say in cover design and other physical and electronic book product features.

So although I suspect you won’t hesitate to pull the trigger on submission when it comes down to it, I would encourage you not to nit-pick your text too much prior to sending it out. Receptive editors may suggest all sorts of revisions and edits that nullify many detailed refinements you make beforehand, so I would say, save yourself from excessively repeated efforts.

I can advise you in this way because I know what sticklers you already are and that you will do what is necessary to create the best possible presentation. What have you two learned about publisher expectations so far?

Because I’ve been out of the traditional publishing industry since before the advent of online and self-publishing, I’d love to hear from others with more recent experience.

What do others of you out there think about this issue? Are publishers truly looking for typographical perfection in received submissions? What are the main editor pet peeves that consistently return manuscripts to the slush or rejection pile?

Regardless of all these questions, J and S, I am so happy and excited that you’re getting so close to publishing! Keep us “posted” on your progress.

2 thoughts on “RE: Re-re-re-revision

  1. Pingback: On Treating Writing as a Form of Play | Philosofishal

  2. Pingback: Five-Phrase Friday (18) | Philosofishal

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