Does Spelling Matter?
We are often asked why we are so ‘hung up’ on the small stuff – the spelling, presentation and grammar. There are several answers to this so I am sure our proof-readers will have a lot to say on the subject. Sneaking in first, perhaps I can start this discussion rolling with my main reason for believing that it is important for aspiring authors to look long and hard at their spelling.
I receive a lot of manuscripts for consideration.
Our readers have only so many hours in any day as do I, so when I am assessing whether a book is worth sending for further discussion, I am heavily influenced by how much correction a book will need. Chief amongst my concerns is how little effort the author has gone to before sending it to us… We will not publish any book that is not thoroughly checked for spelling and ‘typos’. If the author can’t be bothered at least to correct obvious mistakes, one wonders why we should care. When we have made allowances in the past it has cost us a lot of time (and therefore money) to edit spelling as well as grammar and readability!
From discussions with other Publishers, this is a common problem across the board – and is the reason why so many good stories and inspired books are rejected right at the very beginning of their journey!
We prefer to publish books in ENGLISH. So we expect any books sent to us to have been spell-checked using an English UK Dictionary – an option in most writing programs, but beware. Just because spell-checks now allow a ‘z’ in some words, does not make it right. Where there is an ‘s’ in English, we do not like it to be Americanised.
We want our books to be suitable for a global market and are already building up a readership from different cultures and backgrounds. People want to enjoy a well-written story, confident that the standard of English is important to us. If our books are to travel and be easily translated into other languages, in the future, it makes sense to spend time polishing the book from the start.