In today’s increasingly competitive market, it’s essential to have your manuscript as polished as possible before submitting it to an agent. Agents can receive hundreds of submissions a month, and might only take on one or two new clients a year.
Therefore, as a writer, it’s in your best interest to have a polished manuscript to get noticed. No matter how great the concept might be, manuscripts riddled with punctuation and spelling errors will, more often than not, receive an automatic rejection.
To get through their many submissions, agents often read through the manuscripts at an extremely fast pace. Thus, a positive first impression is necessary to grab an agent’s attention.
A professional and spotless manuscript will make a much better first impression than a document filled with grammar errors and typos. Therefore, it’s best to send in your thoroughly edited work.
Before Approaching an Agent: Helpful Tips
Before sending your book to be edited in preparation for sending it to an agent, make sure you’ve done some basic proofreading yourself.
Have you used the basic spelling and grammar check tools?
Does your writing read smoothly and clearly?
Can the reader understand the concepts you’re trying to convey?
When editing your work, always keep your reader in mind. Ask yourself what your reader already knows. What you would like your reader to know. And what your reader might be thinking at a particular point in your writing.
Moreover, who is your target audience? It’s a good idea to tailor your writing to meet the needs of your target audience.
There are also many online resources that could help you with some basic grammar rules, as well as with citation formatting. The Purdue website is usually an excellent resource: owl.english.purdue.edu
Lastly, professional editorial help, such as can be found at FirstEditing.com, is always a good idea, especially for honest feedback and constructive criticism. Your friends and family may offer much-needed support and encouragement. However, it’s better to turn to a professional editor for an honest critique.
Furthermore, hiring a professional editor, such as one of the editors on the FirstEditing team, usually costs no more than a few pennies per word. Editors at FirstEditing are more than happy to not only edit your work, but to also provide you with honest advice.
Therefore, it’s best to have a professional pair of eyes read your book before submitting it to an agent.
Originally posted 9/28/2010 and happily updated 10/26/2017. Thanks for reading!