If you believe the legendary baseball player Yoga Berra’s famous line “It ain’t over till it’s over,” then you’ll appreciate why it’s necessary to apply that adage to your manuscript. Among his many memorable words of wisdom, Yogi also once uttered, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
No one has ever known how smart or unsmart Yogi really is, but one thing is for sure: If you send an excerpt of your manuscript to a prospective publisher with a plethora of grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors, you’ll have three strikes against you, and you’ll strike out with the publisher!
So you’re a spell-check kind of a person. Spell-check fits our society’s norm of instant gratification, but it’s not reliable enough. It may alert you to some simple slip-ups, but it doesn’t do well with context issues. Sometimes it even fails with simple words that are homonyms. Even after you’ve made corrections based on an electronic spell-check, you’ll need to hire a professional human spell-checker, commonly known as a professional editor, to upgrade your finished product.
Once a publisher has seen your polished product and offered you a contract, your manuscript will still go through a few more rounds of editing. Edits will take place before and after a graphic designer has prepared the book for the printer, and again once the galleys are returned for one last look by the author, graphic designer and publisher. Only then would Yogi Berra be able to pat you on the back and tell you “it’s over” (if he was a publisher), as the book gets ready to roll off the presses!