Editing for Submission Success

In the submission process, everyone knows the first sentence—not to mention the first few chapters—must be a grabber. Writers polish and repolish these pages. Some even have them professionally edited. But what about the rest of the manuscript?


I can’t tell you how many times we have requested a full manuscript only to ultimately reject it because of numerous minor editing problems. There are so many reasons for a manuscript to be rejected. Don’t let technical problems, such as punctuation and grammar, be among them.


Do not, for instance, rely on spell check. It will tell you if a word is spelled incorrectly but not if it’s used incorrectly. For example, spell check is unaware of homophones, such as here/hear, eye/aye, and heel/heal.


As long as I have your attention, I’m going to mention one more time my number one pet peeve: overused words. Over years of reading and editing, I’ve found these to be the biggest problem words for authors:





and then






These are often referred to as crutch, or habit, words, but any word at all can be overused. You use a certain word once, get it stuck in your head, and somehow it keeps popping up, and the result is an irritable editor. As a writer, I’m quite familiar with this little problem, as I do it so often myself.


My final piece of advice is that an author’s two best friends should be a good thesaurus and the Chicago Manual of Style.


Until next time—happy writing.


Helen A Rosburg

About Rosburg Helen A

Helen A Rich is owner, president, and executive editor of Medallion Press, Inc., a nonfiction and genre fiction publishing company based in Aurora, IL. Helen is also an award-winning author, who has previously written as Helen A Rosburg, and a sponsor of Triple Threat Mentoring, a not-for-profit organization devoted to helping under-resourced urban youth gain confidence and life skills. She lives on a slightly dusty farm in Florida with a zoo’s worth of rescued or retired critters, including horses, rabbits, dogs, cats, pigs, and chickens. When not running Medallion Press, writing, or showing horses and dogs, Helen enjoys traveling to exotic locations across the world.


Awards and Nominations

By Honor Bound

2005 Affair de Coeur Reader Writer Poll Nominee for Best Overall Historical

Call Of The Trumpet

Honorable Mention for Genre-Based Fiction for the 2007 London Book Festival

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One Response to Editing for Submission Success

  1. jan banks says:

    Thank you for comments helpful to us “wannabe’s” Useful and too the point. also, How glad I am that you helped a Marine save his dogs. Your generous heart shines through. I for one am grateful.

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