Just One Letter.

I was at the supermarket the other day and was looking at different shampoos for dogs. Our dog has a sensitive skin, so I didn’t want anything which was too harsh. I narrowed it down to a couple of bottles, one slightly cheaper than the other. I looked at the back of the cheaper shampoo.

‘Natural ingredients to give your dog a healthy shinny coat!’ it claimed.

SHINNY?!

I put the bottle down and chose the more expensive one. If they can’t do a basic spell-check on their label, I thought, then how am I going to trust their brand? It’s not like they mis-used an apostrophe, or failed to end a sentence with a full stop. They made up a word! It screamed a lack of attention to detail.

And it made me think about why it’s so important to get a good editor to read through your work. Yes, you can rewrite and do spell-checks and even get a friend to read it for you, depending on the friend. But when you put out a book, write an article, enter a short story in a competition… your name and your brand are on that work. People are going to read it, and judge you for what you’ve left in, or left out. They’ll decide whether they like your work, depending not only on how strong your writing is, but also how it’s presented. Typos, missing punctuation, spelling errors… they all add up to an overall impression, and that first impression is your best chance to get a foot in the door and have that reader continue to read, rather than putting your work down and picking up the next person’s submission.

After all, it’s not dog shampoo you’re selling. It’s your words. You need them to be as clean, well-groomed, and shinny as they can be.

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About Rebecca Freeman

I'm an editor of fiction and non-fiction. I also write stories of my own, because then I can steal all the best bits of the work I edit. Uh... I mean, I find reading and editing other people's work really inspiring and interesting. Really, though. Being able to work with an author to help their work shine is such a privilege and a really fun experience. I'm so happy I get to do it. When not editing, I like to run, write, grub about in the dirt, and drink tea.
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