If you believe that an agent or a publisher’s literary editor is your personal editing service, take a look at the cost proposition of your grammar mistakes. Check to see quickly whether you’re God’s gift to writing. No? Then you can’t simply sneeze on a piece of paper and it’ll publish. Prove to your literary agent and/or publisher that you are a good cost proposition. Work on your grammar.
Good writers know the grammar rules, and know when to bend or break them. As readers, we even welcome these changes as refreshing. For example, sometimes purposely breaking a grammar rule adds emphasis, or makes a piece of writing seem more true-to-life in terms of its dialogue or inner monologue.
Are you at that point in your writing? You sure? When an editor has to man the battle stations and become hyper-vigilant on your submission because errors are rampant, perhaps that’s not a stylistic choice you’re making, but costly mistakes.
Cost of editing:
The amount of money a book editor makes varies widely. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10 percent of editors earn more than than $98,430 a year — an average of $47.32 per hour. On the lowest end of the pay scale, editors are paid less than $29,400 per year, an hourly wage of $14.14.
Price of average mass paperback book:
U.S. periodical prices increased 6.1% from 2013 to 2014. Adult fiction books, audio books, and E-Books average price per volume for 2014: Hardcover fiction = $29.94, down 1.2%. Mass market paperback fiction = $7.09, up 1.3%.
I’ve easily spent 5 hours editing just one person’s material, all told. Every other line was an error in antecedent, the wrong word used, comma errors, dialog tag errors, or errors in tense. Those are just the grammar mistakes which do not even include errors in POV, holes in the plot, dropped portions of the plot, lack of tension, or other, more esoteric, writing considerations.
Let’s say that the typical copy editor is far more efficient than I am: 3 hours of editing instead of 5.
Before the cost of printing, distributing, and advertising your book, a publisher will therefore spend $50 x 3 = $150 on editing your book MINIMUM just on the grammar.
That means the publisher will need to sell, at $7 per book, 21 of your books just to recoup the cost of your grammar mistakes.
Is that good business? Is having all those grammar errors how you intend to present yourself as a good writer whose material will be in demand?
Is your last name Roth, King, or Grisham? No?
You don’t want 20+ book sales worth of money to cover the cost of grammar mistakes.