It’s very important! Surely, you didn’t expect me to say anything different.
When you submit a manuscript to a publisher, you want to give them the best story you can. That means you tell a good tale, create believable characters, and the writing is the best you can produce.
But wait, there’s more. You want to make sure the spelling and grammar adhere to industry standards, because if your work is full of typos and weird sentences that don’t make sense, the publisher isn’t going to waste their time trying to fix it. They’ll reject it, and here’s why: if an author submits a work full of typos and grammar errors that are easily caught and corrected but the writer didn’t bother, the publisher is going to doubt the author can make the suggested edits.
What if you self-publish and pay an editor to vet your manuscript? Same thing applies. The editor is going to wonder if you are capable of making his edits without reintroducing typos and grammar errors. Most editors don’t want to be associated with authors like this; it gives their work a bad name.
Writers who don’t take pride in their work, who think it’s up to the editor to “fix all that crap so I don’t have to” are unprofessional and will find it difficult to hire good people.
I want to be clear about something. All writers make mistakes, and none of us find them all before passing our manuscripts on to the editor or publisher. This is normal, it’s expected, it is the proper balance of things. 🙂 After all, it keeps editors in business, so thank you for doing what is expected!
What I’m talking about is the manuscript that goes so far beyond what is considered acceptable, it scares the shit out of the publisher or editor, who become very nervous about taking it on for the reason stated above: is the writer capable of making the suggested edits? If the original manuscript is a mess, it is doubtful.
Please don’t expect an editor to waste valuable time fixing stuff you should have corrected before giving him the manuscript. Read it at least once! Twice would be better, and if you have time and a willing friend, have it beta’d, too.
When the editor gets that manuscript, he’s ready to do the serious work of making your manuscript the best it can be by concentrating on plot, characterization, and the occasional typo/grammar error, rather than wasting all his time fixing the shit you should have before giving it to him.
This isn’t rocket science, boys and girls. It’s how things are done. If you don’t want to bother with the extra read-through, you’re not ready to be a writer who is taken seriously.