Today I learnt that it is absolutely vital to get someone else to check over your manuscript. If possible get two people to do it, if possible three.
I’m not saying you need them to check your story and characters and plot and so on (although that might be helpful). No, you need someone to check for spelling, and grammar and contradictory plot points.
Its not possible for a writer to do this themselves. Believe me, no matter how often you check your manuscript, you will miss the most basic of spelling errors. You’ll make a huge plot error (like, say, making your character two different ages – whoops) and you won’t notice it until someone points it out to you – and presenting your manuscript to a publisher is not the time to discover Word has replaced all your character names with ‘closest spelling’.
If you have a literary agent, they can help with this. If you belong to a writing club, perhaps someone will do this in return for you doing it for them. Perhaps your friends will help. Either way, get someone to do it.
Believe me, you will be amazed at what mistakes they uncover – and think how relieved you’ll be to find them before the entire thing is typeset, printed and distributed.