I expected my Inbox to be flooded with comments today, but I didn’t receive one. Because I deliberately put in a huge spelling mistake on Friday’s post, repeated about 4 times, and nobody noticed it. Or maybe, you were all too polite to tell me. The word of course was “Responsibility”.
Now if I had sent a submission to an editor with that glaring mistake, he/she wouldn’t have bothered to read any further, because I would be dismissed as incompetent. These days most people have a spell-check among their computer tools, or at the very least, own a dictionary. There is no excuse for such an error, any more than if you quoted a date wrongly, or attributed a quotation to the wrong person. These are all mistakes that can cost you a reputation as not being reliable, and once caught out, an editor may never trust you again.
The other thing you need to watch with regard to correct spelling is if you are submitting to a British or an American publication, because in this case, the spelling of words will be slightly different. In England, Canada and Australia , the media adheres to British spelling, such as favour, ardour, flavour etc. An American submission would offer the words as favor, ardor, flavor . This is not so bad as an obvious spelling mistake, but editors appreciate it when you go to the trouble of saving them all the corrections. I had a problem a few years ago when the Jerusalem Post, to which I was a frequent contributor at the time, changed over from British spelling (inherited from when it was called The Palestine Post) to American spelling, which it still uses today – although their crossword puzzles use British spelling.
Take the time before you submit anything to make sure that not only your submission but also your “pitch” or query letter is perfect grammatically – the spelling, punctuation and data, and you’ll be looked on more favourably (or favorably) by the editor.