A Northwest Based Literary Journal

Why Proofreading Matters

Just a quick reminder to writers that the submission period for issue 8 of Tahoma Literary Review closes in a week, on August 31 at midnight. We’re making a special call for nonfiction work. But whether you write essays, poetry or stories, if you’ve got something ready, please consider sending it our way. Keep in mind your submission fee goes toward paying the writers we publish. Information on the payment and exposure we provide for our contributors is on this page. Do take some time to peruse our submission guidelines before you send your work in, though. Trust us, the info there will be very helpful, as well.


Speaking of helpful info, here are a few thoughts on why giving your story, essay, or poem one more thorough proofread before submitting can really help your chances of publication.

We mention this because typos and bad grammar seem to occur in manuscripts far more than they should. It may sound petty, but here’s the real issue: you’ve got one brief chance to impress an editor, an editor who may read hundreds of submissions while curating a journal. Although the editor likes the tone and idea of your story, he’s forced to not just read, but also edit as he reads, often having to reread sentences after mentally correcting those errors. This seriously detracts from his interest and enjoyment of the piece, and makes him much more likely to reject it.

When a submission is not well proofread, it tells the editor that the writer has probably not revised, or revised the work enough. He begins to shift his thinking from “I like the idea here,” to, “If the grammar and spelling are bad, what else is wrong with this piece?” And that easily translates into the idea that the writer is simply not serious enough about craft, and the editor becomes prejudiced against the submission.

It’s always best to put your work away for a while before submitting it, even if you’re sure it’s ready. A look with fresh eyes almost always reveals those little mistakes that an editor never misses (really, never). If you’re not confident in your proofreading abilities, turn to your writers’ group or to trusted writing friends to give the work a close read. It could make a difference in an editor’s assessment.

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