Q. I'm curious. What are the ten worst mistakes a writer can make when submitting for publication?
A. An interesting question. Here's my Top 10 List: (1) Wrong subject matter. Writing on a topic for which there is no market. (2) Lack of editing. I find it helpful to edit every manuscript both on the screen and on a hard copy. If you are weak in an area like where to put commas, then study that area carefully until you can edit your own material properly. (3) The wrong tone. Determine the tone that is appropriate for the piece of writing—could be humorous, or dark, or analytical, or light-hearted—or Christian. This is especially true when writing in the Christian market. (4) Too personal—focusing on you instead of your readers. (5) Not doing your marketing research; sending to the wrong publisher. This is one of the biggest reasons for rejection. (6) Untimely; writing about a subject that is already past its prime—or will be by the time the article or the book is published. (7) Too narrow a market. The broader the interest in a topic, the more likely you are to find a publisher. If you can find only two or three potential markets for a piece,or a book, chances are against you finding the right match. (8) Writing intended to attack a person or group. It's good to have strong feeling about a topic, and clearly state your position, but don't attack the opposition. (9) Not having a Christian slant when writing for a Christian publisher. Although a particular topic (that could also be written from a general perspective) may be of interest to a Christian publisher, it has to be written from a Christian perspective. (10) Trying to write like another writer, or trying to follow in their footsteps. God has a path laid out for you—you need to follow it to your own success.