The evolution of literature publication is incredibly exciting. Not too long ago, getting published was a huge, daunting task that involved as much luck as it did skill. Today, getting your book out there is as simple as writing it and clicking a few links.
Because it’s so easy to self-publish ebooks and print-on-demand books, there has been a huge proliferation of poorly written books with bad grammar and tons of spelling mistakes. That means, just by making sure that your book has proper spelling and grammar, you can really stand out from the crowd.
These guides should be a part of every writer’s library:
The Chicago Manual of Style
Strunk and White’s The Element’s of Style
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
Each of these books has answers to almost all of your grammar and style questions. You should also have a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, or subscribe to the online edition of the OED for those spelling questions that your word processor’s spell checker just can’t answer. It’s also a good reference to ensure that you’re not misusing any words in your text.
Of course, these references do you no good at all if you don’t use them, but how can you tell if you have a grammar problem? When the time comes to revise your work, try reading it aloud. If you stumble over a sentence when reading it out loud, it probably has some structural or grammatical errors and needs to be revised. When you find this happening, take a look at what’s going on in the sentence or paragraph you’re revising, and then go to your grammar and style guides.