One of the beauties of today's digital publishing is the fact you can correct any punctuation or spelling mistakes you find after you've launched your post, blog entry, short story, or novel.
But remember the age old saying, you only have one chance to make a good impression? Yeah, naughty, naughty. You shouldn't have had any mistakes in the document you are publishing. This is why using a good editor and have peers review your work is so important.
The attitude of "I don't need no stinking editor" is widely prevalent in today's fast-paced, information-driven society. If you've read my post, When Your Beta Reader Bails, you'll remember the adage about first impressions.
One major reason a beta reader will bail on your manuscript is if it's loaded with bad grammar and misspellings. But they will also stop reading your manuscript if you never get to the story. I've seen some of the most beautifully written prose in a manuscript that was so damn boring I couldn't keep my eyes open reading it. I've started a few manuscripts where I kept asking so many questions because nothing made sense. These issues can be easily fixed with some good editing.
Now, I'm not talking about one quickie little pass through your story looking for commas. I'm talking about a good, stiff, hard-core edit. Depending on the shape your book is in, this process could take three, four, or five passes to get it to a final draft. And please dear heavens, spend the money on a good editor. Don't just have your sister read it—unless of course, she's a professional editor.
The internet is full of quotes, even one from Hemingway, reminding us everyone writes bad first drafts. It's the editing process that gets your bad first draft corralled into a great manuscript ready to be queried or published. First through a lot of tedious self-editing, and then with the help of a professional editor. Do not forgo the professional editor phase, unless your goal is to never get published, or get loads of one and two-star reviews on your self-published book.
I'll end this little editing rant with a great quote from a well-known editor.
“When reading a book, one hopes it doesn’t turn into a painful process. Predictable is bad enough. Laborious is acceptable if the labor produces fruit. But with painfully bad writing, all one can do is grab a hatchet, slice off its head, and bury it.” ― Chila Woychik