X: I know exact doesn't start with X, but I'm cheating a little here. In the few spare minutes I have after visiting dozens of blogs each day, I'm editing Book #3 of The Futhark Chronicles. This is my final edits before I sent it to a professional for polishing. I printed a hard copy because I see mistakes better that way. And I'm finding lots of them. I thought it was nearly perfect but it is far from it. I've been adding and deleting those commas, rewriting sentences to vary their style and messing with those dialogue tags.
As a relatively unknown writer, I need to make a good impression on readers and any writing professionals I can convince to consider my work. As a writer, I constantly judge the books I read. Even books published by major houses and written by very successful authors are far from perfect. Not everything in them is exactly as it should be. They have mistakes those of us not so well-known aren't permitted to make. I recently tried a new suspense author and found every cliche and stereotype in the book I've always tried to avoid. The dialogue was stilted, the actions of the characters completely predictable and heroine 'too stupid to live.' Somehow the author sold this book and has the second installment in the series coming out soon. I couldn't read it past the first fifty pages.
So, I'll keep working on my imperfect manuscript and try to be as exact as I can on spelling and style. Hopefully if someone puts my book aside, it won't because of the mistakes that could have been prevented with a good edit.
Do you try to get everything exact or do you depend on your editors to help it become perfect? What things do you think established authors get away with that newbies don't?