I would be really grateful if you would answer my question. I have been working on a book for the past ten years or so (I'm a slow writer). I would like to finish the manuscript before another ten years of my life go flying by and I've been in the fine polishing stage for the past year. My question is, how polished should the final manuscript be before submitting to an agent? I know this is a silly question because obviously the cleaner everything is grammar, spelling, continuity wise, the better my chances of being accepted are, but at the same time, I don't trust myself to pick up on all the little mistakes that might be lurking in there. Should I hire someone to edit and proof read the manuscript for me? Or should I find guinea pigs to sit and read the book and give me feedback? If the later is the correct answer, where can I find such people?
Wow, you have been at it for a while. I'd suggest getting a critique group to read it for little grammatical / punctuation issues and big-picture problems. And then stop worrying the manuscript and get it out there.
I try to look past the little stuff that a copyeditor will end up fixing, but there are a few mistakes (eg its/it's) that, when made repeatedly, make it very, very hard for me to keep reading.