In my humble opinion, this is a bunch of garbage.
Sure editors have copy editors dealing with the technical side of things, but I am sorry, there needs to be a heavy focus, early on in the submission process with the grammar. Agents who only deal with the content and worry about the surface level of the grammar need to focus on this just as much as the copy editors. Now, as for the writers, this is a must.
Writing professionally involves much more than simply telling a good story. If this is all that you want to do, then take up the profession of storytelling and go back to the oral tradition. If you want to write, then it is an imperative to know your grammar and to be able to use it effectively and properly.
When I read a submission, I look at the usage of grammar and punctuation carefully. This tells me a great deal about the ability of the writer to produce a well crafted project. Sure, dialogue may have run-ons and fragments, but the narration, the scene building should not have any of that.
I think of the line (and I often use it here) of the Hallmark commercial - "When you care enough to send the very best." This is what we are dealing with when it comes to grammar and writing.
Now, if you are someone that wants to place the blame on other people such as:
- I have been out of school for a long time.
- My English teacher didn't teach me #^%$$$!
- My spell checker and grammar checker is busted.
- This is just not my thing.
I strongly suggest you fix the problem! Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Now do something about it.
I do want to say, that I don't want people to think that having any mistake is a problem. Things do slip through the cracks and that is why we have copy editors. They will catch those small mistakes. But for those of you that blow the system off saying it doesn't matter - I shake my head at you.
Please people. For the sake of the English language, learn that grammar. If you have no idea how to do that, invite me to your writing group. I'll take a full day (or more if necessary) and help you all out! Tell your conference coordinators to "get of the stick" and help you out on this one.
(Sorry but the English teacher in me is coming out).