I know, I know-- I talk about editing a lot. Could be because I'm an editor, could be because it's so important. I fully acknowledge that I'm OCD about it. I cannot turn off the inner editor and too many times that ruins what might be a perfectly fine story for me. Little things like a miss-used word, too many adverbs or a lack of "flow" send me into howls of despair. And more often than not, result in me not finishing the story or book or novella. I just can't do it. I like to think I'm not the only one who has this problem. It might be genetic because my sister and my kids pick up on it too.
But I'm fully ready to admit that I do not know everything. (Well, no one KNOWS everything, even those who like to think they do.) And I too, can benefit from editing. I know this. My critique partner points it out. And if I hadn't already know it, it was recently proven to me. A facebook friend took my Friday flash, "A Whore Named Josie" and edited it for me. He managed to cut out those 150 words that I thought were absolutely essential. Did I agree with all of it? No, of course not. But I did agree with most of it and even learned a thing or three. He did what good editors do-- he took my story and made it shine. I liked it so much that I sent him another story of mine to edit and he sent me one of his. (Because the writing world should totally operate on a bartering for services basis, if you ask me.) This time? I liked most of it, rewrote the story and we were both happy with the outcome.
That's how your relationship with a good editor should work. They aren't out to rewrite your story themselves (hell, I do NOT have time for that!), they want to make suggestions and help you rewrite your story into one you are both proud to have worked on. They will find your diamond in the rough and help you polish it. Please remember this when hiring or dealing with an editor.
Sure I know that's money you could spend on other things. But working with an editor before you publish should not be optional. I just told you that even editors (who are trained to catch mistakes, plot holes and sloppy writing) need editors. No one can catch all of their own mistakes. And beta readers are great, but they are not a substitute for an editor. I'm always amazed at the things that beta readers did not catch. Publishing your book with a clean, mistake free, polished manuscript will gain you respect from your readers and other writers. Hurriedly putting something out just because you can too often results in your book not being all that it can be. You will lose readers and respect. No one wants that. And no one wants that for you.
So barter the services, spend the money or beg-- but get that book, story, novella-- edited. Because you're worth it. And so is your manuscript.
PS- if an editor sends you a request for a rewrite on a submission or suggested editorial changes, try to realize that we are doing our job, not judging your work or being mean or insulting you. We want the same thing you do-- for your work to shine.