Editing is a vital part of any novel, regardless of audience, genre, or subject. Editing is to writing as seasonings are to food. Sure, you could eat unsalted eggs, but they’re not good. Seasons makes food taste better. If food tastes good, you’re more likely to eat more. If food tastes bad, you’re not going to buy that brand anymore.
As an indie author, I know how large the concept of editing seems. What do you do when a beta reader tells you that your entire novel needs a facelift? You do not reject the notion and publish it anyway. You do not tell the beta reader they are wrong. You take a deep breath. You walk away if you have to. Then you give your novel a facelift.
How do you know when your novel needs a facelift? Most of the time, writers are too close to their novels to see its faults. You see the story that you’ve crafted, your baby, a part of you. You need a fresh pair of eyes that don’t know all the things that you know. You need a reader who’s a stranger to your world and your characters.
The difference between a freelance editor or a professional editor and a beta reader is that one of them is getting paid to read your manuscript and give constructive criticism. The other is doing it for fun. One is guaranteed to finished it. Beta readers tend to drop off halfway through or give cheap advice to be done. Freelance editors tend to enjoy editing enough to offer to do it in their spare time. Sure, anyone can call themselves an editor and make a website. It’s a downside of the internet. That is why I offer a one-page free edit. That way the writer can get a feel for what I will do.
Editing is something that you get better at with time. As you swim in the craft of writing you’ll begin to see faults and strengths in your writing and in others’. Giving advice will come easier and with confidence to back it up.
If you want to publish independently, I highly recommend hiring a freelance or professional editor. They will help you along the road to that polished manuscript. Before you spend that hard-earned money, try a beta reader.
This social site is great for finding betas and writing advice: Agent Query Connect
I’ve found almost all of my betas through Agent Query. They have a forum called “Wanted Ads,” and writers can trade manuscripts. It’s a “I’ll read yours if you read mine,” deal. The site is also good in general for writers to communicate.