I have recently been looking over some of my fellow authors' websites and I noticed a curious fact on the sites where writers give advice to would-be authors. They all tout the importance of a good editor and good editing. My own website devotes an entire page to my editor, which speaks of how important I think an editor is! When writing, the creative side of your brain rules. Editing is a completely different physical part of your brain. The two parts do not work well together. Attempting to write (creating) and edit (proofreading etc.) at the same time often causes story lock-down. A small amount of editing is okay, but when you are trying to write perfectly and edit line by line your creative flow gets interrupted and often you do not finish the story. the creative flow is too stilted. Imagine a painter painting a landscape while at the same time trying to read a book and you will get the gist of it. Speaking as a teacher of writing in public schools, once I explained that writing and editing were different and that my students should not try to write and edit at the same time, the papers I got back were longer, clearer, and cleaner. All magazines have a final editor, All newspapers have a final editor, and every publication in the bookstore has a final editor, so why do some indie authors think that they do not need one? Brandon Sanderson, in his Brigham Young University lecture series "Write about Dragons" explains that his editor does 3 reads of his work, then his work goes to 1 copy editor, then afterwards it is gone over by 2 proofreaders and you still may find a mistake or two. I have two English degrees and I still do not catch everything!
There are a few reasons I suspect indie authors do not hire an editor:
1. The cost. A 100,000 word manuscript could cost you $800 or more to be professionally edited. India Drummond, on her website, says that if you can't afford to hire an editor then you can't afford to be an author (I am paraphrasing, go read her tips for new writers on her webpage for more info). I tend to agree. I know that my editor Courtney Umphress is extremely reasonable with her pricing and she is very upfront. No hidden costs or fees. (You can go to her website for more information. See her page above for the details on where to go.)
2. Fear of the quality of work for the price. Again, I am biased as I have the greatest editor out there. I never worry about the quality Courtney provides for the money. But beware; Courtney has told me of books where they were edited by English teachers and others who claim to be reputable and they are still full of mistakes. I am not trying to write a commercial for Courtney Umphress, but I know I can recommend her without reservation.
3. They do not understand the importance of an editor. Hiring an editor is relatively easy. Go online, make a list of the indie editors you find, look at their work (you can look inside the books on Amazon) Look at the reviews of books they have edited, because the fans WILL let you know if there are editing problems and they are not shy about pointing it out in the reviews. (notice that none of my bad reviews say anything about editing, grammar etc.) Then make a decision and contact the editor. Most editors only require half up front so you don't have to have all the cash before you can get started.
With all the digital books flooding the market, your unedited book will filter to the bottom as readers get frustrated stummbling over your grammar, bad sentence structure, and tense errors. Go for the editor. It's darn well worth every penny!
Still think you can edit by yourself? I put several mistakes in the post above on purpose. Did you see them? If not, you may need an editor!
(Don't take my word for it. Go to any indie author's site that has a help for new writers blog or page and they will ALL tell you the same thing!)