A few days ago I had my six month check up and cleaning at the dentist except because I had to change my original appointment it was over eight months since my last visit. I used that as my excuse as the hygienist gave me a lecture about flossing more often and doing a better job of it.
As I drove home, enjoying the freshness of newly polished teeth, I realized flossing is a lot like editing. You have to make time to do it, and you have to do a thorough job of it. There are tools to help you, different proven methods and you're better for it when it's done.
Flossing isn't fun and sometimes neither is editing. Reading over the same manuscript time after time can frustrate a writer. It's tempting to get lazy and hurry through the process but you need to hit between every tooth each time you do it. When editing you have to read every word, contemplate every comma, and weigh the importance of every sentence and scene.
Even though I brush every day and floss most days, I still need professional help from the dentist. Editing is like that too. No matter how good you are at it, you need a professional to fine tune it and make it the best it can be. With more and more writers going the self-publishing route, I think there will be a greater demand for free lance book editors to help writers polish their work.
Have you ever used a free lance editor for one of your books? Do you do editing for authors? Would you pay an editor to prepare a book for self publishing? What do you see as a reasonable fee for such?