Editors are the part I feel the least confident about. I’ve never had one for a work of fiction. I’m usually my own editor. Now, there are multiple types of editors. A copy editor. A content editor.
Editors are, as far as my understanding goes, a pair of professional eyes. And not like “Sleep: the Mattress Professionals”. I’m hoping like “I’m a Doctor, MD, with specific training” professionals.
But, I’m not sure of their actual value. I’m just not. There isn’t any way to quantify their value in the manner in which I process information. (I want to explore this concept at a later time.)
I do, however, think they have tremendous value. Not quite sabermetrics value. But, that sometimes instinctual, unquantifiable, eye test value.
I believe, on some level, I have a solid handle on grammar. Certainly, above par for my peers (though, not my friends). But I have glaring weaknesses and habits that I just can’t shake. A fundamental hole in my swing. No matter how skilled I am, I can’t see those mistakes on my own. Not fast enough to correct mid-swing and certainly not after I’ve been staring at the same passage for innumerable hours and days.
Sidebar: Unless I’m attempting a specific point, I want a copy editor to nail down the finer grammar points. Except, what if I don’t know what I’m doing. That’s like playing baseball without knowing that you have to touch each base on the way past.
During development, I would want a content editor, someone to advise on deleting story points, combining characters, trimming unneeded bloat.
Editors are vital. I just don’t know enough about them to use them appropriately. It’s like trying to cut a steak with a butter knife. Totally doable, but what the hell…?
Do I get an agent first before a copy editor, to nitpick the grammar and punctuation? How do I even get in contact with a reputable editor? One I click with, get on with, mesh with? Google search is remarkable unhelpful in this regard.
None of which is to say I shouldn’t clean up my own mess the best I can. Only that this certainly isn’t my area of expertise and I’m not going to trot around like it is. A fresh (professional) set of eyes is always good. If only damned expensive…