The good thing about editing is that it’s an opportunity to catch everything from typos to plotting problems before you publish and embarrass yourself in front of the whole world. You can do this yourself on the first go-round, but you know I recommend professional editing. You are too close to your own work to do a good edit or proofing of it. You will miss something. That’s for sure. So, in my opinion, nothing equals a fresh set of eyes on your work.
After each edit, you will decide which of the suggested changes work for you and make the ones you want. After an edit, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by not going through the whole manuscript item by item. If your editor has used tracking in Word or some other editing program, don’t automatically accept the changes without looking at them item by item. You may disagree with some of the changes.
Also, don’t reject suggested changes without good reason. An editor is the best person to give you suggestions. If he/she notes that a paragraph, passage or page doesn’t work, don’t reject the suggestion to delete just because you like the clever turn of phrase. Many times as writers we read our own writing so many times that it all sounds good to us. Carefully consider the ideas of others and let go of things that don’t fit, no matter how wonderful you think the phrasing is.
If you are self-publishing, once you feel the book is ready for print, read it one more time. You should be the last person to read the book before it goes to print. When your editor gives it back to you, don’t assume that it is perfect. Instead, read it again word for word, comma by comma before you send it to the printer. Why? Because you are self-publishing. It is your book and you are responsible for the outcome.
And don’t be surprised if, even after all this, you find a typo or missing punctuation point somewhere after it is printed. The perfect edit or proof is almost impossible to achieve. If you do, pat yourself on the back. If one or two errors sneak in, don’t sweat it.