Any serious writer knows that a first draft is just that: a draft. It’s not a finished product, and it’s probably in need of more than just a quick polish before you start approaching agents.
However: writing is an intensely personal process. It’s hard to be objective, to take a step back and critically evaluate what’s really working and what’s not. What’s clear and what’s not. What’s good…and what’s less good.
This is where an editor comes in.
Because writing is such an intensely personal process, you shouldn’t just pick the first editor you find. Nor should you pick the cheapest or the quickest. Like writing, editing is a process. You want someone you can work with, likely over an extended period of time, who’s willing to engage in open dialogue. You don’t want someone to gush over your work, nor do you want someone to rip it to shreds. You want someone who can point out what’s not working, WHY it’s not working, and offer multiple solutions to address the core issue.
There are a lot of different kinds of editing, and it behooves you to familiarize yourself with them before you approach prospective editors. It’s also worth your time to get to know your editor: is your genre something they’re familiar with? Are they conversant in your subject matter? Can you be honest with them–and they with you?
If you’re considering me as your editor, I thank you. Please feel free to comb through my About page, to get a feel for my editing process, and if you like what you see, please feel free to contact me.