I can’t stress how important critiques, both getting and giving are. Same goes for editing. To be a good writer, to learn, to progress, to improve your craft, you must get your work critiqued as well as critique others. You should find a way to hire an editor.
Critiquing does several things. It gives you insight into your own work to help spot your own errors, tendencies, and it expands your knowledge as a writer. Receiving critiques, helpful ones, lets you see those areas you need to work on. Yes, in the end it’s your story, and you need to know where to draw the line, but a good critique group is priceless. I’m in one here where I live and in two online. They have all helped me develop immensely. From harsh crits to gentle ones. I’ve learned more and faster this way than I could have on my own. Being in a group also helps you to interact with people. Writing being the lonely profession that it is. Having said this, there is an art to critiquing, which I will deal with on another day. For now, find a group, get involved. Get some beta readers. It’s well worth it.
As for editing, what made me mention this are the amount of books I’ve read, both Indie and traditional that could have used some more editing or editing period. Finding a multitude of errors in a book is a turn off. My writing samples here are drafts, done before any editor got their hands on them. I’m sure as I go through an editing draft of my own before sending my work to a professional editor, I’ll find plenty mistakes and changes I need to make. Personally, I feel putting out a book without having it edited is sheer laziness. Sure, there are plenty of excuses. I just cannot accept them. I’m a nobody, sure, but I’m also a reader. If I pick up a book and I see terrible editing, I’m putting it down and never touching that author again. I’m positive many other readers out there feel the same way. As an author, your work is your legacy. It should mean something and make an impression on your readers and make them want to come back for more. Doing the opposite by not getting your work edited is failing before you even start. I’m sure they are going to be authors who say to me, “Hey, I edit my own work and I do fine.” More power to you. I just can’t see how you cannot be biased toward your own work. Maybe, it’s just me.
So for you indies out there. Critiquing, beta reading and editing is of the utmost importance. As with most things in life, your talent will carry you a certain way, your hard work another, and your reputation will decide a lot for you. All go hand in hand.