I’ve heard a lot of people make the claim that if you want to be successful as a writer, you need to have your manuscript edited by a professional. Especially if you self-publish. Of course that makes a lot of sense. We spend days, weeks, and months working on plot, conflicts, characters, paragraphs, words, punctuation, and everything else that goes into our work. We grow accustomed to our work and typos just blend into the mix. We absolutely need a pair, if not multiple pairs of eyes to go over our work and pick out plot holes, typos, awkward sentences, and everything else that could possibly be wrong with our manuscripts.
But do those extra pairs of eyes need to belong to a professional editor? Sure, if you’re looking for line edits, grammar and punctuation fixes, you need someone who knows what they’re talking about. But does that mean it has to be a professional? Surely we make plenty of connections as writers so that we run into those who are skilled enough to give things glance over. Plus, beta readers offer excellent input everywhere else.
I’m not saying that professionals don’t do a great job. After all, that’s why we pay them. And I’m not trying to lead anyone away from getting a professional editor; But, are they absolutely essential? Can writers get by without them? I’m sure getting a professional editor would make things go by much faster; but what about those who just can’t afford them? Is there an alternate option that works just as well?