The questions is not whether you should self edit or not, because I'm sure, for many of you, that's a given. In fact, I can't imagine writing something and not constantly rethinking my word choices. There is, however, one thing I have to stress.
Self editing AFTER your piece is finished is a must.
"I self edit as I go, Ashley, so my piece is already edited by the time it's finished." Wrong. Its important to do a full read through after your piece is finished to check for coherency, consistency and flow. These things have to be viewed overall, not when you're zeroed in on specific scenes.
If a painter is painting a grand picture of nature, zeroing in on a specific corner filled with fall leaves on a beautiful oak tree, he still has to look at the picture overall to see color pallets, themes, texture, and style so that the corner still matches the rest of the picture. In the same way, you should be looking at your piece as a whole to fix your own style issues.
If you're still on the fence, here are three reasons why you 100% absolutely must self edit your piece afterwards, and why I (and other editors) often turn away first drafts.
It will save you money.
Editors will either charge by the hour or by the word count. I wont go into which is better bang for your buck right now, but either way, you will inevitably pay more if your piece is not self edited. Even if you find an editor who works by the word count (like I do), they may come back and ask for more money if the piece is extra rough. Or they'll read a sample before taking the job and decide not to take the piece altogether.
I've had one taste of editing someone else's first draft and that was the end of that. By the time I was done editing it, I had become a co-author. Ain't nobody wants me as a co-author (yikes!). Now, I ask the right questions so I can better understand your process before taking on the project.
It makes the book more authentically YOU.
Like I mentioned earlier, editing that first draft made me, basically, a co-author. I'm an editor, not a writer. So while we can give suggestions and examples, you don't want an editor to chose specific words or phrases for your piece. Because then, its not just your book anymore. This book was your dream, your blood, sweat, and tears. As an editor I can get excited about your book, but its ultimately your baby. Editors are more like an aunt than a parent. When you make an editor act as "parent" the dream can become mixed and muddled.
I want to help you with the things you cant see. That's why you should hire an editor in the first place. I'm that outsider opinion with a background in the writing niche; an informed critic with a passion in helping authors. I'm not here to point out what you already know. And like mentioned earlier, making an editor tell you things you already know, only gets more expensive.
It's easier on your ego.
Authors often have feelings of anxiety, defeat or inadequacy all by themselves. The last thing you need to see is a ton of red marks. Not self editing is a sure fire way to garner negative attention. As an editor, I try my very best to be as encouraging as I am critical. This can be hard when there is so much red that no amount of "I like this!", "Love that imagery" or "beautiful!" can outweigh the "Huh?", "Maybe we should cut this down a bit", and "This doesn't seem consistent with the character." Cut down on these comments by looking at these issues yourself. Its very likely you'll notice problem spots, which you can then fix easily with out the critique of another.
Editors struggle with feeling harsh or cold. If I know the piece hasn't been self edited, I know its more likely I'll feel this way. And it isn't pleasant.
Always self edit your piece after you're done writing it. Save your money, your ego, and your dream from critiques you can fix yourself.
Questions about self editing? Leave a comment below!
P.S. Dream Edit Repeat offers all types of editing. If you arent sure what type you need or jsut have oddball questions, contact me. I'm always around :)