The correct self publishing advice regarding editing is:
Hire A Talented Editor To Review Your Manuscript.
No question, it is worth it. Choose carefully, research the going rates properly… and TAKE their editorial advice.
Two places where hiring services for a self published book is well worth the expense are: An Editorial Review and a Professionally Designed Cover….
With that said, what about using family and friends?
Some of them may be sitting on Bachelors or Masters degrees and they may be avid readers. What about them?
Many writing professionals I have studied have discouraged the use of family and friends as editors “because they won’t tell you the truth about your writing…”
And a paid professional will.
Those writing professionals must have a different breed of family and friends than I have, because my posse tells it to me straight. They are a tough crowd and it takes guts to pass out my Readers Draft to my Peanut Gallery. They are professionals, engineers, executives, managers, business owners, educators, academics and they love to read. They know what they like and they know what they don’t. Nothing gets past them and it takes both SPF 100 plus a Kevlar vest to open up those reviewed copies when I get them back.
But my writing is SO much better when I listen to their advice. I cherish their work. Their help, plus a page crawl through the Chicago Manual of Style, sets me on the road to a readable draft.
Family and Friends are a significantly valuable resource and should be treated accordingly. Acknowledgment in the book is a minimum, but the biggest respect for their effort is to take their advice. If one of my test readers has a problem with something in my book, I do not argue with them. I go back to the keyboard and fix it, even if I really want to defend my prose. Because I am not just the author of the book anymore. It is no longer just my work of art. I am now the publisher… and I need this book to sell. I need word of mouth recommendations, good reviews, kudos, prizes, accolades. I need readers to want to read it…
So, since I became a publisher… I would argue that the term “a well-written book” is truly more accurately “a well-edited book”….