I’ve posted several questions here recently asking for advice on how to write better. The responses I’ve gotten have been invaluable to me, and I’m becoming re-invigorated about the idea of writing. However, due to the nature of this site, it’s incumbent upon me to figure out what questions to ask (e.g. where the problems are in my writing) and post them here to get feedback. In many cases, however, I don’t even see the problems that are obvious to others, so don’t know that there’s even a question to ask, let alone how to ask it.
I’ve read some about hiring an editor, the different types of editors, and what each might do for you and your work. As is appropriate for professionals with a particular skill set, editors don’t come cheap. My understanding is that, for a novel-sized work, I can expect to throw down a couple thousand dollars to get the help I need. As an amateur author, I can’t afford this. Even if I could afford to invest the money into the work, and presuming that I ended up with something people wanted to read, the chances of my self-published work getting enough traction in the market to overcome the editorial investment seems slim.
So, beyond relying on well-intentioned friends to provide feedback on your writing, what free or inexpensive editorial resources are there that are of decent quality and provide feedback on a whole body of work rather than author-provided snippets? Am I asking for a unicorn, something inexpensive that’s of a certain quality level? I’m familiar with the aphorism that there are three qualities of something available: fast, cheap, and reliable, and you get to pick two of them.
The tips I’ve picked up from other questions I’ve asked will keep me re-writing my partially-finished novel for months, but sooner or later I’m going to need to look for whole-work feedback.