When I wrote and self-published The Legend of the Swamp Witch I also self-edited. I later discovered this was a huge mistake. (Now mentally kicking the author in the behind!) I’m rewriting and editing the manuscript.
When I wrote The Ruby Queen I’d joined The Central Phoenix Writers’ Workshop. I used the group to help me edit my first draft by presenting chapters every week. They helped me clean it up quite a bit. I would go through their comments and suggestions and edit the chapters for content,POV, and grammar issues.
I also found an editor there in Jacob Shaver, one of the group’s moderators and a freelance editor. I hired him to edit the manuscript. We spent several weeks going through it together page-by-page and line-by-line. I learned a lot about grammar and POV this way.
I published the book. Another member of our group, a retired Language Arts instructor, proof read the book and found a few problems that I corrected and uploaded to Createspace. That is one nice thing about self-publishing; you can simply upload your revised manuscript and the next books ordered will have the revisions.
When I signed a publishing contract this spring with JK Publishing, they had one of their editors go through my manuscript. She found several things she wanted changed. I did not agree with many of them and discussed them with Jacob. I made her changes, but they were things like the capitalization of certain words and the use of y’all. That is a confusing subject when you’re not from the South. Is it singular or plural? I could write a whole blog just on that subject!
She also wanted some content changes at the end of the book. I agreed with them completely. It did not change my ending, only enriched it. The publisher also gets to create the new cover.
So I suppose my process is to write the story, have it critiqued, make changes recommended by the critics, then pay to have the manuscript edited by a professional, prepare it for publication and have it proofed by a beta reader to find those little things that slipped by. When dealing with a traditional publisher things are a little different. I don’t have to pay for a professional editor. The publisher will pay for that, but if there are content issues, I don’t have control of that. I must make the changes the publisher wants made.
All of this combined creates a better book.