If you have written a manuscript and had it professionally edited, then you know that editing is expensive. If you're hiring a good and reliable editor, then yes, you are going to have to pay for his/her services, and those services are not cheap. So what is it that you're paying for? Proofreading? Proofreading shouldn't be that expensive, right?
An editor's job is to prepare your manuscript for mainstream publication. What does that mean? That means that your editor is preparing your manuscript for the readers. If your reader is not hooked in the first chapter of your manuscript, then you are done for, and you're not going to sell books. If you can't sell books to readers, then you're definitely not going to sell your manuscript to a publishing company.
So specifically, what will editors change in your manuscript?
1. Passive Voice- Editors will try to eliminate almost ALL passive voice from your manuscript. You might think it sounds beautiful to write in passive voice, and you're right. In some cases, it does sound beautiful. However, readers want to be engaged in your plot. For that to happen, your text has to be written in active voice.
2. Conciseness- You have long, eloquent, gorgeous sentences. That's great, but if you've hired a professional editor, then your editor will shorten your sentences. In general, readers get lost in long sentences. They get bored. A good editor will alter your sentence so that it has the same meaning in a shorter package.
3. Eliminate Wordiness- Is this the same thing as conciseness? No. It's not. Your editor will try to take out as many words like 'that' and 'which' as possible. The point is to make every word count.
4. Eliminate Slang and cliches- A good editor will tell you that cliches are horrible. You might like the way they sound, but a good editor will cut them completely.
5. Alter Dialogue- A good editor will make your dialogue 'reader' friendly. What does that mean? It means that people do not say things like, "I do not understand the concept that you attempted to portray." A normal person would say something like, "I don't understand what you mean." An editor knows how to tailor your dialogue to make it more realistic, easier to read, and ultimately, please your readers.
These are five of the top issues that your editors will be looking for in your manuscript. A good editor knows what publishing companies want, and he/she will prepare your manuscript with that knowledge. Here's a good rule of thumb. ALL manuscripts need editing. Trust me on this. Every famous author you know has an editor. If you get a manuscript back and there is a change on every line of your manuscript, then don't freak out immediately. It does not mean that you are a terrible writer. Instead, it means that you have good editor.