Finding a good editor who you can work with can prove a boon to beginners and professionals alike. Loosely there are two types of editors, structural editors and copy editors, although a good editor may well serve in both capacities. Structural editors will generally look at the novel as a whole and give feedback on what is and isn't working. Copy editors are more concerned with the nitty gritty mechanics of grammar, spelling and syntax.
Here are some tips:
- don't rely on family or friends for feedback, as they are often too polite
- find somebody you trust and who will give you an honest appraisal of your work
- make sure that what you show them is the best you can produce ... so polish those drafts
- or contact The Society of Editors