Writers need editors, good ones, to make the work better. Too often in this day and age, editing is not giving the pre-eminence it deserves.
The big traditonal houses cut many of their long-term in-house editors (and thereby their own throats), which may one of the reasons so much coming out of the big houses is absolute crap.
BUT-- you say, those books are on the (voice of awe) New York Times Best Seller List.
Well, big whoop. Doesn't mean they're good, just that someone said they sold a certain amount in a brief period of time, in what may well be a rigged game.
I point out that fast-food places sell a lot of pink-slime burgers laced with ammonia, but few would claim they're haute cusiine.
It's getting to the point where if a book claims to be a best-seller, it's got a good chance of being a steaming pile of pony poop. I continually see stuff that wouldn't pass my local critique group, yet it's touted as "quality" from a curated system.
Where are the story editors, the line editors? Heck, some books even lack the basic copyediting.
Why is this so? Because editors, especially good ones, cost money, and the big houses are about profit. So they skimp now, and it shows. They'll squawk about the poor editing of self-publishing-- and they're right-- but they should clean up their own backyard as well.
So the question keeps getting asked- how do you hire a good editor, and what kind of one do you need?
The answer lies in the post of Kristine Kathryn Rusch in The Business Rusch: Hiring Editors.
Says it all. Go read, and learn. She is the wise one.