If you've finished writing a manuscript but need an objective, outside reader, send it to me. Your family will never be honest with you—that's not their job.
One of the best parts of my job as an in-house editor has been working acquisitions. Getting to read through someone's completely unpolished manuscript and see its incredible potential, finding the little knots that need smoothing out, is a huge privilege and joy for me.
I also know firsthand how much a polished manuscript stands out to an acquisitions editor. I can always tell who has taken feedback from a professional reviewer (or a brutally honest writing group) on their manuscript, and am much more likely to accept manuscripts that are carefully crafted. It is not only easier to appreciate the writing when it's polished, it's also a great sign to an agent or publisher that you are willing to put the necessary hard work into your writing.
Allow me to apply my years of experience critiquing and improving books—from board books to picture books to young adult novels, from gardening guides to contemporary fiction—to make your book the very best it can be before you approach agents and publishing companies.