When my dad was battling cancer and we felt he needed someone with him at all times, my sister and I would rotate staying with him on Sunday mornings so that my mom could go to church,teach Sunday school, and have a little break. During that time, I started working on a story. I wanted a happy ending story since we knew we weren't going to get one with my dad's cancer (although going home to Jesus is the BEST ending). So, I started writing a book with the Love Inspired series in mind.
After my dad's death, I put the story on back burner. Around the holidays, I picked it up again and am more than halfway finished! (It's so hard to find the time to write when I work so much, but I'm learning that 200 words a day is better than nothing!)
I have read Betsy's books for a while and stop by her blog regularly. She mentioned that she does editing, so I decided to try it out. She has been the BIGGEST help. She does line-by-line edits, and she caught so many things I didn't see. She also gives encouragement and praises what is done well. Because she has experience with Love Inspired, she is able to give me pointers for that specific publisher as well as overall tips for preparing a proposal to submit to an agent or publisher.
So, if you are writing your first novel, I would recommend hiring Betsy to look at your work. She has a quick return (within a day or two it seemed), and her price is fair. My mom, who taught high school English for over 30 years, read Betsy's critique and said, "You got your money's worth. She knows what she's talking about."
Here's a link to more information: http://www.betsystamant.com/speaking/ and if you haven't checked out her books, give them a try.