I've been agonizing over this very question the last few weeks and am glad I stumbled across this thread. I've heard conflicting responses to the question but ALL of the comments voiced here helped me chart my course. Thank you.

- I'm currently at the Beta Reader stage with the ms out with five readers. I self-edited Draft #3 and cut my word count from 231K down to 198K before sending it out to the betas.
- I'm taking a month away from the ms to let it stew and allow the betas to work it over. Once I have their feedback in hand I'll work Draft #4.
- I plan on submitting the first chapter of Draft #4 to SYW to allow AW to take a look.
- I also plan on visiting Query Letter Hell to start working on my query letter.
- Now that I have decided to forego a pro-edit, I need to step up my research of agents, houses, and the process.
- Once I feel good about the above I will sub.
- In addition, I've written the first four pages of book 2. So I hope to move forward with writing Book 2 while I'm out querying Book 1.