My editor, Stephanie Pace, is absolutely fabulous. She did much more work than I paid for. I honestly feel bad about how much she did, never understanding how difficult the job of copy editor must be. I'm hiring her to do my proof read when I finish the revisions, and I'm very grateful to have found her.
I tried very hard to be a low-maintenance client, only sending in questions once for each set of chapter submissions she sent me, and limiting those questions to things I truly didn't understand. Stephanie was very patient when I did ask questions and tried to incorporate things more into the next batch of edits if she found I had a hard time understanding what she said. I think it is important to work with an editor you trust. If you find one, hold onto him/her!
The perk to self publishing remains in that I don't have to take her advice. Even though I do understand this, it has been a very hard thing for me to implement. I've found some of her ideas do not mesh with the book I intended to write and would change my novel completely. However, a part of me worries if I don't take her advice, I might do something wrong and ruin my chance to make my book the best it can be. This has led to a lot of rewrites, which I then realize are wrong for my novel after changing things.
I think this is where a lot of writers struggle. How do you know when what you've written is good enough? Although ten different people (only one of them a friend/family member) read my book before I sent it to the editor and each expressed their enjoyment in my creation, I'm still left looking at the editor's suggestions and wondering if it's really okay to ignore her advice.
Silly, perhaps, but there it is. So I write, rewrite, hate the new stuff, reread the old version, love that, plug it back in, move on. The reason I keep doing this, however, is because several of the ideas she shared are so great, so mind-blowingly brilliant, I know my book is better for taking that advice.
Perhaps when I have more experience I will be able to objectively look at the editor's advice in the future, accept the changes she suggest that are wonderful, and reject the ones that don't match my vision before I rewrite the scene. For now, I slough through it all, frustrated if the new scene doesn't work, but even more grateful when something she inspired enriches a scene far beyond what I first imagined.
Through it all, my critique partners have been there for me. Thank goodness for them! They have been willing to read through some of the new scenes, tell me what's better, what's worse, what they loved about my book before and wish I wouldn't mess with. It's a great help to me on this frightening journey toward perfecting my novel.
I'm at the half-way point in my revisions and I will be happy when the major rewrites are done. Then, I'll send Always & Forever off for the proof read and move on to the next book. That's when the fun starts for me. First draft is my favorite part of the writing process.
Happy writing! I'm wishing you a productive week!