One of my primary editors decided to read through my book once so he could give me overall feedback before going scene-by-scene. I got his initial feedback last night.
The verdict: good, can be great, but there are some issues that need dealing with. When I wasn’t being irrationally pessimistic, this is about what I expected to hear. What surprised me was some of my reactions.
When I first heard he had sent the feedback but before I saw it, I was scared. Heart pounding, worst scenarios speeding through my mind, etc. I’m sure I would have started sweating had I not read it so quickly. Okay, phew, the feedback wasn’t bad. I can deal with this.
Then I got depressed for a while, and that’s what surprised me. “What the hell!” I found myself thinking. This is what I expected. I have no right to expect my first book to be perfect on arrival. Why the hell was I getting down now?
I later decided it was because while I logically knew my work was bound to have flaws I couldn’t yet see, my irrational self still hoped it was good to go and all my decisions had been right. Silly, yes. Predictably human though.
What I enjoyed the most though, was the feeling later on. Where once I had so much uncertainty, now there was less. Someone had read it and not hated it! Yes, it was one voice. Yes, my other editor could come back saying it’s drivel. Yes, my proofreaders and all of you and the readers who have never heard of my yet might reject it as mediocre crap later on. There’s still plenty of uncertainty left for me to fear. Yet now I wasn’t alone. Now someone else had peeked into my world, and liked what they saw.
I immediately started brainstorming, asking questions, figuring out how to make it better. It was energizing! I can already tell that I’m going to need to be careful. I need to still trust my own instincts, trust myself to make changes and improvements where I feel they’re right. I can’t lean on my editors too much, because it’s still my world above all else. But now I’m not alone.