So I got my first editorial comments back for the book a few days ago. It was exciting at first, then a little overwhelming, and then back to exciting again. We are still in the "big edit" stage of things (meaning the edits are not, like, "take out this comma" or "you spelled this wrong," rather "you might want to rework this section" or "you need another section here to bridge the gap between these two, and you need to expand on XYZ") which made things a little scary at first--the first feeling was akin to that of having assembled an entire piece of Ikea furniture, only to find out that you put on one crucial piece backwards, requiring you to disassemble and rework the entire thing with that annoying little L-shaped Allen wrench thingy--but upon redigestion, is really sort of a relief.
You know, I submitted the manuscript a few weeks ago with some feeling of accomplishment, not quite fait accompli, but at least of having reached a milestone, though knowing in some vague way that there was Big Work To Be Done. It wasn't quite clear to me what needed to be done, but just some sort of indistinct feeling that some parts didn't sit right, flow right, and that there were other parts that needed to be built up, smoothed over, rearranged. So to get that actual editorial letter that actually gives voice to some of these issues is like, thank god, someone smart who does this for a living has some ideas. Because as we all know, when you live with something for too long, and look at it too closely, you kind of stop seeing it. The forest for the trees and all that. To have someone else take the time and read through the thing and give some suggestions of how to fix the things that you agreed were kind of wonky is really nice.
Not to perseverate on what needs to be fixed--overall, it seems like Emily (my editor) really liked the manuscript, is excited, and thinks it's going to be super-duper, blah blah blah. But my natural inclination when I read praise is to think, "Don't worry, you don't have to say nice things to cushion my delicate ego, I completed five years of residency, I have no ego left, JUST TELL ME WHICH PARTS SUCKED." So I tend to ignore the laudatory. But I am happy that she liked it overall. And I also think (despite the fact that everyone always talks about how PAINFUL writing and rewrites are) that doing the edits is going to be fun. It's been such a one-man process up to this point, it's just a relief to have other people reading things through, and confirming which parts work and point out which parts need a little something more. Thank goodness for other people.