on Jane Friedman site:
I’ve just written my first nonfiction book, about gardening in my region. It’s a compilation of twelve years’ worth of newspaper and magazine articles and blog posts, about 45,000 words total. I’m planning to self-publish with a hybrid publisher, meaning I have to edit the manuscript, choose the fonts, choose and insert the photos in the right place, and so on. After the line edits, I have a proofreader in place, then I’ll send it off.
A retired editor friend of mine referred me to a working editor friend of hers to do the first edit, a line edit. I also asked for the editor’s thoughts about whether the title conveys what the book was about, and to see if the slant about gardening in the region was obvious. After she looked at the manuscript and did some editing on the first chapter, we agreed to work together and settled on a fee.
I didn’t realize how horrible I’d feel when the first round of edits came back. The changes in format and content, comments about structure, and questions about the content deflated me after two hours. I felt like nothing I’d done was right, that a year’s worth of work was being torn apart. In tears, I was afraid to tackle it the second day and the third.
My retired editor friend told me I was taking the edits too personally. She and I worked on a query and a book proposal of mine a couple years ago, and it took a toll on our friendship. We got through it and now we laugh, but she’s acutely aware of my response. She assured me that editors edit for the reader, not to chastise the writer. That was and still is hard for me to see.
So my question is, how can I detach from the process and thicken my skin?