First, look at feedback as an opportunity to learn and grow.
None of the comments or changes are meant to be personal attacks. Ignore the tone of brief comments. Don’t read into it. This person just read your entire book. Be grateful and recognize that editors are making the work and you better.
Second, tackle each change one at a time.
When you first get a manuscript back from your editor, the amount of work in terms of fixes and rewrites can be a little overwhelming. A good editor is going to send you back a Word document with challenging and thoughtful comments as well as a separate document with notes on areas that need to be improved. This is a great learning opportunity!
Here is the process I used last week to address my editor’s feedback and a recent manuscript:
- Fix grammatical errors. I asked my developmental editor to keep track changes on so I could review the grammatical changes. This was a great learning experience and I picked up on a number of bad habits and common errors in my writing. Doing this step first also gave me the chance to scan the comments that would require more thoughtful rewriting.
- Address each individual comment in the margins. I fixed some of these as I went through the grammar changes, but since these comments required more thought, I batched them together as one task. Sometimes this meant adding a few sentences or changing the wording of what I had written. Sometimes deleting a sentence or two fixed the problem.
- Finally, I went through and addressed the larger questions and issues that she wrote about to me in a separate document. This included universal changes of language, tone, tense, point of view, etc. This part took the longest, but it made the book so much better after these issues were addressed.