You know, it's funny how once you've been under contract, you think others will clamor to have you too. I have learned, much to my astonishment, that this is not true. Dang.
The other thing that has surprised me is the complete opposite side of that coin. As strange as it seems, I often doubt my writing now. I had way too many experiences where my editor made me feel incompetent where my writing was concerned. I second guess myself all the time now and I hate it. I was afraid to show my critique group the ms that was under contract, but finally knew that if I wanted it to shine again, I needed to. I pulled up my big-girl pants and submitted it to them.
I was so surprised and happy with what they had to say. They gave wonderful praise and also much needed advice to make it better. This is where the topic for today comes in. Know your audience. My book is written for young teens. The mistake I found I was making was that I was writing for the kind of teen I was. Times have changed drastically.
One of the gals in my group is an English teacher at our local middle school. She informed me of all sorts of tasty tidbits I wasn't aware of. In fact, I was shocked at the details she opened my eyes to. I did not know, for instance, that if you witness a fight and a teacher shows up, you could be arrested for standing there doing nothing. Also, I did not know that they confiscate ALL cell phones so that the kids can't post the fight on the internet. Cell phones didn't even exist when I was a kid. Duh.
There's a scene at the beginning of my book where a fight takes place so I had to totally re-write it to make it modern and fitting and relate-able for the teens today. Thank heaven for great writer friends!
My point is this. Don't be afraid to ask for critiques (from other writers). Don't be afraid of your good friends, (who are writers) and don't trust the opinion of only one person. They may be way off and not giving you the right direction. Not all editors are created equal. Work hard to know your audience, work hard to know your craft so when you come up against someone who tries to make you feel incompetent, you are prepared.
Good luck and God speed.