As a novelist, you gotta have a thick skin.

It takes a thick skin to get there—being a published author—because along the way you’re going to get hammered with a lot of criticism and rejection.

Much of the criticism, if it’s done correctly, will be constructive guidance from fellow writers.  It’s part of how you learn the craft of becoming a novelist.

After that, you’ll face rejection from literary agents and publishers.  It’s not that such people are malicious, it’s just that you’re in competition with thousands of other writers, or wannabe writers, who have dreams (or goals) of getting traditionally published. You’re scaling a mountain and there isn’t much room at the top.  Rejection is part of the business.  If you can’t learn not to take it personally, you’ll be unable to move forward. 

I’ve mentioned often enough that it took me 10 years and 4 different manuscripts before a publisher welcomed my first novel.

But even after you’ve successfully summited the mountain, you’re still going to get whacked upside the head with criticism.  Except now it will be in the form of reviews of your work from the public on such platforms as Amazon and Goodreads.

It’s the reading public’s license to do this.  They’ve paid their hard-earned money for your book and thus have the right to express their opinions about it.

Fortunately, for my newest novel, When Heroes Flew, the reviews have been overwhelmingly glowing.  But I gotta tell you, there have been a few that have left me with my mouth agape saying, “What?”

Here’s my only three-star review on Amazon in its entirety: “How do you explain that countries in Europe with more socialist governments have happier citizens?”

Huh?  Did they read the same book I wrote?

Then there was another (five-star) that ended with: “Those British pilots had real chops. Be proud of them in the history of their war.”

I’m sure that was the case.  But When Heroes Flew was about American (and German) aviators.

Finally, I got one from Japan that I didn’t completely understand, but it could have been something lost in translation.  It read it part: “. . . it seems like the South Pacific of a musical movie.”

Okay . . . except for the fact the novel was set in the European Theater and didn’t have much singing and dancing in it.

Anyhow, I do look at reviews.  And I do appreciate folks posting them.  Please keep ’em coming.

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