Ten Tips for New Authors: #8

#8 Grow thick skin.

Seriously. There will come a day (probably the first day you step out there) that someone will say that your plot was too flimsy. Or your characters were too shallow. Or that they didn’t like how you ended your story. While all of that is important feedback and should be taken into consideration, don’t attach an emotion to it. Don’t allow yourself to become sad, angry or defensive. It is simply more feedback that you can use in your next work of art. Take it in like a calculating computer. It is a fact of that person’s perception. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Joining a critique group (Rule #7) greatly helps you learn how to take criticism appropriately. Not only is a critique group great feedback, it helps you learn how to evaluate the information you get and separate the emotion behind it so that you can focus on what you need to do, and what you need to ignore.

For example, consider the source. If Stephen King or Janet Evanovich were to tell me that my characters were too shallow, you can bet I’d spend the next five months making my next novel with deep, rich, colorful characters. With the beauty of electronic publishing, I would probably fix that in my current work, and re-publish the current work with richer characters. Remember that just because you release a book doesn’t mean that it is set in stone.

On the other hand, if someone on the Internet named Strykrgrrrl says that my characters are“stoopid and I diddnt undrstnand thm. This autor is dum.” I’ll consider it and ask my two editors if they think my characters need work, but I’m not going to worry much about it for the current story. I will shrug and move on.

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