For some debut authors, it can be difficult to slay the dragon of self-doubt that tries to eat away at you. Sure, you feel good about your work, as you should. You congratulate yourself on finishing your first book, as you should. You celebrate your achievement, as you should. But the dragon is still there worming itself into your psyche as it tries to make a nest out of your fears.

So you have your family and friends read your book. They tell you you’re a great writer and you’ve done a wonderful job. That your future will be a goldmine and your pen is the shovel. But then you hear the dragon laughing as it asks you, aren’t these some of the same people who tell you how fantastic you look in a bad suit or dress? Or that the meal you cooked tastes great as they blanket it in ketchup or hot sauce?

I submitted my debut manuscript for review by Kirkus because I wanted to improve as a writer. I wasn’t sure I was ready to be an author. What I needed was an objective, critical review that pulled no punches. What I got in return was so much more than I expected. It was one of those all too rare moments in life that becomes an event. It was a life-changer.

When I first read my review, I was dumbfounded. I asked myself if they had the right guy. I sent the review to my writing coach and asked for a reality check. She congratulated me on the “great review by some notoriously tough critics.” She also reminded me that Kirkus is one of the best literary magazines in publishing and “if they liked it, then you really have something here.”

My Kirkus review paved the way for me to become a published author. It gives me credibility as a writer and helps to build trust with publishing insiders, librarians and readers. And of course it helps boost sales. But best of all, it helped me realize the dream of being an author. The dragon still whispers in my ear but he slithers away whenever I show him my Kirkus review.


LC Hanson lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife, two daughters, and Labrador retriever. He has worked as a regulatory lawyer specializing in U.S. export control law and is an avid martial artist. He loves science fiction thrillers, Westerns and martial arts.