Route 66 is no mere highway. There are Route 66 associations in Europe, Japan, Canada and Australia. Many of them organize events and tours, and publish travel guides. In Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Europe there are companies that specialize in Route 66 tours. At the 2018 European Route 66 Festival in Zlin, Czechia an estimated 20,000 people were in attendance from ten countries including Brazil. The innovative Route 66 Navigation app and Mother Road Route 66 Passport that has transformed the travelers experience on this storied highway was developed by the owner of Touch Media in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Tulsa, Oklahoma has initiated an ambitious program to restore a colorful neon glow to the Route 66 corridor. Innovative initiatives developed to capitalize on the popularity of Route 66 are sparking a renaissance in derelict neighborhoods.

With the Route 66 centennial fast approaching all along this storied highway from Chicago to Santa Monica old motels are being given a new lease on life with some becoming destinations. Towns large and small are using the international fascination with Route 66 as a catalyst for historic district revitalization as well as economic development.

Even though the highway is lined with tangible links to centuries of history, Route 66 is often viewed as America’s longest attraction, a linear attraction instead of as a string of time capsules. The focus is often myopic and centers on neon, tail fins, and a romanticized view of American life in the 1950s.

With this book my intent was to introduce the reader to a few special communities that highlight Route 66 as the world’s longest museum. I also wante to present this storied road as a living time capsule and add depth as well as context to the story of the most famous highway in America.

And that takes me to the title of today’s post. To date the reviews for the book have been mixed. Some of the comments posted are constructive criticism that I will keep in mind. A few leave me wondering if the critic thumbed thorugh the book or if they actually read it. Long ago I learned a valuable lesson that I share with the novice author. Read the reviews for insight and ideas, but DON’T take them personally. Remeber, it is just business.

Some of the reviews reflect a lack of udnerstanding about the process, the work involved with transforming an idea into a book. But that can be said about most any work from building a house to restoring a car.

Photo courtesy Mohave Museum of History & Arts

When it comes to writing there is more than just hours of research and adding words to blank pages. The publisher wants to turn a profit, and that becomes their priority. The editor strives to meet the needs of the publisher, preserve the artisitic visionof the author, and yet keep the overall work within a rigid set of parameters.

As an example, with this book I profilied a few select communities to illustrate a point, Route 66 is the link between past, present and future. A few of the reviewers questioned why some towns and cities were included but not others. Well, the simple explanation is that if every town was included the reader would need a truck to get it from the book store to the house, and a reinforced shelf to store the book.

The price is another issue that has been noted in numerous reviews. Yes, to be honest I was shocked as well. And then I ordered several reams of paper and discovered that the cost had risen dramatically since last year. Yesterday I topped off the gas tank for a trip to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, and suffered from a bit of sticker shock. But on my return to Kingman, I noticed the price had increased a dime in less than twelve hours.

I write this as an explanation, and to spark some conversation, not as a complaint. If I were thin skinned reviews would never be read. But after wrestling with editors, trying to meet the needs of publishers, working to market the book, finding ways to make enough money to fund the writinig habit, and dealing with things such as being locked out of my Facebook account, I have developed a rather tough hide.

And with that said here is some free advice for the aspiring author. We are each blessed with gifts and talents. And we have a responsibility to develop them so we may be a blessing unto others. The focus can not be on making money as that will generally lead to disappointment.

This is not to say that there isn’t tremendous satisfaction in writing. And it opens some amazing doors. But you will need to be creative if you want to eat on a regular basis. You will also need to be ambitious, think outside the box, and learn to roll with the punches.

And with that said here is a recent interview with 2Lane Life. A disclaimer is warranted. I am not the only one that has technical issues. The first five minutes of the program are plagued with an array of audio issues. With that said sit back and enjoy a visit with America’s storyteller.

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