The results of Writer’s Digest Self-Published Ebook Awards

Back in July, I entered two of my e-books in the ‘Writer’s Digest Self-Published Ebook Awards’ competition.  Apparently,  A Fool and His Money and My Journey to Hell were 2 of 680 entries submitted in the competition.

wpid-81zclfsm7el._sl1500_.jpeg         wpid-a-fool-and-his-money-book-cover-final.jpg.jpeg

I finally received the results today and (as I expected) I was not nominated for any awards, but I thought you might enjoy reading how my books were rated and what ‘A Judge, of the 2nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Ebook Awards’ said about them.

Even thought I didn’t win, I’m generally pleased with the ratings I received and I believe that the comments offer fair and constructive criticism.    Enjoy! 🙂

The books were evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.



Structure, Organization, and Pacing:  3

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar:  4

Production Quality and Cover Design:  4

Plot and Story Appeal:  2

Character Appeal and Development:  3

Voice and Writing Style:  3


Judge’s Commentary:

Very striking cover image. Excellent job! I love the Psycho quote at the beginning. Watch out for unintentional rhymes like the light/night in your first sentence. It may seem silly, but it knocks the reader out of the flow. The Prologue is overwrought and too general. You have to earn these kinds of outbursts.

I like the fact that you open with a straight self-description. You’d be amazed at what ridiculous lengths writers go to avoid this. (“Even at the age of ten, I knew that my old man was an asshole“ great line!) I enjoy the little bits of Italian. Also, Vlad’s accent is pretty funny.

The novel takes a little too long to get to the ‘meat’. I’m a third of the way through and only now he’s getting the inheritance letter? You need to work harder on being entertaining, at considering the experience of your reader. Your prose is very clean and direct. You get a real good sense of the ambiance  of the neighborhood, the tight network of friends and relations.

The analysis by the protagonist/narrator gets old after a while. More direct action is needed. Leave some analysis to the reader. That’s what it’s there for. That said, you have created a main character with sympathetic qualities, gotten me to care about what happens to him. Good job, and best of luck!




Structure, Organization, and Pacing:  3

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar:  4

Production Quality and Cover Design:  3

Plot and Story Appeal:  4

Character Appeal and Development:  3

Voice and Writing Style:  3


Judge’s Commentary:

I find the synopsis a little vague. It discusses his mental histories and states without getting specific enough about the story (except for the strange message). You have an intriguing cover, very visceral. I almost wish you had waited a little bit before divulging the whole failed-marriage back-story. The scene with the envelope would have been much more mysterious.

I’m not sure why the quotes are in italics. This seems unnecessary. You are a little over fond of describing the tone of a statement when a lot of the time the reader can make their own judgment based on what is being said (in fact, that’s their job). The adverb is a dangerous tool, use it sparingly. I enjoy your moments of wry humor (what does one wear to abduction?). Sometimes you explain your jokes (the Dr. Seuss line), which is never a good idea. Kick them out of their nests and let them fly (or not fly) on their own. And a phrase like ‘shocked to the core’ after finding out about his wife is not really necessary. Let the import of the news speak for itself.

I do enjoy the psychological game going on behind your story. But I fear it’s a little lost in the in the constant use of conversation to deliver the analysis. Sharper, clearer writing would prove much more chilling and effective. I did enjoy the ending, though. Quite a nice twist.  Best of luck!


About jdonovels

Author of mystery stories and more
This entry was posted in A Fool and His Money, My Journey To Hell, News, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s