Judge #29’s opinion of my entry in the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.


img001I thought I’d share what Judge #29 had to say about my entry in this year’s Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.


Entry Title: People Behaving Badly

Author: John D. Ottini

Judge Number: 29

Entry Category: Genre Fiction

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

Plot and Story Appeal: 4

Character Appeal and Development: 3

Voice and Writing Style: 4

 Judge’s Commentary

People Behaving Badly: A Collection of Short Mystery Stories by John D. Ottini is a book filled with stories that can be read in a few minutes while waiting in line or when you just have a few minutes of quiet time. As the title states, all of these pieces show humanity at its worst.

The front cover is eye-catching and will compel prospective readers to pick it up to see what’s inside. The back cover offers a hint of what’s inside. The book is organized and well formatted.

One thing I’d like to address is the fact that these stories are called mysteries. Some have more of a mystery element than others, but they don’t all follow the conventions of the mystery genre, which involve a crime, a victim, a suspect, a protagonist, clues, and foreshadowing that gives the reader a vested interest in the story. These are simply short stories with twists of tragedy or criminals trying to outsmart each other.

All of the stories are well written, but many of them need additional character development. For example, in the first story, I didn’t feel as though anyone had any redeeming qualities. I like to see protagonists with flaws and villains with at least one positive trait. Otherwise, they don’t seem real.

I didn’t see any technical flaws that would pull readers from the stories. There were no glaring misspellings or grammar errors. The author seems to have a firm grasp of point of view and uses it wisely.

People who buy this book will enjoy the fact that these are stories they can read in just a few minutes during a busy day. The title, People Behaving Badly, is definitely appropriate for this book.

Author’s Note: I didn’t win any awards, but I’m more than pleased with the judge’s opinion of my entry. What do you think?





About jdonovels

Author of mystery stories and more
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