Well, I already did “close but no cigar” a few postings back. The only other cliché I can think of is gender specific but I guess the implied thought is neutral so here goes: Always a bride’s maid and never the bride.
The most ambitious awards competition I enter a book into each year is the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Last year I entered Dead Letter and this year I entered The 11th Year of Christopher Arthur McDaniels. I have received identical results two years in a row. The judges have a ranking system for six categories they use to get a handle on the gazillion entries they receive and I’ve missed out getting a perfect score both years by one point in one category. 5 is the highest score, 1 the least. Both years the judge did not care for my cover. Last year the judge said she had no problem with nudity on the cover; she just thought it was dull and would be more appropriate if I had put a mailbox or a small town on the cover. This year the judge did not like Christopher’s face on the cover saying, “not sure the illustration of Christopher himself on the front cover makes him especially appealing, but as an adult woman, I am not the intended audience for this book, so I suppose it doesn’t matter.” Well, it mattered enough that she deducted a point in that category. She also had an issue in the category in which I entered the book…and so did I. The two children’s categories are not clearly defined and particularly overlapping for Christopher. But the judge had nice things to say about the book and me…although she did mention I should have had a picture of myself on the back. I figure next year, the third attempt, may be the charm…but I am really shooting for the Pulitzer so who cares? Here’s the scoring for Christopher is what the judge said about the book:
Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 4
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 5
Voice and Writing Style: 5
“THE 11TH YEAR OF CHRISTOPHER ARTHUR MCDANIELS by Marc Kuhn is an excellent story following an 11-year-old boy who is engrossing and entertaining. Kids will relate and adults will be taken back to another time and place. Well done.
The production values of this book are good. Not sure the illustration of Christopher himself on the front cover makes him especially appealing, but as an adult woman, I am not the intended audience for this book, so I suppose it doesn’t matter…That said, the few illustrations in question are whimsical and enjoyable. The author’s note displays warmth and humor. A photo of the author would have been nice.
The story itself is interesting. Christopher has an engaging and interesting personality and readers will be able to relate to his situation. The dialogue and voice are natural. Christopher has a good heart and is the kind of friend everyone would want to have, whether kid or adult. Nice work.”
A now an update for those interested, regarding the publishing of my third novel titled, Anchor. If you follow my blog you know this book has lived up to its name. It weighs me down every chance it gets. It has been the most cantankerous project I’ve worked on. Because I have been totally insecure about this book, I have shared it with a few trusted friends and relatives. While the reviews have been mixed there are a few common themes of criticism that I need to address. This means going back and rewriting several sections. So exactly when I will let loose this monster, I really don’t know for sure. I would certainly expect to have it launched by the end of the year, if not by the end of November…at which time I will weigh anchor and move on to other seas.
And here’s a thank you to all who shared a laugh over my sleeping video. I sure hope it didn’t influence my application to become a school bus driver…..anyway thanks to: Ellen Rothstein Weiner, Alex Porro, Kathleen Neiman, Teri Griffin, Veronica Deleo, Laura Grant, Ronna Gershberg, Jim Jackson, Rick Alpern, John Caras, Ashley Serrate, Camie Dunbar, Vandy Dev, Miriam Schulman-Kirk, and Antoinette Prato Schreffler