I found my old 17th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards commentary sheet and certificate of participation this morning. The International Self-Published Book Awards is a contest for self-published authors sponsored by Writer's Digest. I entered Rainbow Plantation Blues into this competition back in 2009. So, they must be up to the 21st annual by now. There is one grand prize and ten category prizes/winners. Everybody else gets a certificate of participation, a commentary sheet and a list of marketing and promotion tips and leads. The grand prize winner gets money and lots of publicity for their book. The category winners get honorable mention and some publicity for their book. I've forgotten what all the categories are but I know I entered under genre fiction.
Since I found my commentary sheet and my certificate of participation you know where I came out in the contest. Nonetheless, even though I didn't win first prize or even get honorable mention, as I look over this commentary sheet I really didn't fair so badly. The books were judged on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 meaning ''poor'' and 5 meaning ''excellent.'' Four aspects of the book were judged: plot, grammar, character development and cover design. I got a 4 under plot, a 4.5 under grammar, a 4 under character development and a 2.5 under cover design. There were two questions in which the judge could write personal commentary: what did you like best about this book? and how can the author improve this book? I can't reveal the details regarding what the judge said because It would give away too much of the story. But I will quote the first sentence of each answer. With the first question he or she said, and I quote, ''The humor hands down. This novel would translate into a hilarious film. As funny as it is, however, it's also timely and well researched...'' His or her answer to the second question was, and I quote,'' As funny as the book is there are moments when it tries to make transitions between brutal sincerity and rowdy camp, and doesn't quite make it...''
I received this critique and my certificate in February 2010 according to the postmark on the envelope. Yes, I keep everything! Although I did not receive any fives, I still think I did well for a first time novelist. The person who won the grand prize must have gotten all fives and the people who won honorable mentions must have at least gotten two or three fives. I'm happy I didn't get any ones because, I'm quite sure, some people did/do!
I can't say I wasn't disappointed at not winning anything but, as I said, the final critique wasn't bad and I know alot of people like my work very much, including that judge!