Following up with my last post SIX BENEFITS TO ENTERING A WRITING OR PUBLISHING COMPETITION, I wanted to share with you an example of feedback I received when I entered my first children's book The Two Trees into the 2015 Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards, and how I plan to follow up with the judge's comments.
First, I want to state that I was aware that Writer's Digest receives thousands of entries from across North America and beyond and that my chances were slim to win in part because my book is very "niche." But I wanted the experience of entering this competition and went for it. Please note my comments below in red; they refer specifically back to my last post.
Although I didn't place in the competition, I did feel encouraged by the judge's comments.
First of all, my book received top marks (5/5) in every single category: 1) structure, organization, and pacing; 2) spelling, punctuation, and grammar; 3) production quality and cover design; 4) plot and story appeal; character appeal and development; and voice and writing style. So it appears that I have the basics down pat, so now my goal for my next children's book is to not just to be good, but to develop a GREAT story!
Here are the comments I received from the "Judge, 23rd Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards" about my book The Two Trees.
"The Two Trees by Sally Meadows is a wonderful children's book about a boy and his older brother who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the beginning of the story, Jaxon does not understand why his older brother is distant and will not take part in the things they do. Mom explains that Syd has ASD and what that means."
"Meadows does a really nice job showing what it is like to be the sibling of a person with ASD. She writes in simple language that will help parents read and be able to explain it to their child. Even children who do not live with this every day can learn how to interact with relatives or friends or schoolmates who may have ASD."
"The illustrations by Trudi Olfert go very well with the book. They are soft and colorful. They are a wonderful enhancement of the story."
"In the back of the story Meadows has included questions for readers, information about ASD and recommendations for any further reading. This would be an excellent book for families living with this disorder. It would also be a wonderful book to include in any library."
I was very encouraged that the reviewer recognized that the book is not only for families that include a child on the autism spectrum, but that it is a "wonderful" addition to ANY library. Plus, there are some great quotes in this review I can use on social media. I also liked that the reviewer acknowledged my illustrator, Trudi Olfert; I trust she will be encouraged too!
Any time you can get your work in front of an audience--including a huge (and hugely popular) one such as Writer's Digest--is an opportunity to expand your reach. You never know who your book will impact, and how. To God be the glory!