Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards

Posted on March 8, 2010 (Subscribe to Blog)

Last year I submitted Island of Fog to the Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards. There was a bit of confusion with the post-mark deadline as the website said one thing and the confirmation email said another; there was a day's difference between them. This wouldn't matter except that I found out too late about the competition and posted ON the later of the two deadlines – so I was never sure if I had made it on time or not.

After I had submitted my novel, I wrote to ask Writer's Digest about the deadline. I received no reply whatsoever. On their website they stated that applicants would find out the results around October 2009. I heard nothing, so assumed I had missed the deadline after all.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, the 2010 competition was officially opened to applicants. I considered trying again, but thought I'd wait a bit first.

Today, on March 8th, I received a letter from Writer's Digest – notification of how I fared in the 2009 competition. So I had made the deadline after all! But here they are, extremely late in the day, letting me know how I did after the 2010 competition has already got under way. This seems disorganized and generally unprofessional to me, but hey, at least I know for sure one way or another.

So how did Island of Fog fare? Well, I didn't win! If I had, I assume they would have told me a little earlier (although I'm not 100% certain of that). Here's what they said in their covering letter:

Thank you for participating in the 17th (2009) Annual Writer's Digest International Self-Publishing Book Awards. Unfortunately, your book, Island of Fog, was not among the winners. Competition was particularly fierce this year and we could only award one grand prize and ten category prizes...

There's more, but nothing worth repeating here. There was also a "judge's commentary" attached:

Author: Keith Robinson
Title: Island of Fog
Category: Middle Grade / Young Adult
Judge: 3

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning "poor" and 5 meaning "excellent," please evaluate the following:

Plot: 5
Grammar: 5
Character development: 4
Cover design: 4

Judge's commentary:

What did you like best about this book?
This was a well written sci-fi novel. I liked the idea behind the story. Mr. Robinson had created a situation, characters and a place that work. There is that "it could happen" quality that you find in Dean Koontz novels. The dialogue feels like real kids talking. The suspense works and doesn't frustrate the reader. It makes you want to read the next installment!

How can the author improve this book?
I don't think Mr. Robinson needs to change a thing!

Heh. This is a positive summary, so I'm not put out or anything. I'm still a little disgruntled, but my gruntles come from the way the competition seems so mismanaged. I would have had better gruntles if I had received this summary last October when they initially said it would be due. Oh well!

Meanwhile, I'm waiting patiently (or impatiently) for the results of the next round of Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award winners. March 23rd is still a long way away...

Comment by JANA on Monday, March 8, 2010...

Wow! That's kinda cool! I mean, yeah, what a mess with organization, and it would have been much better had you won, but those were some pretty awesome comments! I have to wonder, though, if they didn't feel you needed to change a thing, why didn't it win? Near perfection is hard to come by these days!

MTLBYAKY

Jana~

Comment by NIGEL on Tuesday, March 9, 2010...

Nice one, Keith. May your gruntles never curl at the edges.

Comment by JULIE@OWLSDENE on Wednesday, March 10, 2010...

That's a good result, Keith. 5 for the plot and grammer. You can't get any better than that.
Excellent result.

Comment by ANONYMOUS on Tuesday, November 6, 2012...

Keith: In 2008 my book of poetry (also a finalist in the New Mexico Book Awards) scored 5 points in every category and was reviewed as work comparable to that of Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams. It did not win. Competitions are not the final arbiter. Time is. Keep writing, and good luck to you. —Daril

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