Includes book reviews and bits from writer's journal. For the professional stuff, see website link below left.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

SHE TOO didn't win but the judge liked us!

When SHE TOO was just an ebook, we (its four authors) entered it into the poetry category of a big competition for new self-published ebooks. Our feedback is just to hand.

We were told that books were evaluated on a scale of 1-5 with 1 meaning 'needs improvement' and 5 meaning 'outstanding'. We were also told that some categories, e.g. Plot and Story Appeal, wouldn't necessarily apply to poetry — but in our case they decided it did. Here are our excellent scores:

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: 5

Voice and Writing Style: 4

The judge suggested we might have done better to arrange the book into categories or sections, but in general the review was very favourable. Omitting the more detailed passages, this is the judge's commentary:

This is a lovely idea for a collection, and what a good description of "(Almost) Harmony"!

This feels like a wonderful conversation among a group of women, and sectioning could give some sense of the variety of subjects.

The combination of four poets was an interesting reading experience too. I found myself reading each poem and only then glancing at its poet, to see if I could guess! And I could. That shows the power of the individual voices within the whole. I began to see not just the themes within the collection but within each poet's collection, what intrigued and plagued her. I also started to notice individual poetic devices.

There's an intriguing undercurrent of anger and frustration about the alluring but intrusive bonds of family. I think this balances well against the expectation that these poems will be "nice poems from nice ladies". The shock of the "real" is that much more striking considering the soft expectation set up by the cover and the introduction. Very good!

— Judge, 2nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards.

We didn't win or even get placed. In a huge field of strong contenders, that would actually have surprised us, though we took the view that 'you've gotta be in it to win it'. We learned a lot from the exercise of entering, though. It immediately threw us into enquiries about achieving professionalism and excellence in an unfamiliar field — and with very little time to spare before the entry deadline.  (I have been a small publisher in the past, but that was long before the advent of ebooks, which have different requirements.) 

I'm proud of what we achieved. It's a good book!


  1. Rosemary you've done it again ... another wonderful read - me too loves She Too and you too - too :)

  2. A great blast to end 2014 AND to begin 2015. Who needs fireworks when you have this to experience.

    1. Ha ha, yes it is indeed a wonderful boost.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you. xx (First time I've been congratulated on not winning, lol.)