Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards (Judges Comments)

Entered my book into the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Although I didn’t win, I got some nice comments from the judges which I wanted to share with you. I copied and pasted the email body text here so you can read it. I’m happy with what the judges had to say. I know I did a good job in writing it.

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Below is a brief commentary for your entry in the 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. If you received the incorrect review by mistake, please contact Writer’s Digest immediately at this email address. With so many books to judge/record, our judges may accidently input the incorrect review into the system. We do our best to catch all of these, but there are always a few that slip past. Thank you for your understanding~

Entry Title Diagnosed At Seventeen
Author: Ruth Spoonemore
Judge Number: 51
Entry Category: Life Stories

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking. Our system only recognizes numerals during this portion of logging evaluations. As a result, a “0” is used in place of “N/A” when the particular portion of the evaluation simply does not apply to the particular entry, based on the entry genre. For example, a book of poetry or a how to manual, would not necessarily have a “Plot and Story Appeal and may therefore receive a “0”.

*If you wish to reference this review on your website, we ask that you cite it as such: “Judge, 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.” You may cite portions of your review, if you wish, but please make sure that the passage you select is appropriate, and reflective of the review as a whole.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 3

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 3

Production Quality and Cover Design: 3

Plot and Story Appeal: 3

Character Appeal and Development: 4

Voice and Writing Style: 4

Judge’s Commentary*:

There is much more here by and about the author than the title first suggests. While the story indeed starts at age 17, when she is diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the narrative extends long past that part of her life. In fact, the reader is taken into the author’s 50s. Along the way, the story shares her journey with a crippling disease and affiliated illnesses and challenges for decades. It started with her fingers (somewhat ironic since she is maintaining a journal and other writing projects). The important factor is that this is not a “poor me” tale. The author shares the other parts of her life. Sometimes, the volume seems to be about everything else but her RA, but the disease and its impact are always lurking in the background. For one, as the author ages, walking and balance prove more and more challenging. This is carried to the point where she is afraid to live alone for fear of falling — something millions of Americans share for various reasons. There are some good writing techniques here (such as the sense of smell); the author maintains a readable voice that mixes quotes italics (to represent her thoughts and emotions) and observations by friends. The cover is a very apt image of a lone, spare tree, perhaps in fall, with a rainbow arcing overhead. This mix of reality and hope seems apropos for the memoir.

Another step taken…

I finished another step towards publishing my book this week. Over a month ago, I got back the manuscript from Lindsay, my editor. She had gone through it word-by-word, and line-by-line, editing grammer and punctuation. My task was to then go through and correct the errors. The work was exacting and eye-straining, but I finally finished it. I sent it back to Lindsay a couple of days ago. I’m eager to discover what the next step in the process is.

line-by-line

Last Chapter of Book Sent to Editor

awesome   Awesome news! I finished the last chapter in my book and sent it to my editor, Lindsay, today (July 30, 2014). I know, I know, I’ve said it was done in the past, well the manuscript truly is finished this time. When I get this section back from her, my book is ready for line editing. I don’t expect a lot of red ink to flow, though, because she did a lot of that during this development editing stage. (BTW: If you need a great editor, Lindsay at http://www.youhavemyword.net/ is fantastic!)

It’s now time for me to think about a cover. I suppose it should have my picture on it. 🙂 Oh, and the other things a book needs: dedication, author information, etc.

I decided that I’m going to enter the manuscript into a contest where first prize is a publishing contract. The deadline is August 30. Wish me luck.

A New Life

open book diagnosed at 17 excerpt The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you want more, sign up to my mailing list. Not only will you get emails alerting you to new content on the site, you’ll also receive a copy of my ebook Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Life-Changing Disease. This ebook is the ‟appetizer” before the meal. It describes some of my experiences coping with RA.
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I Contacted a Publisher

I was listening to a podcast by Michael Hyatt called This Is Your Life Podcast. The topic was My Best Advice for First-Time Authors. (This subject was covered in two parts #21 and #22) Michael used to be a CEO at Thomas Nelson Publishing. He helped start WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan. WestBow specialize in assisting the self-publishing author get their book ready for publication: designing, editing, marketing, etc.

The next day, I visited their site and filled out a form requesting more information. A representative called me and we chatted for a few minutes. I told him how I learned about the company, explained that I wasn’t quite ready to publish yet and was exploring my options. He was friendly and asked questions that I hadn’t considered. Before hanging up, he told me he would contact me again in a few weeks to see how my book is progressing.

I’m excited about the step I took. It makes the book more of a possibility and less of a dream.

On my book, and a couple of questions

I am trying to become more focused and disciplined in my blogging and writing. My intentions are to have the memoir published by the end of May. Can I do it? I don’t know, I sure hope so. I’m discovering there is much to do before publishing a book. Its a long complicated process, but I push on., knowing that after I’ve done it once, the next time will be easier.
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Are you confused yet?☺

A couple of posts ago I told you my book was finished and I wanted readers to preview it. Well, guess what; I’m not done writing!

I hired an editor who looked at it and suggested I expand on a few places. Yes, I know that’s what another editor said and I rejected her suggestion. However, this lady actually gave clear, sensible ideas and even pointed out where, and possibly what, to add.

Therefore…my book is still in the writing process. I promise next time to not “jump the gun” and tell you I’m finished before I’m actually done and ready to publish.

So, onward and upward. Keep reading and leaving comments. Your feedback keeps me encouraged.

Introduction to my book (Diagnosed at Seventeen)

I have written the introduction to my book Diagnosed at Seventeen. 

I’m seventeen years old, enjoying my senior year of high school. I’m hanging out with my friends, going to football games, and having a good time. I like school, most of my classes anyway. Life is good. Suddenly I begin experiencing pain in my hands every morning. My fingers are stiff and swollen; they look like little, fat sausages. When I walk barefoot across the room, it feels like I’m stepping on sharp rocks. Constant pain puts a damper on my appetite and I begin to lose weight.

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