Through a letter from Jessica Strawser, Editor of Writer’s Digest, I was informed that I was not among the winners of the 17th Annual Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book Awards.
However, attached with the rejection letter was the evaluation of my book, which I have decided to post…
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “poor” and 5 meaning “excellent,” please evaluate the following:
Plot: 5, Grammer: 5, Character development: 5, Cover Design: 4
What did you like best about this book?
High School Asylum is one of the best written and most original of all the novels I’ve read for this competition—emphasis on original. I’ve read some good stories and some beautiful stories for this competition, but this is the most original. Reality is always uncertain in this novel as it is in real life, and no more tenuous is reality than at a high school. The narrative voice is marvelously engaging and likeable: “Even though I don’t have any real friends other than Jenny, I knew many personal details about other people that only a true friend could know. So what if Teresa wanted to be Cinderella when we would play war. How could I forget that she always wanted Billy to save her from some fire-breathing Cyclops that sprung from her imagination? The fantasy was always different, and so were the three of us back then.” Wonderful dialogue. Beautiful descriptive details.
How can the author improve this book?
I’m not sure what I want, but it seems the cover could be more attractive and evocative. In a way, the cartoonish figure on the front of the novel is consistent with certain themes, but certainly all the characters have far more depth than any cartoon. I’d maybe like to see the image of the “silver moon swelled like a glowing beach ball” on the cover. In terms of an author fulfilling his intentions, this is just about the best book in the competition—not a book for conventional tastes but a book that should find and deserves to find an appreciative audience of intelligent, broad-minded readers.