My best rejection yet – from Writers Digest Self Published Book Awards

It was sometime last year that I have applied for Self Published Book Awards competition by Writers Digest. It’s a pricey competition, with $99 fee if you apply by 3rd of April or $110 if you wait until 1 May. If you are interested in applying, note that this competition is for published paperbacks – the ebook timelines should be announced later in the year.

Please also note that it takes them forever to assess the books, so it’s no use to continuously check your inbox. Once you forgot all about it and least expect it, you will, eventually, finally, get an email response. Mine was a rejection, which included an assessment from an anonymous judge:

  • Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
  • Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
  • Production Quality and Cover Design: 4
  • Plot and Story Appeal: 5
  • Character Appeal and Development: 5
  • Voice and Writing Style: 4

Judge’s Commentary:

I loved this book. It has everything that we want to see in a great story. The situation is unique. The character is relatable and likable. The opening was fantastic. It drew the reader in and made them want to read more. The production values would stand up to any book being published by New York today. I don’t have much negative to say at all. My only comment was that because of the fact that your last name is also a verb, I thought at first that “Ana Spoke” was the title. Easily fixed by putting “by Ana Spoke” in future editions! With all that praise, I hope you’re not surprised that I passed this on to the next round of judging in the contest. It’s well-deserved.

At this point, I would really focus on the marketing aspects of the publishing process. You have the great book; now you need to talk it up. I would hope that you’re beginning to accumulate cover quotes from authors and contests. I think that was the one thing missing from the back cover that might persuade more people to buy the book. It’s a great story, and I think it just needs more push to become a very popular title.

I was in a dark and dingy, “I’m giving up on writing” place when I received this review/rejection, but reading it now, after the BookBub news, it’s a completely different story. The judge “loved” my book! In fact, he or she sounds in love with it, comparing Shizzle, Inc to “any book being published by New York today.” Seriously, could it get any better? It suddenly occurred to me that I can USE IT AS A QUOTE in my blurb. Why didn’t I think of that right away? Well, that’s simple – when my mindset was negative, I could not see the silver lining in this particular cloud, but as soon as I found my regular upbeat mojo, the possibilities are shouting at me from every turn.

So here’s to mojo! It should be nurtured and fed on a regular basis, and lovingly maintained as a valuable asset. I’m about to take it over to Amazon and once again spruce up my blurb, just in time for that BookBub.


Filed under Shizzle, Inc.

42 responses to “My best rejection yet – from Writers Digest Self Published Book Awards

  1. It’s awesome that you got so much praise and that it helped to keep you motivated in your writing endeavours. I agree completely with you that a silver lining is sometimes hard to spot, but I’m happy that you found it. It sounds like all of this praise totally justified the pricey competition fee. Great post! 😀😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done you should be proud of that so-called rejection. Writers all have self doubt, so it was nice that these nice words were timed so well for you. Now you’re up when you could have been down. I love that you got your mojo back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Believe it or not, I got this review last month, if not longer ago. I was just giving up at that time, so I ignored it. Just remembered it now, because I’m once again feeling hopeful.


  3. Congratulations on the awesome feedback! So happy for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. YAY!!! Kicking butt and taking names!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Shana Gorian

    That’s wonderful Ana! Congrats on the wonderful review he gave your book!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s awesome you could find the good in the review you got. Every writer goes through the “dark phase,” but it’s important to pull ourselves out of them =)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Woebegone but Hopeful

    That is absolutely wonderful news. OK, so you didn’t get the award, so what. The important factor being that you inspired the judge to make those comments.
    I loved Shizzle Inc and should be catching up with your other books but I am up to my neck in projects; that and being a hopelessly lazy reader these
    I am so pleased for you, keep up the good work!
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, you’re more positive than I would be under the circumstances… I need to work on handling rejection more. Or sending my stuff in anywhere; something like that.

    At any rate, may it translate into many new fans!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve had a long practice getting rejected, haha! Spent four years trying to be an actress, managed to get 40 roles and I estimate around 200 rejections. Eventually you just dismiss them as a part of the experience.


  9. What a fantastic rejection, Ana. But why did the judge reject it? It can’t, surely, be because of your name!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Olivia Barrington

    I knew your writing was great! You need to take that quote to Bookbub and use it in the pitch. It might have been a rejection but it was the best one I’ve ever read. Talk about encouragement. Take it and keep up your mojo and if it wavers just read that and know it’s as good as any New York published book. Glad to hear your hitting 1000 words a day on the new book. Go mojo!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ana, that is great! I sent my book to the awards and hope my rejection is as great as yours when it comes in. Congrats on the Bookbub 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That’s great feedback and most useful, by the sound of it. Well done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That’s awesome news! I love how you turned the rejection into a silver lining, your optimism is infectious.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That’s a fantastic review! Even if you didn’t win, you can’t ask for better endorsement than that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Amelia 🙂 I have high hopes for winning a publisher over in a face-to-face in June. I have good reviews, I have persistence, I have a social media platform…what else could they want??? I guess I’ll find out 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. That’s a really good ‘rejection’, Ana. Good thinking to use it in your blurb.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Congratulations Ana. Great work.


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  18. Kimberlee J Benart

    I’m so happy you got such great comments from the judge. It’s obvious he or she actually read it. I entered two books this year, the first and second parts of a trilogy, both reviewed by the same judge and just got my review comments. I didn’t have a very good experience at all. When I read the two sets of comments it became clear that the judge, who scored my books mostly 4s and some 3s, only read the first two chapters (out of 8; few but very long chapters; part of epic fantasy trilogy), and the epilog and a couple of charts at the back. The comments were so generic, like saying that “the setting is medieval and the people travel by horses and can only communicate by a messenger carrying handwritten letters on parchment.” The judge actually said things that weren’t even true, which I pointed out to them. I took the trouble to send them feedback, so maybe next year they could make it more useful for other people. Interestingly, one of the books had just won a silver medal in fantasy fiction, and the other was just reviewed in booklist mag as recommended for purchase for public libraries.


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