I entered Head in the Sand … and other unpopular positions in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards sometime last year. Granted, I didn’t win anything. I expected that, since I assume tons of people enter this contest now. But, today I received in the mail a review of the book by the judge (the esteemed judge #57). I hadn’t realized I’d get a written review. Very cool!
I also got a certificate of “recognition of participation.” Feels a lot like getting a trophy for good attendance in kindergarten. (Yay me! I can write a check and send things in the MAIL!)
All in all, I’m extremely pleased with the results, except for that pesky “4” under “Grammar.” (Seriously? The judge didn’t even use a proper em-dash in his/her comments. But I digress.) But, why quibble when even the paragraph on what can be improved has more positive than negative in it?
This is precisely the impetus I need to get Fork in the Road … and other pointless discussions finished, since I believe it’s much more solid and consistently funny (so far).
I’ve typed up the judge’s review here:
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “poor” and 5 meaning “excellent,” please evaluate the following:
Structure and organization: 4
Production quality and cover design: 4
What did you like best about this book?
Cute cover! Your style is very punchy and fresh. Some excellent bon mots (Unitarian Jesus – ha!). The Hoss Burger has me drooling. I like the brevity of the pieces – get in, get out, deliver the message. Very good. You have developed a very personable style, and you write very conversationally; you’d be surprised how rare this quality is. I can almost hear you telling these stories as I read them on the page. You have a great sense for human nature and foibles. You also have a sense for very direct, plain English, and the strategic twist of a word that can really deliver a laugh. Good job!
How can the author improve this book?
It’s really tough to develop your own path in humor, and some of this travels along subjects that are well-worn. (The toilet seat joke in the first paragraph.) But you have a natural sense for “funny,” so I get the feeling the less you try to be funny, the funnier you will naturally be. You might even delve into subject matter that’s more serious, and find humor rising out of it as if by magic. You’d be surprised, and this is a really good way to “stretch” your talents. Go in unexpected ways, and you may surprise yourself.