Earlier this year, I entered The Ghost Princess in the 23rd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.
I didn’t win, but I have received my scores and commentary from the judges:
Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4 out of 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4 out of 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5 out of 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 4 out of 5
Character Appeal and Development: 4 out of 5
Voice and Writing Style: 4 out of 5
The Ghost Princess is an enjoyable fantasy story that will send readers looking for more books by M. Walsh. The otherworldliness of this story, combined with compelling characters makes this book a page-turner.
The opening scene in Part 1, Chapter 1 is strong and creates story questions in the readers’ minds. However, some of the sentences are awkwardly phrased. For example, the one that starts with, “The dry copper taste of a hangover in her mouth…” would sound better if changed to, “With a dry copper taste of a hangover in her mouth…” Another one is on page 40, where you have, “She stopped in an empty street…” This will come across better with, “She stopped on a deserted street…” There are quite a few phrases like this throughout the book that a competent proofreader would be able to catch.
Another thing you need to be cautious of is too much passive writing. Although you don’t need to eliminate all of the to-be verbs (is, are, was, were, etc.), try to restructure most of the sentences that contain them so they’re more active and in the moment.
The front cover stands out and does its job of compelling readers to pick it up. The back cover copy is good. All of the words stand out against the contrasting background.
Overall, this is an entertaining book with identifiable characters and interesting scenes. Good job!
So even though I didn’t win the competition, I did get some pretty good scores and favorable review. Not too shabby.