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wishingLast year, Safkhet Publishing entered Grumpy Old Menopause for The Wishing Shelf Awards and as I reported last month it won a silver award. Now, before your eyes glaze over and you think I’m crowing about winning an award, I’m not. Read on…

Awards like this are useful for writers and readers. For readers they indicate that a book has been “vetted” by a reading public and approved. (The Wishing Shelf team ensure all the children’s books actually go to panels of age-appropriate children to judge.) For writers they are, of course, an accolade and a super marketing tool but all of us can learn from the feedback that was given about the books entered for the award. Reading panels in the UK and another in Sweden not only chose their favourite books and scored them but offered constructive comment and to a writer that is invaluable. If you are open=minded and willing to accept comments, you will learn much from them. Indeed, when I began writing, ahead of publication, I put up the first few chapters of Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines onto a forum at YouWriteOn where in exchange for honest opinions about other writer’s works, I received comments on my own. Once I had got over the shock and finished sulking, I rewrote some parts of the book. It became a much better book as a consequence and you know what happened next with it

If you are considering entering your book for an award then enter The Wishing Shelf Awards. They are non-profit and all entry fees are used for advertising and promoting the finalists and books. It is one of the best awards I have come across that you can enter.

If you are a writer, please look at the general comments below. They are very helpful. Ask yourself if they apply to you. I too would echo the reader’s sentiment that too many books are rushed. Take your time!

I’ve also put the comments I received about Grumpy Old Menopause. I’ve decided the book is like Marmite-you either love it or hate it! Either way, I’ve been thrilled by the response to it. Let’s face it we can’t please all the people, but if we make most happy then, we’ve done a jolly good job.

General Feedback
Many thanks for entering your book in The Wishing Shelf Book
Awards. The award is run ‘not for profit’ and we work very
hard to try to help authors/publishers who enter to promote
and/or improve the books.
Firstly, I’d like to give you the general feedback given by
the readers.
Most of the readers felt the covers were much better this
year. They felt the standard of composition, in particular,
the lettering and the central image were much improved. A few
of the blurbs were overly long and the readers suggested
authors/publishers keep in mind ‘who the potential reader is’
and ‘try to focus on persuading that potential reader to buy
the book’. For example, a few of the blurbs were basically
lists and were not very inspiring.
Regarding content, the readers were very impressed by the
overall standard of the books entered. They did, however, make
the following comments:
  •   A few of the books needed properly editing. They felt this was particularly important for the children’s books as they don’t want young readers learning incorrect English.
  •   Many of the books felt ‘rushed’, particularly over the last few chapters. The readers felt a story, particularly an adventure story, should end ‘BIG and EXCITING’; if it is rushed and ‘all over in a page or two’ the reader feels let down.
  •   Our younger readers noticed a large number of the adventure/mystery/fantasy books started with description of setting. They felt this was not very ‘grabbing’ and did not ‘hook them into the story’. They suggested ‘speech’ would be better.
  •   Many of our adult readers were disappointed by the length of a few of the books. They felt that a few independent authors, in a hurry to get the book on Kindle, will attempt to finish the story in 25,000 words. Consequently, the books felt rushed.
The readers advise ‘Don’t rush it. Develop the characters; allow 
the reader the opportunity to care about what happens to them.’  

 Regarding ‘non-fiction adult’, although the books entered were generally excellent, a number of them had ‘such small type they were almost impossible to read’. I know it is tempting with a very long book to pick a tiny font size – it keeps the cost of printing it down – but not so small the reader needs a magnifying glass.

Specific Feedback

Title Grumpy Old Menopause Author: Carol E Wyer
Star Rating: 5 stars
Number of Readers: 32

Readers’ Comments
‘What a lovely book. I’m getting on a bit myself so I enjoyed
all the nuggets of advice mixed in with a health dose of
light-heartedness.’ Female reader, aged 65
‘This is perfect for anybody who is about to go through the
dreaded menopause. Lot of facts and tips; lightly written and
full of amusing anecdotes.’ Female reader, aged 58
‘If you want a good laugh, this book is for you. If you are
looking for a medical manual on the problems of menopause,
it’s not. This book is funny and interesting too, particularly
about laughing and how often kids do it compared to adults. I
see on Amazon, readers seem to love it or hate it. I happen to
love it.’ Male reader, aged 51
‘I sort of wish there had been more substance to this book.
However, there are probably hundreds of somber, 1,000 page
books on the subject of menopause. I think there’s room for a
funny one too. A good laugh!’ Male reader, aged 48

Stats

Of the 32 readers:
31 thought the cover was good or excellent.
27 would read another book by this author.
28 thought the comic element was the best part of the book.

2 suggested the subject deserved better. ‘Menopause is not a laughing matter’. Quote, unquote!

Catchy Quote
‘A fantastically fun take on menopause. A SILVER medal winner!’
The Wishing Shelf Awards
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