Judge's Commentary from the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

A few months ago, I decided to enter one of the largest contests around for a self-published author... While I didn't win first place, I did receive some amazing commentary from the judges, and thought I would share the glowing praise with my followers. 


Entry Title Heart of the Current

Author: Crispin Young

Judge Number: 100

Entry Category: Genre Fiction


Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.


Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 3

Plot and Story Appeal: 4

Character Appeal and Development: 5

Voice and Writing Style: 4


Judge’s Commentary:

Crispin Young's first book, Heart of the Current: Tales from Tahldia, is sure to excite readers of speculative fiction because they'll have a new favorite author to follow. Her attention to detail in description and world building provide a vivid graphic in the mind as the story unfolds. Using real human emotion that everyone can relate to and layering it with magic and otherworldliness, Young's story takes on a life that will pull readers from the humdrum of everyday living.

There are no glaring technical errors, such as spelling, grammar, or punctuation mistakes. The map in the front matter is a nice touch to help readers get their bearings as they go on this adventure. Each chapter ends on a hook that kept me from closing the book. The protagonist is strong, humanly flawed, well motivated, and relatable.