The past few years have been very difficult for me. I run my own business because the failing economy sought to push me out of my job. Yet, this hasn’t been as successful as I had hoped. Family life is often a struggle as well. I have found that, in times like these, I turn to my faith more for strength and encouragement. The Encouragement Journey has provided exactly the right mix of words, with supporting scripture, at the right time for me. Filled with personal stories, relatable quotes, inspiring images, and biblical references, The Encouragement Journey continues to remind me precisely where both my peace and strength come from – and always has. Well done.
On this post you will find a commentary from a judge for an award program that will give you some indication of the quality of An Encouragement Journey.
Entry Title: An Encouragement Journey
Author: Bill Carlson
Judge Number: 62
Entry Category: Inspirational
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: 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 3
Production Quality and Cover Design: 3
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 5
Voice and Writing Style: 5
Our judges all have professional experience in their background, whether it’s as a teacher, editor, publisher, agent, published author, etc. Judges are asked to write a short commentary:
Excellent organization of the topics within the four volumes comprising this devotional guide. Author does a wonderful job of inviting us into the book, with the suggestion to read just a chapter or two at a time, preventing overwhelm and allowing for his lessons to be absorbed more readily. Well done. Author cares very much, as evident in this instruction, that the reader gleans the most use from his content. Well done.
The author’s voice is relatable and wise, assuring and engaging, presenting his insights and scripture choices in the most welcoming way. He is a voice we enjoy ‘hearing’ as we progress through the book.
Each short chapter is well-paced and smartly written to provide ‘hooks’ for the reader to identify as personal issues, or aspirational issue, and each section is well-rounded, crafted with a presentation of the issue, the author’s take on it and supportive and enlightening scripture. The author excels at selecting known and little-known scripture to enhance the reader’s connection. Well done. Author has a terrific familiarity with Bible stories, which adds to his inspiring material.
The section on keeping faith during illness, we know, is a personal one for the author’s illness, and here we find another strength of the book, a section that any afflicted, suffering or terminal readers will relate to. I also see comforting material here for the caretakers, as we know that when someone is ill, it affects everyone around him.
I greatly liked the section in which the author shares his life change of eliminating sarcasm. That’s one trait that people may not realize hinders their relationships as well as their faith, so that was a particularly engaging section.
Watch out for typos. Often throughout the book, we see opening phrases not set off with a comma, which is a bit distracting.
And the author completes all steps of a good devotional guide by adding how to put these insights into action, as well as telling us what they are. Author obviously put a lot of effort into this book, and cares very much about helping people with it.