I just got my feedback from the Amazon novel contest and it was a mixed bag. Two reviewer gave me feedback on my excerpt. There were some things they liked and some they didn't (most of which I had already fixed in a later revision anyway), but one urged me to consult my dictionary (which I do on a daily basis). She gave me two examples and one was true-- I had mispelled a word into another word, one that I didn't want to use. The other example though showed that she should have used the dictionary.
It's very hard to get a manuscript ready and people spend years and years going over theirs again and again to get it just right, sometimes hiring editors who argue over what to change. So even though this whole episode puts me in kind of a funk, that doesn't mean I won't have another book ready for next year's contest. It's going to be The Jungle Girl.