HOW TO BECOME A JUDGE FOR BOOKSELLERS’ BEST AWARD CONTEST
NOTE REGARDING OUR CONTEST: GDRW disaffiliated from the national organization, Romance Writers of America (RWA), November 2021. Due to the timing of our organizational changes, and with a new board term starting January 2022, we decided it would be best to delay the contest one more year. We anticipate that the new board will have an announcement about the contest by the summer of 2022, and you are welcome to check back on our website or our social media platforms to get updates. Our Facebook link can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/GreaterDetroitRomanceWriters.
All judges will be booksellers or librarians who are committed to upholding our mission statement to support all facets of the romance genre.
Q. Who can judge the Booksellers’ Best Award?
A. Librarians and those who own, manage, or work for a bookstore. You must be 18 or over.
Q. How many entries will I have to judge?
A. When you sign up, you get to choose how many books you’re willing to judge.
Q. What are the categories?
A. There are 11 categories of romance from which to choose:
SHORT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE (Books range from 40,001 to 60,000 words) A novel where the primary focus highlights the romantic relationship as the central part of the story. Romantic suspense, mystery or thriller elements can blend with the plot to form a part of the love story. Excludes Inspirational.
MID CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE (Books range from 60,001 to 80,000 words) A novel where the primary focus highlights the romantic relationship as the central part of the story. Romantic suspense, mystery or thriller elements can blend with the plot to form a part of the love story. Excludes Inspirational.
LONG CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE (More than 80,000 words) A novel where the primary focus highlights the romantic relationship as the central part of the story. Romantic suspense, mystery or thriller elements can blend with the plot to form a part of the love story. Excludes inspirational.
ROMANTIC SUSPENSE (More than 40,001 words) Novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an INTEGRAL part of the plot and are blended with the love story.
SINGLE TITLE WITH STRONG ROMANTIC ELEMENTS (More than 40,001 words) While there is a romance – or multiple romances, it is not a driving force to the plotline or central to the storyline. Novels written in varying tone, styles, and time periods can be considered eligible for this category. Commercial fiction, literary fiction, suspense/mystery/thriller fiction, or novels with thematic or emotional elements, including women’s self-discovery or emotional life journey where romance is present in the story but not the central focus, can be considered in this category.
INSPIRATIONAL ROMANCE (More than 40,001 words) A novel where spiritual or religious beliefs blend with the plot to form a significant part of the love story. The character’s journey should include not only inward and outward character growth, but also spiritual growth. The romance should be central to the story development and can include historical, suspense/mystery, or contemporary elements.
HISTORICAL ROMANCE (More than 40,001 words) A novel set in any time period and any location prior to 1945. The romance should be central to the story development. Suspense or mystery elements can be included within the plot as long as the historical setting remains uncompromised and the love story remains the central focus of the plot.
EROTIC ROMANCE (More than 40,001 words) A novel where a romantic relationship – or relationships – is developed through sexual interactions. The sex is an inherent part of the story, character growth, and relationship development, and can’t be removed without damaging the storyline.
PARANORMAL ROMANCE (More than 40,001 words) A novel in which paranormal/fantasy elements are integral parts of the plot. The paranormal/fantasy elements should blend with the love story. Paranormal, Science Fiction, Futuristic, Fantasy, Time Travel, and Urban Fantasy Romances also fit into this category. Urban Fantasies might not have a Happily-Ever-After at the end but must elude to a potential one at the end of the series.
YOUNG ADULT ROMANCE (More than 40,001 words) A novel with romantic themes interwoven with young adult issues and concerns to form the central part of the story. Young adults between the ages of 12-19 should be the targeted audience. Plots can include, but are not limited to, elements such as historical, paranormal, suspense/thriller, or mystery.
NOVELLA (15,000 to 40,000 words) Focuses on the romantic relationship. Accepted categories of novellas include contemporary, erotic, inspirational, romantic suspense, young adult, historical, and paranormal.
Q. How do I receive entries?
A. Books will be mailed to the judges in February.
Q. How long do I have to read and judge?
A. You must return the scores by April 15th.
Q. Can I post reviews of the books?
A. Scores must not be released to anyone other than the co-chairs of this contest. Therefore, we ask that if you review the books on Goodreads, Shelfari, etc., you do not mention you judged it for this contest or post the scores.
Q. Do I get to keep the books?
Yes! You get to keep the autographed books. Although, please do not offer the books up for sale online, however, you may donate them.
Q. How do I sign-up to judge?
A. Please sign-up using the online Google form. See the link above.