Awards Judging FAQs
Judging FAQs

Below are questions that we get asked just about every year. We've done our best to ensure that the information is contained within the various guidelines and rules, but we know that it's a lot of information to take in and process. So, look through these questions to see if any match the questions you may have. If you can't find the answer to your question, please CONTACT the Awards Administrators.

These questions pertain specifically to judging - they are questions we are asked by judges and questions about the judging process. They also cover questions about how winners are determined.


Anyone can apply to be a judge, judges must read and agree to the Rules & Regulations. The only exception is that Publishers and employees of publishers are prohibited from applying.


Yes, training (live or video) is mandatory..


To preserve confidentiality and objectivity. You may disclose you were a judge AFTER the awards ceremony.


We will list judges in alphabetical order after the awards ceremony. We will use first names and last initials. You have the option to opt-out of this listing.


After you have completed training, you will have access to books as soon as they are approved for nomination. EBooks will be available straight away, physical books will be shipped to you once received.


You are free to manage your own reading schedule, however, we suggest that you start reading as soon as you are given access to your reading list. This will allow you to complete your reading assignments in a timely fashion and will not put you up against the deadline of April 15th.


Yes, it is your commitment as a judge to read all books in your category completely. Having all judges in a category read ALL of the same books is something that sets us apart. It also ensures that all of the books are scored fairly. Please score the book accordingly.


We recommend that you score the books as you read them as they are to be scored individually. Remember, the book is being evaluated according to a set of criteria, not against the other books in the category. Best practice to ensure fairness is to judge each book, as you read them, before moving on to the next.


Please CONTACT the Awards Administrators to check your access.


Please refer to the training materials provided during training. For specific questions, please CONTACT the Awards Administrators.


The person nominating the books has the choice between submitting eBooks or physical format books. Some authors do not have eBook versions - it may be cost prohibitive to pay for someone to create them. In other cases, the person nominating a book may not be the author and, therefore, not have access to all eBook formats.


Please CONTACT the Awards Administrators. They will test the files. If there is a problem with the files themselves, we will contact the nominator to obtain a working copy.


Please CONTACT the Awards Administrators. They will test the files. If there is a problem with the files themselves, we will contact the nominator to obtain a working copy.


Yes, eBooks will be in .mobi format, which is readable by a Kindle.


Yes, eBooks will be in .epub format, which can be used in iBooks.


Yes, you can download the .pdf version of the book and read it easily on your computer. Additionally, there are a number of apps available to read eBooks on the computer (i.e., Kindle Reader, Freda, Adobe Digital Editions, etc.)


We have attached some instructions on how to add eBooks to eReaders. Adding eBooks


Many nominations (more than 90%) are in eBook format. This saves the nominators and the GCLS a lot in shipment costs. It is one of the requirements as a judge that you are able to read eBooks.


For international judges, we have found that it is sometimes more cost effective to send eBook gifts to a judge rather than ship physical books. The gift is for you to buy the book(s) in your reading assignment list.


Yes, however, you are prohibited from copying, selling, or sharing the books online.


Please CONTACT the Awards Administrators as soon as possible to work out new arrangements


Please CONTACT the Awards Administrators as soon as.


You may not judge books in the category your book was nominated, however you may continue to judge in another category. Please CONTACT the Awards Administrators if you have been assigned to a category where your book was nominated.


Once the judging process has begun, judges may not withdraw except in an emergency situation that has been discussed with the Awards Administrators, or if an unexpected conflict of interest occurs.


Unfortunately, no. We would love to be able to offer judges a discount. Finances just don't allow it at this time.


The process for selecting awards presenters is different from the judging process.


Each category will have 3-5 judges who will evaluate each book based on criteria set out in a comprehensive evaluation form. Criteria include format, layout, narrative, setting, dialogue, characters, voice, lesbian content. Books are evaluated against the criteria, not against other books in the category.


At the end of the judging process, the judges' scores are tallied. Finalists and winners are determined based on the scores. As of the 2018 awards cycle, the 25%-10% rule is used:

  • 25% of eligible nominations will be finalists
  • 10% of eligible nominations will be winners


Popular Choice awards (Ann Bannon Popular Choice and Tee Corinne Outstanding Cover Design) are voted on by the GCLS membership; the Trailblazer and Lee Lynch Classic awards are voted on by past Trailblazers; and the Director's' Award is determined by the GCLS Board of Directors.


Finalists will be posted on the GCLS website in late-April/early-May, as the scores are finalized by the Awards Administrators.


Winners will be announced during the Awards Ceremony at the GCLS Annual Conference. Click on “Conference” from the home page to see the location of the upcoming conference location.


If fewer than 6 books are nominated in one category, the category will be consolidated with another category to the extent possible; or eliminated for the current awards year.


There is strict confidentiality within the judging process. It is prohibited for judges to discuss their involvement as a judge and to reveal the names of judges in any category. The names of judges will be listed in alphabetical order at the end of the Awards Ceremony.


The judges’ decisions are final. Neither the Awards Administrators nor the Board will entertain objections or challenges with regard to the judging or the judging process. We do, however, encourage people committing to improving the process by volunteering for the Independent Review Committee.

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