Frequently Asked Questions - eBook Judging

FAQs - eBook Judging

Over the years, judges have asked about various facets of the eBook Competition. It seems that many judges have these questions. Entrants may also gain insight into how their books are judged.

We hope these FAQs are helpful. You may also find the eBook Judges' Instructions helpful.

If you still have a question, send it along to the Competitions Chair.

If you're ready to sign up to be a judge, go to the Judge Registration.

Since the eBook Competition is a peer-judged competition, our judges are professionals in the ePublishing industry. Published authors, publishers, and editors make up our judging pool. EPIC members are the first recruited, but we welcome non-member judges as well.

The only qualification, besides a professional affiliation, is that you love to read and are able to objectively evaluate what you're reading.

The eBook judging process is actually pretty simple. More detailed information is available in the eBook Judge Instructions.

The Judge Coordinator or, as we like to call her, the Competition Drone, sends each judge a list of assingments which will include all the information you'll need. 

In the Preliminary Round, you'll read the first three chapters.

In the First Round, you'll read the whole work.

In the Final Round, you'll read all the finalists in your assigned category.

In the Preliminary and First Rounds, when you've completed a read (either the first three chapters or the complete entry), you'll score the work. In the Final Round, you'll read all the finalists in a category, then score and rank each work. That's right, sports fans! Filling out the Preliminary and First Round forms takes only one to two minutes. If you have to give it some thought, it'll take a little longer. Filling out the Final Round form can take up to five minutes, but it's the only one you'll have to do.

Ready to be a judge? Register!

Of course you can!

Just realize that you will not be assigned any works from the categories you enter.
When judges sign up, they indicate their preferences. These indicators allow us to better match judges' preferences to the information supplied by the entrants.
TAGS: assignment
With the growth of the eBook Competition, there have been years when the available judge pool could not adequately cover all the entries. We needed a way to handle more entries with the same number of judges, while still being fair to the entrants. In 2011, we instituted the Preliminary Round to address this issue.

In the Preliminary Round, judges read the first three chapters of a book. The judge then scores the entry on several criteria, pretty much the same way an acquisitions editor would evaluate a submission. To be award worthy, a book must have a compelling opening hook, characters who are believable, a plot that engages, and the promise a great story. In addition, the writing and editing must be clean. The judge will also indicate whether the entry should move forward, i.e. this a potential finalist, based on the first three chapters.

Each entry is assigned to three judges.  After scores are received, the Competitions Chair compiles the judges' scores and determines which entries should continue to the First Round.

A panel of judges read each entry in each round, each scoring from 0 (Please let it end!) to 10 (like Mary Poppins, perfect in every way). The scoring form has specific scoring criteria and will ask the question: should this book be considered a finalist?

The Competitions Chair evaluates all the scores and determines which entries will move to the Final Round.

TAGS: finalists
Three judges read the finalists, score them, and rank them. Based on the scores and the ranking, the Competitions Chair identifies the winner. This judging process works for us and we can only use data the judges provide and make the best determination possible.


General guidance is provided in the eBook Judge's Instructions.

The scoring form has areas which are judged: plot, setting, characterization, etc. You will score each area zero (0) to (10). Scores of nine (9) or ten (10) should be awarded carefully. Ten (10), especially, indicates a perfect score and while an entry may be superlative in one area, the chance of it being perfect in all is highly unlikely. Your job is to objectively evaluate the quality of the work and eliminate those entries which are not award-worthy.

Please keep in mind that your scores will be used to determine whether or not this entry will move forward to the next round. Consider each scoring area and award your scores with care.

Remember you are not the only judge reading this work, so don't feel bad about giving low scores. Likewise, don't be surprised when a book you gave high scores to did not final or win. Our judges are individuals and the scores will often range, where one will love the work and another will not. Assign the scores you believe the entry deserves.

The "Wrong Category" field gives you an opportunity to evaluate whether the author has entered the work in the wrong category. Self-explanatory, right?

We assign you categories according to the category preferences you indicated in your registration form. The expectation is that you are familiar with the various categories (genres) and can evaluate how well an entry fits a particular category. There are a lot of cross-genre books out there and you shouldn't mark the entry as wrong category if it could fit where the author placed it. But we also don't want a Fantasy Fiction entry as a finalist if it is more of a Science Fiction Romance.

A grossly misplaced book should be marked as such. An example of this might be a story about werewolves terrorizing Manhattan in the 1950's being entered in the Historical category. Setting the story in the 1950's would qualify as a Historical work. The werewolves make it paranormal, horror, or fantasy, at the author's discretion. If this book was sent to you as a Historical Fiction entry, you should mark it as being in the wrong category.

We live in a small world and we pretty much know each other.

If you can read and objectively score the book, we don't care if you know the author. If you don't feel comfortable judging a particular book because of your relationship with the author, contact the Judge Coordinator and provide us with the title, author, and your concerns. The book will be reassigned and you will be given a replacement if we have other books requiring a judge.

Reasons we will reassign a book:

  • You are a close, personal friend of the author.
  • You edited or critiqued the book.
  • You are the publisher, editor or the book.

If your association with the author is due to being in the same writers' group, publishing house, etc., you should still be able to objectively judge the book.