NCPA Judge Instruction Sheet for 2018-19 25th Anniversary Book Awards

     Without judges willing to take the time to read and review each submission, there would be no book awards competition, so thank you for your time and your service.

     My dream is for the NCPA competition to grow in both numbers and credibility, so that eventually it has a nationwide reputation for quality and integrity. A great panel of judges is one of the most vital components to making that happen.

     We value your work, but don't want to overwhelm you. For that reason, we will not send you more than fifteen books to review. Books of 100 pages or less will be classified as 1/2, to keep things even. Prior to shipping books, I'll send a list so that you can let me know if there are books you don't feel comfortable reviewing.

      Books are shipped out USPS Express Mail, flat rate boxes, so they're delivered in from one to three days. The last date I will accept submissions is February 15, 2019, and they will be shipped to you (judges) within two days of receipt.

     Three judges will read each submitted book, and all judges will receive a variety of genres. Each book will have two judging sheets tucked inside, one for the submitted category and one for cover/interior design.

     Each judge sheet has ten questions, which you answer with a numerical value rating from one to ten. You can make comments on each question; however, that's not required. Many judges make comments to help them recall the material so they can discuss it at the judge’s luncheon when the final decisions are made.

     In the past some of the comments made were extremely harsh, which was fine when no one but the judges saw them. Now, however, if authors want to see the judge comments to help them understand how their books were rated, I will scan and send them copies of the judge sheets.

     To protect privacy, the writers will NOT get the judge names or any identification, but the comments can be quite valuable. Please make sure any negative comments are written in a way that will be constructive rather than destructive.   

     The judges luncheon, which will be on a weekend in middle March, is the time all judges bring the books back so they can be on display for sale at the banquet on April 14th. It is also the time when the numerical scores are compared and final decisions are made on the awards.

     Number scores are not the final criteria because people judge differently; however, individual judges can champion books they especially liked -- or vilify ones they don't see as worthy -- as part of the process.

     Having their judge sheets handy will help each judge remember the book and discuss it accordingly. Please be sure to either mail copies of your judge sheets (not the originals, can't risk them being lost in the mail), or scan and email them to me prior to the luncheon so I can enter the scores on a master sheet. That saves a lot of time!

     In past years judges used to make marks in the books as they read; however, now we ask that the books be returned in saleable condition. Please don't make notes or marks on the pages or covers. If there is a book you would like to have, let me know at the luncheon. We have one copy that is not returned to the author, so is available for one of you to have if you are interested. Books that are not taken by the judges (the fourth copy) are donated after the banquet.

     If you have any questions, please let me know. And if you have any suggestions on how we might improve the competition or the judging process, I'd love to have them!

     Thanks again,

     Sharon Darrow

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