What is the Preliminary Round?
With the growth of the eBook Competition, there have been years where the available judge pool would not be able to 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 only the first three chapters of a book. The judge then scores the entry on several areas, pretty much the same way an acquisitions editor wuold evaluate a submission to a publishing company. To be award worthy, a book must have a compelling opening hook, characters who are real, a plot that engages and promises 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. is 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 be eliminated.