Award Details... the fine print

MWSA AWARDS PROCESS INFORMATION
(before website accepts a submission, the author needs to affirm that he or she has read the following.)

WHO

  • MWSA is a writing group designed to encourage active military, veterans, their families, and historians to write. Our focus is on the stories themselves.
  • Our goal is to create a body of work that will support historians in the future. To that end, we recognize the efforts of our members—whether they are professional writers, beginners, or those who simply want a legacy for their families—using the same standards for all. 

WHAT

  • We specialize in books that honor our military.
    • Books that disparage our country and or military are not accepted for review and possible awards.
  • Manuscripts and PDF's are not acceptable. 
  • The book awards program consists of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals for books that attain the standards in a variety of genres and subcategories. Additional awards are the Founder’s, President’s, and Author of the Year Awards, based on exceptional work. Not all awards are given out each year. 
  • We are happy when our recognition helps authors sell their books, and we try to provide as much information and publicity as possible to that end. However, book promotion is NOT our mission. Our programs focus on education—both for our members and their communities. We want to help our writers produce better books. Reviews and awards constitute part of this effort.

WHEN

  • Submissions are accepted between January 1 and June 15 each year. This service costs $40, collected at the time of submission.
  • Books are reviewed and judged in the order in which they are received. When a team of reviewers becomes available, you will be notified to send your book for review. You will be sending three books to three different addresses at that time. In the case of reviewers who prefer Kindle books, those will be requested in lieu of a hard copy book. You will have ten days from the email notice to get the books to the reviewers. No notes, messages, or promotional material of any kind can be included. For Kindle books, you will need to purchase Gift Downloads and forward them to the Awards Director email or attach and send the mobi file of the book to the Awards Director.
  • In order to maintain your place in the queue, your books must be received by the reviewers within ten days. 

HOW

  • Trained experienced MWSA member volunteers read and review fellow members’ books. Reviewers score the book as part of the review, and books that achieve certain standards become finalists in the awards portion of the program. When all the submitted books have been reviewed for the year, finalists are announced.
  • Each book is judged by a team of three reviewers. Reviewers use spreadsheets which ask twenty questions to measure books against the standards listed below. They comment on applicable issues of technique or approach in a general way in the public review. The public review is posted to the website, and authors may use reviews in any way they wish. 
  • Not all awards are given out each year. Even if only one book is entered in a specific genre, it is no assurance that it will win a medal. It is the final averaged score that determines whether a book qualifies for an award. 
  • The criteria upon which your book will be scored fall in the following categories:
    • Content: These criteria evaluate plot, characterization, message or theme, believability, intent of book, storytelling, and construction.
    • Style: These criteria evaluate readability, book structure, language, % dialogue to narration, % description to action, % passive to active voice.
    • Visual: These criteria evaluate cover design, cover art, book block layout, font size, font serif, use of illustration.
    • Technical: These criteria evaluate redundancies, spelling, grammar, word usage, sentence structure, and verb tense usage.
  • It must be noted that this process only allows us to reach a consensus of opinion about the quality of a book. The spreadsheets focus reviewers on the specific criteria that we have decided to recognize with awards. MWSA encourages reviewers to measure against a standard rather than a more general, "I like this book better than that one." We only want to know how well a given book fits the criteria. These techniques are based on the principles of critical analysis which are widely recognized in the writing industry.
  • Authors know the criteria they will be judged against and can work to improve their writing before they submit a book for review. The comments and the scoring also give us an idea of the kinds of classes, articles, and blogs we need to provide our membership to help our authors grow.  
  • Book of the quarter and the quarterly reading lists are published in our quarterly magazine, Dispatches. The lists reflect books that have ranked high in the period before publication.
  • Books winning an award will receive a medal and award stickers at the annual conference, awards banquet, or virtual celebration. If a winning member does not attend an event, they may pay an additional fee to cover postage and handling.