Award Details... the fine print

Before submitting a book for review and/or award consideration, authors need to affirm that they've 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 evaluate and 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.
  • Books must be submitted by MWSA members in good standing--dues current. 

WHAT

  • MWSA specializes in books that honor our military; but accepts books covering a wide variety of subjects.  Many of the books we review have nothing to do with the military.  However...
    • Books that disparage our country and or military are not accepted for review and possible awards.
    • MWSA is generally oriented towards the "military family."  If your book is primarily focused on violence and/or sexual situations, it might not be accepted for review/award consideration.  
      • Bottom line... if your book were to be made into a movie that you're not sure would be "R-" or "X-rated," you might not want to send it to us! 
  • Manuscripts and PDF's are not acceptable.
  • Pre-Publication and Advanced Review Copies are accepted with the following provisos:
    • Books will be scored and reviewed the same as published books.
    • No further (post-publication) review will be allowed.
    • In other words, make sure it's "ready for primetime!"
  • Paper and/or e-book formats accepted; but special procedures apply to e-books
  • You will be sending three books to three different reviewers.
    • Some reviewers can accept paper review copies only.
    • Others can accept (or prefer) e-books.
      • In the case of reviewers who prefer Kindle books, please send that format if you can, rather than a paper copy.
      • In the case of reviewers who can accept both paper or e-book, you can send either format.
      • You'll be able to see each reviewer's format preferences when we let you know we've got your three reviewers lined up for your book.
    • See our E-Book procedures for more details.
  • The book awards program consists of Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals for books that attain the standards in a variety of genres and subcategories.
    • Reviewers will score your book based on specific criteria that vary depending on the Genre and Subcategory of you book.
      • Please let us know which category you'd like our reviewers to use to score your book. 
    • 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 primary mission.
    • Our programs focus on education—both for our members and their communities.  We want to help our writers produce better books.

WHEN

  • Submissions are accepted between January 1 and June 15 each year.
    • Books must be submitted by MWSA members in good standing.
    • This service costs $40, collected at the time of submission.
  • Based on the information you provide in your submission, MWSA will create a page on our website for your book.
  • We try to review and judge books in the order in which they are received.
  • When a team of reviewers becomes available and is assigned to your book, you will be notified to send your review copies.
    • Matching reviewers to books can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, please bear with us--all our reviewers are volunteers!
    • In order to maintain your place in the queue, you will have ten days from the email notice to get the books on their way to the reviewers.
    • No notes, messages, or promotional material of any kind can be included.
  • Once all three reviewers have read and scored your book, one of the reviewers will write your review.  
    • The review is then posted to our website on your book's page.
    • We will let you know via email when it's available.
  • After the Awards window closes and all scores have been recorded and checked, we will announce that year's MWSA Awards Finalists.  
    • Being identified as an Award Finalist means that you have won one of the awards listed above.
  • Specific Awards are announced at a special conference, awards banquet, or "virtual event" held each year
    • The 2017 Awards will be announced at our San Antonio Conference in September

HOW

  • Each book is judged by a team of three reviewers. Reviewers use spreadsheets or online forms, which ask twenty questions to measure books against the standards listed below.
    • To aid in our evaluation and to ensure objectivity, reviewers 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. 
  • Books are not competing against each other!  Instead, they're evaluated against a standard.  
    • It is the final averaged score that determines whether a book qualifies for an award.
    • Not all awards are given out each year.
    • If we score 20 books at the Gold Medal level, we will award 20 Gold medals.  Conversely, if no books score high enough, we will have no Gold Medals. 
  • 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.  
  • Quarterly reading lists are published in our quarterly magazine, Dispatches and in periodic email blasts.
    • The lists reflect books that have ranked above a certain score in the period covered by the magazine or blast.
    • Being included in any magazine or email "blast" does NOT mean that the book has scored high enough to win a medal!
  • 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 to have these items shipped to them.