Reviews & Awards

I've submitted my book in your review and awards program... Now What?


Congratulations on submitting your book!

Here are a few suggestions for what you should be doing in the coming weeks and months:

  • Check your book’s library listing. Your first step is to make sure your library listing looks like you expected—that it accurately reflects what you submitted to us.

    • If you see errors or would like to make one or two changes, contact your awards directors and let them know.

    • However, please consider this a one-time good deal. Our awards staff cannot serve as your editors trying to keep up with changes you’d like to make to your original submission to get it “just right.”

  • Keep track of your listing. Write down a the URL link to your book or add a bookmark to your browser to be able to easily check what’s happening.

    • Visitors to our website may make comments or try to contact you, so notice what’s there and respond if necessary.

    • Keep in mind that those visitors might be potential book-buying customers.

  • Check your book’s listing on our social media pages.

  • When we add your book to our library, our website’s software also sends your book’s data and cover image to MWSA’s various social media pages: Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Blogger.

    • Blogger’s entry is an automatic repeat of what we post to our Goodreads page (this is a test program).

    • All the other social media sites use the information posted on our website.

  • Check out our Social Media page to get to the various links and details

  • Find your book on each social media page.

  • Comment on, retweet, re-post, share, “like” your listing to increase its visibility.

    • Consider adding comments like “I just added my book to the Military Writers Society of America’s review and awards system.”

    • Encourage your friends, family, and fans to do the same!

    • Remember that every action you take online helps increase the visibility of…

      • you, the author

      • your book

      • MWSA.

  • Keep track of your book as it progresses through each stage.

    • What are the Stages?

  1. Submit your book (you’ve already finished this stage)

  2. Identifying your three reviewers

  3. Send your books/eBooks and confirm that they’ve arrived

  4. Reviewers submit Scores and Comments

  5. Resolve any scoring issues (like a scoring divergence)

  6. MWSA review posted

  • How can you monitor our progress?  By visiting our Where’s My Book? page as often as you like.  On that page you can track the various stages of your MWSA review and see details on…

    • how many reviewers have volunteered to read and evaluate your book

    • whether your book as arrived with each reviewer (once they’re identified and you’ve mailed/emailed review copies)

    • how many reviewers have scored your book

    • whether or not we’ve completed a reviewer conference (required for training or for a scoring divergence)

    • whether your review is complete

      • Once it’s complete, your review will be posted on your book page, and you’ll also get an email when this step is complete.

    • Please make sure to check out the “Where’s my Book” page before contacting the Awards Directors requesting a status update. Most of the time, you’ll find the answer on that page.

What happens next?

  • Once all books are read, scored, and reviewed—around mid-August—we announce our awards finalists.

    • Being a finalist means you’ve won a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal.

    • We normally make this announcement via live video streaming.

    • At this time, we’ll send all participants and email notifying them of their status.

      • Finalist or not, you can ask to see your reviewer comments (but not scores) after you get the announcement email.

My MWSA review has been posted online... Now What?


Reviews are a “precious commodity” for authors. 

Almost everyone in the publishing industry will tell you that it’s much more important to have a large number of reviews—even if those reviews include a spattering of the dreaded 1-star variety—than it is to have a handful of 5-star ones.

MWSA Reviews—The “Author Veto” and Credibility

  • Since MWSA’s main mission is to help our members, we will not “slam” an author with a purely negative review, nor will we keep any review on our website if the author requests that we remove it.

    • Just ask the Awards Directors, and we’ll remove it—for any reason, or no reason at all.  Period!

    • This is the “Author’s Veto.”

  • To maintain our credibility as an organization doing reviews, we cannot provide 100% positive (or “pure marketing”) reviews to every book submitted by our authors.

    • To ensure that MWSA reviews are credible, if a book’s numerical evaluation (the combined average scores of all three reviewers) fails to reach a certain threshold, our MWSA review is required to mention the shortfall(s).

  • If this happens, one of our Awards Directors will contact the author and…

    • inform him/her that the scoring threshold was not met.

    • provide a draft review, which will include the applicable critical comments.

    • ask the author to chose to accept the review or not (see the “Author Veto” discussion above).

    • suggest that the author request to see reviewer comments (but not scores).

Reviewer Comments

  • MWSA strongly recommends that all authors have a look at their reviewers’ comments.

  • All authors will be able to see those comments (but not scores) once we announce awards finalists (normally mid-August).

  • However, only those books whose final scores fall below the minimum threshold (per the last bullet in the section above) will be permitted to see those comments at the point where reviews are posted (i.e. before the announcement of finalists).

  • If your book scored higher than the low-score threshold (i.e. you were not notified of that fact when your review was uploaded to our website):

    • Your book is still “in the running” for an award.

    • We will not yet offer to share your reviewer comments, as doing so might “spill the beans” before the announcement of finalists.

Spreading the Word and Outside Reviews

  • The review is now yours—post it to your website and your own social media sites.  When you do copy it, please remember to attribute it to us.

  • Once your review is posted to our website, MWSA will also “blast” your book and its review to our social media websites.

  • Since your MWSA review will be attributed to the individual reviewer (always the #1 reviewer), they’ll be able to copy their MWSA review onto other websites (most likely on Amazon) under their own name.

    • Please keep in mind that 1) this additional “outside review” is purely voluntary on that reviewer’s part, and 2) the additional review cannot be posted until AFTER the awards ceremony.

      • Why wait?  Because no one will know the actual MWSA medal result until the day of the awards banquet and ceremony. 

      • Any early release of an Amazon review with a star rating, would represent a “sneak preview” of our MWSA scoring before the actual announcement.


I've been notified that I'm an Awards Finalist... Now What?


First of all, Congratulations!

As soon as you hear, watch, or read that announcement, you’ll have to prepare to be an “award-winning author!”

Whether this is your first award as a writer, or your… well, even if you’ve won more awards than you can count, there’s still work to do.

First and foremost… Spread the Word!

  • MWSA normally makes the initial announcement of the awards finalists via a live video broadcast.

    • Look for the details on our website—the Season Page or the News Section.

    • Now that we have our own dedicated Facebook page, that’s where we’ll be making the announcement for the foreseeable future.

    • Once you know where to watch for the announcement, let your family and friends know so they can also watch live.

  • Within a few days, the awards finalists’ names and books will be posted to our website and announced via press release.

    • Links to both of the above can be put on your own website, or in your own social media announcements.

      • You should be proud, and share your pride with others.

Start making your travel plans

  • Once you know you’ll be winning some kind of award from MWSA, you’ll also have an excellent reason to join us during our general membership conference and especially our awards banquet (which always caps off the event).

    • Having a photo of that MWSA medal being hung around your neck is a tremendous marketing tool… don’t miss out!

Make sure your awards package includes what you want

  • Make sure your name appears as you’d like it to appear on your awards certificate.

    • Unless we hear otherwise, your award certificate will include the author name you provided when you first submitted your book.

  • Our normal awards package is designed for one author (i.e., includes one medal, one certificate, etc.), so if you have (or would like to add) another author (or authors, editor, etc.):

    • we need to know, so we can add/change the author(s) listed

    • you’ll need to purchase any additional awards packet materials from our online store.

  • If you’re unable to join us during the awards banquet, we’d be happy to mail you your packet. All we ask is that you pay for the postage—which you can do on our online store.


  • Every MWSA author should ask for reviewer comments!

    • Even gold-medal-winning books may have an error or two that you (or even your editor) may have missed.

    • Some of the comments and suggestions might also be beneficial—even if only for your next effort.

  • Just ask the Awards Directors, and we’d be happy to share them with you.

I've been notified that my book is NOT an Awards Finalist... Now What?


The fact that your book didn’t score high enough for an award does not mean that you’re done with MWSA.

We highly recommend that your first step be to find out what happened and why.

Ask for your reviewers’ comments!

  • Your awards directors will forward your three reviewers’ comments to you upon request.

  • Our reviewers are asked to evaluate your book using an objective system—involving 20 multiple choice questions.

    • They are also asked to provide as many of the details behind their evaluation as possible.

    • Although all scores and comments involving our internal deliberations  cannot be released, other comments can be shared with our authors.

  • Are your reviewers the final word with respect to the quality of your book?

    • No, but please consider your reviewers’ demographics.  All three of your reviewers…

      • are MWSA members (something you have in common),

      • are writers themselves (theoretically, a step above a “plain reader,” and also something you have in common),

      • volunteered to read your book.

      • In other words, they’re very likely “your preferred/target demographic!”

    • If three of these reviewers decided to answer our evaluation questions in the same way, it’s not unreasonable to recognize that they might have valuable feedback for you.

  • What if you have more questions after reading your reviewers’ comments?  Ask if you can contact one or more of your reviewers.  He/She/They may agree to contact you and share their thoughts.

    • It happens every year: we get at least one or two books that reviewers love, but have to score lower based on our objective scoring system—they want you to succeed!

    • Although our system is designed to keep our reviewers anonymous; once the evaluation is complete, they don’t have to stay that way.

      • SOME reviewers will be happy to respond… others (perhaps even most) will not. 

      • Go ahead and ask, and we’ll see what happens.

    • Our goal is to facilitate an information-sharing and learning process—not to offer you a chance to convince your reviewer(s) how they were mistaken in their evaluation of your book.

  • Frankly, in most cases, the problems identified by reviewers can be fixed with further editing—either by the author, or by working with an editor.

  • Visit our resources page and see if someone is offering help to work with you to address any problem areas identified by your reviewers.

  • At the very least, your reviewer comments might give you food for thought.  Hopefully, the comments will help you strengthen your skills as a writer.

The Awards Banquet is over and I've won a medal... Now What?



Awards Packet & Material

If you joined us during the awards banquet, you already have your awards packet. Hopefully, you also got a great photo of the presentation of your medal, and you’ve posted it to your website.

If you were unable to join us during the banquet, we have your awards package ready to go. All we ask is that you cover our postage costs by purchasing an awards package postage option in our online store.

Promotional Material

Visit our promotional materials page to find several items that might be of use for your book promotion and marketing efforts:

Social Media

By now, your book has shown up on the MWSA website and several of our social media sites. Share, like, re-tweet, follow, forward, mingle, contribute, muse, thank, explain… you know, do all that “social media stuff!”

You should visit these various pages periodically to see if anyone has reacted to your book’s listing.

First of all, respond to any comments! These are your potential book-buying customers, so it’s a good idea to at least let them know you’re “listening.” Thank them if they make positive comments. Respond with care if they’ve got something not-so-nice to say. Let us know if someone responds inappropriately (i.e., “buy my book, it’s better than this one” or “buy my vacation home” or “visit my adult website”). If the offending post is on our MWSA website, we should be able to remove it. If it’s on social media, there’s not a lot we can do to help.

Bookmark all those places in your web browser so you can easily find your book’s listing on those various websites. Remember, MWSA copies all our book listings to Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Tumblr, and others will be added in the future.

Not sure how to find your book’s listings? Click on all those social media icons on the bottom of every one of our MWSA website’s pages. Search for your book’s listing and bookmark it.

Reviewer Comments

We’ve mentioned this before (in our “Now What?” article for awards finalists), but many of our award winners forget to ask us for their reviewer comments. Again, even if you won a gold medal, our reviewers might have found something you’d like to change/update/correct in a future edition—or perhaps they’ll have mentioned something you can use in your next book.

To get a copy of your three reviewers’ comments, email the awards directors and ask. We’d be happy to share these comments.

Pay It Forward… Please!

You have won a medal from a recognized and growing organization. Help “pay it forward” by grabbing the hand of a fellow author. Help them figure out what works and what doesn’t. Consider your efforts directed toward a goal: that you and your fellow MWSA author might stand together and receive a medal at a future awards banquet.

Consider volunteering with our organization. Sharpen your writing skills by helping out as an MWSA reviewer. Contribute an article to our website, social media, or Dispatches magazine. Help monitor and/or contribute to our various social media outlets.

Whatever you can do, however much time you have, every bit helps. We’re all better when we work together!