Scoring Criteria


  • Scoring will be based on a number system, with 0 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. Each story will receive a number in each scoring category (see the categories below) for a possible total of 50.
  • Scores can include half values. For example 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, and 4.5
  • Scores are due by September 1st 2024.
  • The top 3 finalists in each category will be announced by the end of September. The winner of each category will be announced in October.

In the Event of a Tie

  • If 2 or more entries acquire the same top score each of those entries will be given to additional judges who have not yet read those entries.
  • These second round scores will determine the winner.

 Scoring Categories

Please note: Judges and authors will be given a more comprehensive scoring guide with each category and what to look for in each story.

  1. Editing/grammar
  2. Atmosphere/Setting/Descriptive Writing
  3. World Building
  4. Heroine
  5. Hero
  6. Secondary Characters
  7. Plot
  8. Conflict/Resolution
  9. Pacing
  10. Romance (Love scenes and romantic tension and compatibility)

In the Event of a DNF

If a judge is struggling with a story and can not finish it, they can give it a DNF score. A judge must make a solid effort to finish the story. However, if they can’t, please see the following DNF guidelines.

A DNF score is permitted if a story fits the following circumstances:

  • There are too many grammar/spelling/mechanical errors to continue reading.
  • There are too many craft errors and the judge feels the book was not ready to be published.
  • There is excessive and unnecessary head hopping that makes the book unreadable. Please note, this does not mean POV shifts.
A DNF score is NOT permitted if the complaint is one of the following circumstances:
  • The book is not the type of story the judge typically reads.
  • It is written in more or less POVs than the judge personally prefers.
  • It is written in the POV (third or first) that is not the judge’s personal preference.
  • The judge doesn’t like the book, plot or subject matter.
  • The judge doesn’t like the characters.
  • The judge finds the book boring.
  • The judge doesn’t like the pacing.
  • The judge thinks the book is not in the correct category.
  • The judge feels the book deserves a low score and therefore DNF.
  • The judge does not like the language and/or dialogue used in the story.
  • The judge does not like the tropes in the story.
  • The judge doesn’t like the heat level of the love scenes.
In the event that a judge finds the book content triggering:
Every effort will be made to match judges with books they will enjoy. On the judging form Bookstagrammers will be able to indicate if they have any triggers. This will be taken into account. Authors will be required to list all triggers for the book on the sign up form.
In the event that a judge does end up with a book they find triggering, they are encouraged to stop reading and notify the contest organizers immediately. They will be assigned a new book, and the one they stopped reading will be passed onto another judge for scoring.
If a story received 2 DNF scores it will be disqualified.