This morning I emailed to the organizers of the 2012 Global Ebook Awards my resignation as a 2012 Global Ebook Awards judge.
There were two ebooks in the category I chose to judge; one was only for Apple iPad or other Apple devices and not available in any other format including PDF – I don’t own an Apple and so could not judge it, and the second ebook was removed shortly after I posted a review of it on the awards site.
The organization running the awards sent judges an email requesting that only positive reviews be posted; “… We do not want negative reviews to affect the evaluation of other judges. Please hold any less than glowing reviews until after the awards. Thank you.”
The organizers of the 2012 Global Ebook Awards feel only positive reviews won’t ‘affect the evaluation of other judges’, but I believe all reviews should be seen by judges and others.
I didn’t feel I trashed the author, but felt the ebook “Would be suitable for readers age 3-5 if author used less words like hourglass, offshore, collided, trustworthy, encircling, etc.”
The ebook had wonderful illustrations and I wrote in my review “I look forward to other collaborations between the illustrator and author.”
I didn’t post my review on sites where his/her book is offered to the public, other than the awards site, so it wouldn’t influence any potential readers of this free ebook.
The author whom I judged paid a handsome fee to enter his/her work in the Global Ebook Awards for 2012. I hope he/she will enter another work next year.
What bothers me the most is the organizers of the Global Ebook Awards 2012 feel positive reviews won’t sway judges or readers, and that any less than glowing reviews should be posted only after the awards have been announced.
Such thinking by the organizers left me no option but to resign as a judge, and has diminished my respect for awards in which an author has to pay a handsome fee to enter their work.
UPDATE: March 12, 2012. Dan Poyntner, founder of Global Ebook Awards, responds on Goodreads to my post:
We listened to your concerns and changed the request to judges as follows:
“Judges who are bloggers and reviewers are encouraged to review the books they read in their blogs, on Amazon, B&N.com, Midwest Book Review and other review periodicals. Please post your reviews after the awards ceremony on August 18, 2012.
We do not want reviews to affect the evaluation of other judges.”
–Dan Poynter, founder, Global Ebook Awards.”
My reply on Goodreads to Dan:
Judges should be of independent thought and not be swayed by the opinions of others, otherwise he/she should not be a judge.
Changing the request to judges doesn’t alter the situation that you and the organizers feel the need for a complete lack of transparency during the judging process in order to protect judges from any reviews which might affect their evaluation of a work.
Posting reviews after an awards ceremony does not provide transparency. Judges, authors, and the viewing public should be treated as adults who possess the ability to think for themselves.
Here is the link to my Goodreads thread on my resignation.