The Carolyn Readers Choice Award Judge Info

Judge Application ~ Contest Scoresheet

General Information:

  • Entries will be judged in a first round and a final round.
  • Judges must read the complete book.
  • Judges will receive books in PDF format. Please make sure you can accept and read PDFs on your devices.
  • Judges may read as many books as they want and can complete during the judging period.
  • Judges will be able to choose the categories and heat levels of preference.

Please remember that while coordinators will strive to send judges entries that meet their requirements (category & heat level), entries have not been vetted beyond the entrant’s description, category selection, and heat level choice. Should a judge get an entry that he or she feels unable or unwilling to judge fairly, he or she should contact the coordinator immediately so another judge may be assigned.

Please note: A judge may receive Advanced Reader Copies. Please understand that these versions may contain errors that were corrected prior to the official publication of the book. Books SHOULD NOT be marked down for these errors that the author has no control over.

  • Each category requires 33 to 35 judges.
  • Judges may be sent entries from both their first and second choice categories.


  • Judges must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Judges must be readers only. If you are an author of any fiction genre, you are ineligible to judge.
  • If you are an aspiring author, member of a professional writers group, or involved in the publishing industry in any way, we appreciate your interest, but contest judging is for readers only.


  • First round judging: Mid-to-late January through mid-to-late March.
    • That’s approximately 60 days to read and judge all entries.
  • Final round judging: end of March to mid-April.
    • That’s three to four weeks to read and judge finalist entries.

​If, at any time, you wish to stop judging, please contact the coordinator immediately.


All lengths of stories, 10K to 110K, will compete in the following categories.

  • Erotic Romance
  • LGBTQ+ Romance
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Historical Romance
  • Contemporary Romance
  • Specialized Romance: Alternate Earth Histories, Dystopian, Futuristic, Fantasy, Time Travel, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Heat Levels:

  • Level 1: Characters do not have sex.
  • Level 2: Sex scenes fade to black; happens behind closed doors.
  • Level 3: Sex described euphemistically; no graphic terms.
  • Level 4: Very sexy, but not erotic.
  • Level 5: Graphic descriptions of sex.

If you have any questions, please contact the Carolyn coordinators.

Judge Application ~ Contest Scoresheet