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 Awards Changes 

Each year we review our awards guidelines and procedures to identify areas for improvement. Each change is significant. However, there are clearly some changes that are “bigger” than others.

This page highlights those major changes.  

The following lists the changes for the 2023 Awards cycle, as well as a reminder of changes made for the 2022 awards:


Debut Novel
(Effective for 2023 Awards)

The nomination fee for Debut Novel consideration has decreased from $35 to $20. 

Humorous Novels
(Effective for 2023 Awards)

The Humorous Novel category is no longer offered. The level of interest in this category has been exceptionally low. If interest in Humorous Novels increases in the coming years, we will revisit this category. 

Audiobook Narrator Award
(Effective for 2023 Awards)

This year we have added a new award recognizing excellence in audiobook narration. Apart from being a popular and fun way to experience a story, audiobooks make our literature accessible to readers with physical disabilities and neurodiversities that make reading a physical or eBook difficult or impossible. An audiobook narrator’s work is critical to making those stories accessible and entertaining.

In this category, the Goldie will go to the narrator with the best performance, not to the author or authors of the text. Any performance released in the awards year will be eligible, even if the source material was released in a different year. There are no genre restrictions for this award, so any piece of literature with significant themes, characters, situations, or other content about women or sapphically aligned nonbinary people who are romantically and/or sexually attracted to women or sapphically aligned nonbinary people will be eligible. 

Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award
(Effective for 2023 Awards)

Beginning this year, the following changes will impact the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award.


In the past, all Ann Bannon nominations were due by December 31. Beginning this year, Ann Bannon nominations will follow the standard tiered deadlines for other categories. 

Determining Finalists

The new approach for determining finalists for the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award will follow these procedures:

  • Only novels with a minimum of 40,000 words will be eligible.
  • Novels must be entered in a specific judged fiction novel genre category (e.g., Contemporary Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Historical Fiction) to be eligible. An additional Ann Bannon entry fee ($20) will be charged.
  • Finalists will be determined by cross-novel scores on 18 “essential elements” and a 19th cross-genre item common to all novel categories. (The essential elements are questions set into six groups – Opening/Premise, Plot, Characters, Writing, Setting, and Reader Impact/Inclusivity.)
  • Cross-novel scores will be calculated by the OpenWater awards management system, verified by awards administrators, and further verified by an independent third party.
  • Ann Bannon-nominated books scoring in the top 25% on cross-novel scores will become finalists, up to a maximum number of 25 in total.
  • Only one book by the same author(s) may proceed as an Ann Bannon finalist. If two or more books authored by the same author(s) are ranked in the top 25%, the highest-ranking book shall be retained, and other books eliminated from the competition.
  • Books nominated in General Non-fiction, Non-fiction Anthologies/Collections, Poetry Anthologies/Collections, and Fiction Anthology/Collections categories are not eligible for the Ann Bannon award. 

Determining Winners

The approach for determining Ann Bannon winners will follow these procedures:

  • Beginning in 2023, voting on the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award will be open to the public. There will be no cost to voting, but a valid email address will be required. 
  • A single round of ranked-choice voting for finalists will determine Ann Bannon winners.
    • Voters will be asked for their first, second, third, fourth, and fifth choices.
    • Weighted results will be sorted from highest to lowest to determine winners.

Awarding Prizes

Since its inception, the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award has been given to the one novel scoring highest among eight finalists. Beginning in 2023, there will be three Ann Bannon winners -Gold (1st place), Silver (2nd place), and Bronze (3rd place).

Monetary Prizes for Genre Categories
(Effective for 2023 Awards)

Thanks to a generous donation from the Aronson-Besthoff Fund of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, beginning in 2023, a monetary prize of $1,000 will be awarded for the highest scorng Debut Novel as determined by the highest score on the essential elements and cross-genre item for first-time novelists.

Also beginning in 2023, $1,000 will be awarded for the highest scoring novel in genre-specific novel categories. Each winner will be the book ranking highest on the essential elements and cross-novel item, plus genre-specific statements in its category. Genre novel categories for the 2022 Goldie Awards included:  

1.     Contemporary Romance: Short Novels

2.     Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length Novels

3.     Contemporary Romance: Long Novels

4.     Erotic Novels

5.     General Fiction

6.     Historical Fiction

7.     Mystery/Thriller/Crime

8.     New Adult Fiction

9.     Paranormal/Occult/Horror

10.   Romantic Blend

11.   Science Fiction/Fantasy

12.   Young Adult Fiction

Finally, beginning in 2023, monetary prizes of $1,000 will be awarded for the highest scoring book in three “non-novel” Goldie categories:

·       Fiction Anthologies/Collections, which includes both multi-author and single-author works. Evaluation items will be combined to determine the highest-scoring book in the overall category.

·       Non-fiction, which includes general non-fiction (for books of narrative prose) and non-fiction anthologies/collections (for multi-author and single-author works). Evaluation items will be combined to determine the highest-scoring nonfiction book.

·       Poetry, which includes both multi-author anthologies and single-author poems or collections. Evaluation items will be combined to determine the highest-scoring book of poetry.

PLEASE NOTE: These monetary prizes for the top scoring book in each category do not impact the 25% - 10% Rule for awarding Goldies in each category.

  • At least six entries are required in a judged category for a GOLDIE to be awarded
  • The 25% - 10% Rule determines finalists and winners based on the number of category submissions
    • 25% of entries are finalists
    • 10% of entries are winners

Inclusive Language
(Effective for 2022 Awards)

Books should contain a main character who is a woman or nonbinary person who identifies as lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, Two-Spirit, sapphic, homo/bi/pan-romantic asexual, and/or queer. If the book contains a primary romantic arc, it should feature a woman or sapphically aligned nonbinary person paired with a woman or sapphically aligned nonbinary person. Gender and sexuality are subjective and personal, and not all nonbinary people are woman-aligned or identify as sapphic for their attraction to women. Only those characters who do should be considered. For the purposes of these awards and all our programs and activities, we assert unequivocally that trans women are women.

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