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In 2016, the GCLS Board of Directors commissioned an independent review of the awards process. The Independent Review Committee ("IRC") Report was presented to the Board of Directors and GCLS Membership during the 13th Annual Conference in Chicago, IL.

The IRC proposed, and the Board has agreed to, several changes to be implemented in the 2018 Awards cycle, as follows:


  • Debut Novel will replace Debut Author, ie only novels will be eligible for this category
  • Traditional Contemporary Romance will split into three separate categories:
    • Contemporary Romance: Short Novels (40,000-70,000 words)
    • Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length Novels (70,001-85,000 words)
    • Contemporary Romance: Long Novels (85,001+ words)
  • Dramatic/General Fiction is renamed General Fiction
  • Creative Non-Fiction is renamed General Non-Fiction
  • All Novel entries must be at least 40,000 words in length


  • Nominators have the opportunity to provide a link to purchase the nominated book, this link will be added to the webpage where all nominations are listed
  • Nominators have one chance to correct poorly formatted books

Finalist / Winner

  • To the extent possible, aggregate categories so there are at least six entries in one category
  • Adopt the 25%-10% rule to determine finalists and winners based on the number of eligible nominations:
    • 25% of entries are finalists
    • 10% of entries are winners



  • Judges' names will be listed in alphabetical order at the end of the Awards Ceremony/Program (unless a judge explicitly opts out)
  • Beginning with the 2016-17 awards cycle, judges who serve for 3 consecutive years and complete all their assignments will be eligible for one free year of membership of the GCLS (currently US$30 in value)



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