TBIF Special: Bookkeeping and BBAW

BOOKKEEPING: The Reading Status Report (hey, check out the new badge!*)

Book reviews posted this week:
“Gone to the Dogs” with –
The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog, by John Grogan

Next review scheduled (after BBAW):
Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading, by Lizzie Skurnick (blog)

Currently reading:
The Last Bridge
, by Teri Coyne (for LibraryThing Early Reviewers) 

New to my LibraryThing “To Read” collection:
For review:
 Goldengrove: A Novel, by Francine Prose

For me, a couple of nonfiction selections –
 Mother on Fire: A True Motherf%#$@ Story About Parenting!, by Sandra Tsing Loh
 Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets, by Sudhir Venkatesh
and some fiction too –
 The Hunger Games and Catching Fire (The Second Book of The Hunger Games), by Suzanne Collins (the plan is to read and review them back to back, but I’m not promising how soon that will happen)

New additions to the Wishlist:
The Promised World, by Lisa Tucker

*The badge was made using a stock photo from stock.xchng and edited using Picnik.


A Peek Behind the Scenes of the BBAW Awards

Book Blogger Appreciation Week starts next Monday, September 14, and the excitement level among book bloggers is ramping up every day. These five days are dedicated to celebrating books and the book-blogging community that’s formed around them, and the BBAW Awards, now in their second year, are just a part of that celebration.

The 3 R’s didn’t make the shortlists for any categories in the Awards, so I’m not soliciting your votes for myself, but it really was an honor just to be nominated. (And it wasn’t a surprise not to make it to the next round, to be honest.) Thanks once again to the readers who nominated my blog for Best Writing, Most Chatty, and Most Concise, and who nominated me for Best Commentator! See who did make it to the finals, and cast your votes, at the BBAW Voting Booth, which is open now and will remain so until 11:59 PM EST tomorrow.

Disclosure: I was a member of the BBAW Awards Committee. I served on the judging panels for three award categories, including one panel of which I was chairperson. I was not a nominee for any of the awards I judged; no panelist judged an award category in which he or she was nominated. Because I did have some exposure to how things were done, I thought I’d share a little look behind the curtain.

There were hundreds of different blogs nominated across the nearly 40 award categories this year, so there had to be some way to narrow the field before opening it up for general voting. The finalists in these categories are the five blogs/bloggers who received the most nominations:

Best Challenge, Best Book, Most Altruistic Blog, Most Prolific Blogger, Best Published Author Blog, Best Community Builder, Best Meme/Carnival/Event, Best Community/Cataloging Book site, Best Blog Tour Group, Best Commentator

However, for many of the others – the genre-review-blog awards, as well as some others related to blog content – a process was necessary to determine who would get to the voting round.

Prior to opening nominations, the volunteer members of the Awards Committee worked on determining specific criteria to rate and review within the areas Quality of Writing, Originality and Diversity of Content, Audience Engagement, and Visual Aesthetic and Functionality. (Some awards had other, more specialized criteria.) Each criteria item was assigned a point value. The scoring criteria may not have always favored a particular blog’s strengths, but they applied common standards to all. Each award was assigned to a five-person judging panel.

Nominees in categories to be judged by panels were asked to submit links to five posts that they felt best fit the parameters of the category. Panel judges were asked to put aside any prior relationships with the nominees and to judge them only on the posts they submitted. Each panelist scored each of the nominated blogs for that award according to the given criteria. The five scores were averaged, and the five blogs with the highest average scores advanced to the shortlist. Every effort was made to make the process as objective as possible.

Over 80 individuals volunteered to serve on the various award panels; they’re all listed on the BBAW blog. They included seven authors, six professionals from the publishing industry, and several non-blogging book lovers in addition to book bloggers from across all niches. It was a BIG project for everyone, especially those who served on more than one panel or had a very large number of nominated blogs to review. Those who served on the committee and chaired panels had additional responsibilities, as Amy explains in a post acknowledging those volunteers:

“I know some committee members feel their integrity has been called into question and there are just absolutely no words for how sad that makes me. But I think they deserve recognition for all the work they did…

Starting in January we developed a process for the awards to try to make them more fair than last year and hammered out the awards categories. Then I hit a big snafu with developing the blog and that delayed everything. So we are definitely aware of the time crunch we were working on.

The committee tracked nominations, sent letters to the nominees, answered their questions, collected their URLs, put them into a spreadsheet, went around and collected the 5 most recent posts of blogs that didn’t respond, put together the scorebooks for their panels, sent them off, scored blogs themselves, collected their panelists’ scores, determined the shortlist and sent it to me, not to mention dealt with hundreds of e-mails flying around between us. They took time off work, worked through family emergencies, ended their vacations early, and sacrificed more than just their free time to do this. We are talking MANY MANY HOURS. There is simply, absolutely, no way any of them would have done this for a little badge they can put on their blog. And especially not if somehow threw the results to get it. They did it because they love YOU. And that’s a love you can choose to accept or reject.”

(However, no one worked harder than Amy herself, without whom there would be no BBAW at all!)

This is only the second year of BBAW and the awards and, as Amy mentioned, the process changed a bit this year. Due to its huge growth, it had to. It’s not perfected, however, and it will probably change next year too, based on things learned during this year’s process.

Presenting Lenore and The Book Smugglers have more insights from behind the scenes.
BookBlips: vote it up!

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6 comments

  1. Love that badge, Florinda!

    Amy definitely has had her hands full with BBAW. It's good that so many people stepped in to help her this year. And hopefully many more will help ease some of her burden next year.

  2. Beth F – Thanks. I know there's been some chatter this week, and I just thought I'd weigh in.

    Wendy (Literary Feline) – Glad you like the badge. It was fun making it…now I'm kind of hooked on it. I made new ones for the Weekend Review as well :-).

    I'll be curious to see how BBAW behind the scenes shakes out next year.

    Jeanne – I'm reading that for a book tour, and I'm scheduled to post the review in about a month. I'll check out your review a little closer to the time, so I'm not unduly influenced :-).

  3. Beth K – Now you and Jeanne both have me wondering how this book's going to go. I've only read one of Francine Prose's novels (A Changed Man), and it definitely wasn't a tearjerker.