As we get closer to the announcement of this year's battle theme later this evening, I wanted to do a little explaining about how the judging process will work this year, since it's a little different than last year's battle. I know this post is long, but if you're interested in volunteering to participate this year, please read through the whole thing.
I won't reveal what the theme for this year is yet (though I do know what it will be since I just finished tallying up votes). All I will say is that I can see the potential for lots and lots of nominations coming in. Probably more than last year.
For those of you who are new to the blog since last year's battle, here's the basic idea of how it works. Readers nominate their favorite books based on the theme for the battle. Nominations are tallied, etc. and organized into brackets. Last year we had 24 initial brackets. From there it works kind of like the NCAA March Madness tournament. Each bracket has two books. The judges for each bracket pick a winner between the two books, and the winner moves up to the new bracket, where it goes up against the winner from the previous bracket. If you're still a little confused about the process, check out some of the posts last year to familiarize yourself.
Now, about this year. Since we have the potential for so many nominations, I'm instituting a two round judging system. This is how it will work this year:
Nominations will open a week from today. Readers will nominate their favorite books that fit that category. Nominations will be verified to make sure they are eligible and then be placed on a nomination list.
At this point our panel of Round 1 judges will read as many of the nominated titles on the long list as they can until mid-April. Each judge will then submit a list of their top picks from the long list to form our nomination shortlist. The shortlist titles will then be divided into brackets, where the books will start battling head to head.
There will probably be 12 brackets this year, based on how many volunteers we get. Based on feedback from last years battle, each bracket will be judged in pairs this year. I would love to do it in groups of 3 just in case judges disagree, but we'll see how it goes.
So as you can see, this is going to require even more participation than last year. Just in case I don't get enough volunteers, there will be a backup theme announced that will run more like the judging last year. The call for volunteers will be posted on Friday, so if you think you'd like to participate this year, keep an eye out for that.