Okay, it took a while, but I finally updated our FAQs. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please put it in the comments and I’ll answer them. –Anne Levy, editor.
1. Which books are eligible?
Any children’s or YA book published in English in 2007, including translated and bilingual books.
2. How do I nominate a book?
First, look through the categories listed here or in the center column. Click on a category and read the description. Got the right one? Great!
You can leave your nomination as a comment, just like on a regular blog. Click "comment."
3. How many books can I nominate?
No more than one in a category. If you list a bunch, we’ll email you and ask you to pick your favorite.
4. What if I don’t know which category it belongs in?
Make your best guess. If you’re mistaken, the organizers will do some horse swapping to find its true home.
5. If a book gets more than one nomination, does that help its chances?
6. Will the panelists really be reading all the books?
No, but we insist that all nominated books will get at least one full read by somebody. Otherwise, we have a "50 page" rule — if a book isn’t gripping by page 50, the panelist should feel free to stop reading. They don’t get paid to do this, and time and sanity are precious.
7. How will the panelists get all the books?
Publishers send the review copies to the panelists and later to the judges.
Last year, one publisher didn’t do so and panelists and judges had to hunt down the book in stores and libraries. It won anyway.
8. What about books published in November or December, after the nominations close?
If a book will carry a 2008 copyright, it must wait until the 2008 competition. If it’s carrying a 2007 copyright but isn’t bound yet, the publishers can send galleys.
9. How do I get in touch with one of the category organizers?
All the organizers are listed in the center column, under "Cybils team." Click on their names and it takes you to their blogs, where you’ll find their contact information.
10. What’s the idea behind the contest?
We wanted a literary competition that combined the freewheeling democracy of the Internet with the thoughtfulness of a book club. Cybils lets the public nominate books here on our Cybils blog, but then bloggers team up to pick the finalists and winners. The winning books must combine quality and "kid appeal."
11. What exactly is "kid appeal"?
We’ve had some lively discussions on that. Here’s our latest take. Ultimately, it’s something our panelists and judges must decide in each genre and for each age group.
12. What’s the difference between a panelist and a judge?
The panels are for Round 1, and they pick 5-7 finalists in each category. Then it goes to the judges for Round 2.
13. When do you expect to announce the winners?
We’ll announce the finalists on Jan. 1 and the winners on Feb. 14.
14. Yeah, but won’t Harry Potter win in Fantasy/SF? It has more "kid appeal" than any kid’s book in history.
Judging strictly by sales, that’s true. But there were several hundred other fantasy books published in 2007, and they deserve their shot at a literary award too. Our panelists and judges have been asked to set aside any biases for or against any book, including HP7, and they’ll be weighing both popularity and the quality of the writing.
15. So you’re saying HP7 isn’t a quality book? Isn’t that biased?
Its literary merits are something for the panelists and judges to decide. Try to relax. It’ll get its shot like every other book.
More questions? Problems? Gripes? We want the Cybils to be as transparent as possible. Email me at anne (at) bookbuds (dot) net.
–Anne Levy, Editor