Editors’ Choice Awards: 2023 Winners!

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by Mel Hughes, Director, Editors’ Choice Awards

Wow! From a record-breaking fifty-four entries this year, our courageous judges finally determined four finalists. From those four, we simply couldn’t narrow it down any further. Therefore, the Christian Editors Association is proud to announce the winners of the 2023 Editors’ Choice Award:

  • Creation and the Flood: A DEEP Study of Genesis 1-11, by Samantha Mero. Edited by Lora Doncea, self-published
  • Collision, by Patricia Butler. Edited by Dori Harrell, published by Redemption Press
  • Fruit Full, by Christie Thomas. Edited by Janyre Tromp, published by Kregel Publications
  • The Death Collector, by Sandra Kay Vosburgh. Edited by Susan Page Davis, published by Scrivenings Press

This award (which ran for seven years as the Excellence in Editing Award, sponsored by CEA’s Christian Editor Connection) celebrates newly released books that are superbly written, well edited, and published by a Christian publisher or self-published by a Christian author.

This year’s selections included a Bible study, a memoir, a children’s devotional, and a mystery. One was self-published and the others came from traditional or independent publishers.

There are many things that can eliminate an otherwise good book from passing this contest’s judging. In an overwhelming preponderance, it’s what editors call “PUGS”:

  • Punctuation—commas, periods, and other punctuation marks used in incorrect places or not used in places where they’re needed
  • Usage—incorrect use of words (such as “He had her in a vice-like grip” instead of “vise-like grip” or “Deception is the better part of valor”), include incorrect use of two/to/too, their/there/they’re, advise/advice, and the like.
  • Grammar—pronouns that don’t refer to the right antecedents, incorrect verb tenses, dangling modifiers, inappropriate sentence structure, etc. (unless grammatic errors are intentional in dialogue because that’s how a character in the story would talk)
  • Spelling—per Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

These seemingly minor areas may not affect the story or message. Many readers might not even notice them. But too many can affect the reader’s enjoyment of a book, however good it may otherwise be. And editors, who are trained to sniff out PUGS and other errors, are picky about the books they read in their free time. The Editors’ Choice Award celebrates books that even a professional editor can enjoy.

Editors’ Choice Awards winners revealed at annual PENCON—new contest begins June 1! christianeditorsassociation.com/eca/ Click To Tweet

One thing that makes this book contest different from others is that all of our judges are professional editors. And for the first time in the contest’s history, we’re making judges’ feedback available to contestants upon request so authors can make changes in their e-books and POD books and learn how to make their future books even better. (If you entered the contest and would like to receive your judges’ feedback, contact the ECA director at eca@christianeditorsassociation.com, providing your name and email address along with the title of the book you submitted.)

If you wrote, edited, or published a book that’s being released this year, check out the Editors’ Choice Award. We’ll be accepting submissions for next year’s contest beginning June 1!

Mel Hughes is an incurable editor. This is her second year serving the Lord through the Christian Editors Association and her first year directing the Editors’ Choice Award. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with two oversized dogs and an oversized husband. Come to think of it, Mel is oversized, too!

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