judging - what should you consider before saying yes or no?
1. Time. This is the obvious one, and I'm guessing it's the first thing any potential judge thinks about. Time ended up being less of an issue for me than I'd anticipated. I had to wait several months to get a green light on a new project, so I spent all of that time reading. I would say if you know you're going to have a crazy year, don't judge.
2. The emotional toll. The weight of responsibility is enormous. An award can have a huge impact on a writer's career. You pick the best books, but at the same time you can't help but be aware that your choices could play a role in a writer's future. I'm not sure what impact awards have on the reading public, but they definitely influence editors, agents, and publishers.
3. If this is ITW, plan to receive at least 150 books. I imagine this next year it will be more like 200. maybe 250. if just the thought of this freaks you out, don't judge.
4. it's an ongoing thing. Don't expect to take a month off and deal with the contest. Plan on a good six to eight months, pace yourself, and just keep moving steadily forward. Don't watch television, don't rent movies, don't go to movies. In every spare moment, read. Always go to bed with a book. Or two. Never leave the house without a book. You'll be surprised how many books you can read in a week if you quit watching television.
5. What do you do with all of these books once you're done? I donated most of mine to the library in my hometown. They were thrilled to get them, plus it exposes the books to more readers.
6. Bonus: It's extremely educational to read so many books published within such a short span of time. You get a solid handle on the market and publishing houses
8. Would I do it again? Probably not, although I don't for a second regret my involvement in the 2005 awards. This has taken up a large part life, and as we've all seen, it can be a pretty thankless endeavor with attacks coming from everywhere. I've been subjected to hurtful accusations -- all because I dropped out of the conference when informed that my books wouldn't be available in the book room. A strictly practical, financial decision, and not "vitriol of a disgruntled individual" as someone so cruelly and publicly claimed on more than one blog. That was an especially hurtful and vicious statement coming on the heels of the time and energy I've dedicated to ITW in the past year.