Monday, June 26, 2006

you be the judge

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.


Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks for putting the demands of judging in perspective. I can't imagine the amount of commitment all the judges made. They should all be commended.

anne frasier said...

of course i wouldn't have mentioned all of this if not for the controversy, etc. unti a few days ago my response would have been that yeah, it was a lot of work but it was also a blast.

stay_c said...

You'll be surprised how many books you can read in a week if you quit watching television.

And it's equally amazing that people don't believe this. Every month I get at least one comment or email about someone wishing they had as much time as I did to read. When I tell them that I don't watch tv, they never believe me.

anne frasier said...

stay-c, i realized i was going a week or more without turning on the tv, not even for news. it was actually very nice. i began looking forward to reading the way i used to look forward to watching television.

Shesawriter said...

I could read a heck of a lot more if I wasn't so daggone A.D.D.

Kelly Parra said...

wow, I had no idea you went through so much work and commitment with this judging. This makes it even more crazy for you being accused and being on the receiving end of hurtful claims. I'm so sorry you went through it, and hope it's been put to rest. Although I know not forgotten.

150 books--jeezoos!

ps I hardly watch much tv unless it's a rental or fave show, mostly reading. =)

anne frasier said...

tanya: that could be a problem! :O

kelly, with all you have on your plate i can see where tv would be something to avoid! thanks so much for all of your support during this craziness. ((hug))

bekbek said...

This is part of why I want TV on demand. There are maybe one or two series per year that I actually want to follow, but I don't really want to wait week by week. I want to watch them in clumps, maybe a weekend per month.

Think of the SLEEP I could get, nevermind the reading... :)

Awesome endeavor, Anne. Heroic, even.

anne said...

bekbek, that's how i like to watch shows too. i don't want to wait a week, and i don't want to have to sit through commercials.

thanks for the nice comments.