I got an email the other day announcing the first call for judges. I have always wanted to be a judge for the MN Book Awards, but never have. However, before you can even apply, some decisions have to be made.
First off, there are eight categories of awards:
Memoir & Creative Nonfiction
Novel & Short Story
Young People's Literature
According to the application, you are supposed to have "professional experience, volunteer experience, or in-depth knowledge related to the category for which you are applying".
Under those rules, some categories are immediately ruled out for me (i.e., Poetry and Minnesota). The only category I have "professional experience" with would be children's literature, having worked in the first grade for the last five years. Unfortunately, it's not the category I am most interested in.
Which category intrigues me the most? Novel & Short Story (the category I would like to win someday), or Young People's Literature (a category I read a lot. Does that count as in-depth knowledge? Probably not.) Then there's Genre Fiction, the fun stuff: mysteries, romance, sci-fi, graphic novels, fantasy. (I have very little experience or in-depth knowledge here.)
You must also decide between being a preliminary round judge and a final round judge.
What's the difference?
Big amounts of reading difference! For preliminary round judges: Depending on their assigned category, judges can expect to review 20-65+ books. That is a lot of reading! Additionally, the description also states that candidates should have experience and a comfort level with reviewing a large volume of books within a relatively short period of time. You get less than a month to do that reading? Not sure that describes me, although I could probably manage it for the Children's Literature category.
A final round judge's duties are merely to read the 4 books chosen by the preliminary judges as finalists, and then "engage in thoughtful deliberation with their panel to select one award winner." I could probably do that . . .
So, what do you think? Any advice for a wannabe judge?