Monday, May 11, 2015

Grumps and Groans, It’s contest Time! By Linda S. Glaz

We always hear grumps and groans around contest time. And there are some valid reasons.
Contests often have to rely on fairly new authors to judge because…well…a lot of folks simply don’t volunteer. Life gets in the way. And when that happens, the new judges can have difficult times learning the ropes.
It’s rather like the want ads:
Help Wanted/Hair stylist. Must be able to do all styles for men, women, and children. High end saloon. Five years experience needed.
Huh? What about all the newbies who just graduated from the school of Clip ‘em and Run? Someone has to give the new grad the opportunity.
The point is, we all need the chance to break into a new gig. Particularly when it’s so hard to find folks to volunteer and judge all of the entries.
Do we all want perfection? Yes. Are we always going to get it? Absolutely not.
So what’s a person to do? I have found that if you toss out the highest and lowest scores in a contest, you will generally come up with a fair idea where you would fall in the ranking. This doesn’t always work, but for the most part, it comes pretty close.
And one other thought? If you know you are not qualified to judge a contest, no matter how much your ego is stroked when someone asks you, don’t do it. Talk with others who have judged, try to work as a critique partner first, and then wade into the deep. But be sure you have the basics down fairly well before you decide it’s for you. Not everyone is ready.
Here’s your chance. Have you entered a contest? How did you like the experience?


Tom Threadgill said...

Yes, I've entered a contest or two. The feedback was good, but it's so subjective. What one person likes, another doesn't. Still, it's a good learning experience if you get judges who provide solid input (as opposed to just circling a number with no explanation). I've never judged one, but am considering getting more involved in a few!

Terry Burns said...

Contests are a microcosm of the submission process. Rejections occur often based on a very superficial look at the process and possibly by readers who are young and just learning their job. What we hope for is for it to be bucked up into the hands of someone who knows what they are doing and can make a decision. And no matter what the level the reading preferences of the person looking at it is of major importance. The subjective judging process if contests gives you a close look at this process with one difference. You will hear back which doesn't always happen in the publishing world.

Linda Glaz said...

Absolutely! I have to say, I really disliked one of the books up for a Pulitzer this year and do I think that author would lose any sleep if he knew? Not only no, but heck no. And rightly so, it is completely my opinion and nothing more!

Linda Glaz said...

And your writing is solid, Tom. You are also compassionate, would make you a great judge!

Diana Flegal said...

... the school of clip 'em and run - Linda you crack me up!

Such a good post with great advice. I hope many will take courage and enter a contest now.

Linda Glaz said...