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?