Judging Stuff, Part I

The call for judges will go out very, very soon. Like, about a day or so after this is posted. But I didn't want you to just skim through all the stuff there is to know.

Please, pretty please, read this before diving into the whole judging thing.


There are two rounds of judging, and two types of judges. 



  1. Panelists are the first-round judges. You start work when
    nominations close on Oct. 15th, sifting through scores of nominated
    books in your chosen genre.   
  2. You’ll join a Yahoo! Group or similar list and use a database to keep track of what you’ve read.
  3. Although we make every effort to obtain review copies for you, you
    may have to track down some copies via interlibrary loans, or plop
    yourself on the floor of your bookstore of choice (we cannot
    reimburse you for purchases).
  4. One word: e-books. Get used to them! Publishers are getting stingy with the dead tree kind. Review copies were horribly scarce last year.
  5. We have a 50-page rule.  Each panel commits only to making sure
    every nominated book is read to at least the 50th page by at least one
    person.  This prevents wasting time on marginal books.
  6. You turn in a shortlist of 5-7 titles in late December and then collapse in an exhausted heap. This isn't an exaggeration!



  1. Judges pick up where panelists leave off.  You start work on Jan. 1, 2009 and will present us with a winner by Feb. 12th.
  2. While we make a Herculean effort to get review copies to you
    extra speedy fast, it is UP TO YOU to make sure you read EVERY SINGLE
    in a timely fashion. We have plenty of librarian
    volunteers who can familiarize you with interlibrary loans, and there’s
    always that cozy spot on the floor of your bookstore of choice. Sorry
    for the harsh tone, but it’s been an issue, y’know?
  3. You don’t need to be Super Extrovert Blabbermouth, but you should
    be willing to engage the other judges as soon as you’ve read 2 or 3 of
    the finalists. Jump in there. Go ahead.  Please.

Getting rejected:

Please don’t stop the love if we cannot find a place for you on a
panel. We’re not judging your looks. It doesn’t mean all your
blogging efforts have come to naught.

But, yes, it’s ultimately a subjective decision who to take on and
where to place them. Here are a few of the more obvious criteria, in
no real order:

  1. A demonstrated expertise in the genre;
  2. A demonstrated enthusiasm for blogging;
  3. A blog that has built a following (not necessarily a huge one — loyalty counts too);
  4. The blogger’s prestige (ie, you might be an award-winning illustrator, or have a Ph.D. in children’s poetry)

Phew! Okay, come back tomorrow for instructions on how to apply. Don't email us just yet! Wait 'til tomorrow.

Anne Levy
Cybils admin