Every year, I look forward to getting my books for the RITA contest. This year, I got seven, which I had to read and judge in the space of six weeks. I added on a few more contests this year, judging the Prism contest because I wanted to see how historical paranormal was handled. I had to read three books for that one. And now, the contemporary chapter of RWA has reintroduced the Stiletto contest and I just yesterday received two more published novels to read and one unpublished entry.
Our own NEORWA chapter has a contest for unpublished authors going on as well, and I had to judge three entries there.
Even though it's a huge time commitment, I see this as my way to pay back the industry. I got a lot of help, and still am getting it, on my road to publication, and contests were the way I received valuable feedback to make my works stronger. And this way, if I'm lucky, I might find a new-to-me author in the bunch, find a book I would never have picked up otherwise.
I think I went a bit overboard this year. I understand all these contests want to gear their announcements of winners during the RWA conference, but I really wish someone would hold a contest in the fall. It would even out my reading enjoyment.
Now, back to work. I still have two books to go before I can get back to my book-in-progress, not to mention my work-in-progress!