It's that time of year again. The air has started to take on that Autumn feel, the school buses line the streets in the mornings, and the Cybils have put out the call for panelists. For anyone who isn't familiar with them, the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards, aka the Cybils, are a series of awards given each year by the children's book blogging community to the best children's and young adult books of the year.
This is not one of those casual blog awards that go around from time to time; the Cybils are serious business by people who are passionate about children's and YA books. We have structure and organizers and criteria (literary merit AND kid appeal) and our own internal tracking database. Nominations will open to the public from October 1 to 15, and anyone can nominate. Following that, two rounds of panelists will read the books. The round 1 panel reads the long list of nominated books to choose a shortlist of finalists. The round 2 panel reads the finalists and chooses a winner.
Being a panelist is hard work, but a lot of fun. It's great to participate in such an intense reading and discussion panel with other people who love books as much as you do. To be a panelist, you must blog about children's or YA books at least some of the time, and you must be able to commit the time to read and discuss the books. (Round 1 panelists don't have to read all the books, but should plan on reading at least 3-4 books a week from October through December).
Click here to learn how to apply to be a panelist. Submitting an application doesn't guarantee you a slot, because we always get more applicants than slots, and competition is fierce. If you're applying for one of the Fantasy and Science Fiction panels, I'll be looking for people who are widely read in the genres and show depth and breadth of knowledge about SFF. (For example, paranormal is included in the SFF category, but if that's all you read, you don't have breadth). If your blog doesn't show of your SFF geekiness to it's fullest extent, please feel free to let me know in the comments anything that would help me to fairly consider you. Pictures of you in costume at a con count for bonus points.
New this year the Cybils has added a book apps category! Applicants for panelists in this category must have an iPad. If I weren't already doing SFF, I'd be all over this category. Also, as an experiment this year, we will be allowing nominations of books published as ebooks without a corresponding print edition, with some limitations, in the YA Fiction and SFF YA categories only. So if you're applying for those two categories, be prepared to read some ebooks. (All panelists have to be willing to read ebook review copies, but in all other categories there must be a corresponding print edition). Read more about the changes here.
Let the games begin! May the odds be ever in your favor.