What are the Golden Heart® Awards?
For unpublished writers, the Golden Heart Awards are HUGE! This is the Academy Awards for romance writers (if the Academy Awards were held for the finished screenplays before the actual movies came out.) Just to be a finalist is a career-altering accomplishment. And it comes with a ticket to all the events, perks and festivities leading up to the awards ceremony.
What's So Great About it?
In a word, opportunity. Does it guarantee you'll get an agent or a sale? No. But when you put together a well-executed query letter that says "I'm a Golden Heart finalist" chances are you'll get a request. Works almost every time. (Sometimes agents even query you.)
There's also a special benefit package.
- Your name and photo goes up in lights on the RWA site.
- RWA prepares a press package that goes to local papers you identify.
- You receive first shot at editor and agent pitch appointments at national conference.
- You become eligible to join The Golden Network--a chapter exclusively for past and present Golden Heart finalists--and sign up for TGN retreat to rub elbows with some of the top editors and agents in the industry.
- You're invited to a champagne reception during Nationals (to be held in late July at Disneyland) where you receive your Golden Heart certificate and meet your peers face-to-face.
- You get a Golden Heart badge ribbon identifying you as a Golden Heart finalist (kudos, congrats and being treated like a rock star ensues).
- Best of all, you get to add a nifty little tag to your signature line that says: 2012 RWA Golden Heart Finalist.
And then there's the side perks--networking with your "class" which each year establishes its own identity (The 2011 Starcatchers, The 2010 Unsinkables, The 2009 Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood, etc.) and a Yahoo group to swap intel, war stories, advice and successes.
What Else is Good About it?
The RWA Golden Heart is one of the few contests where you don't need to win to get the bennies above. The point is to final. To be considered one of the top contenders to the next crop of authors. An heir apparent to the next generation of romance stars.
Winning is the icing on the cake, but for the most part, if you final you've caught the Golden Goose.
Where Can I Tune In?
The finalists will be notified beginning Monday morning. There will be much buzz on Twitter, Facebook and various blogs as the news is unleashed, but these are my three favorite sites to follow the news:
RWA Golden Heart/RITA Finalist Announcements
The official web site of Romance Writers of America where the finalists go up on the lists as they're notified. The entire list should be posted by 2 PM EST on March 26th.
Judi Fennell Golden Heart/RITA Squee Party
Author Judi Fennell has the stage all set for another big GH/RITA bash (it even comes with its own video introduction). She'll be posting the unofficial finalist announcements as the news comes in.
The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood Announcement Party
The 2009 RWA Golden Heart Finalists are the most active former class on the internet. Each year they hold a big online party to share the excitement. They've been busy posting about the Golden Heart experience all week.