Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gold Fever! (T-Minus 48 Hours & Counting)

It's that time of year again! The RWA Golden Heart® and RITA® Award finalist announcements happen in just a couple of days, Monday, March 26th. There's a certain synergy in the air, a low level buzz that will build to a major hum, followed by virutal fanfares as the finalists' names are announced...all 60+ in 10 categories!

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For unpublished writers, the Golden Heart Awards are HUGE!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.

We'll also be celebrating the announcements for peers and Paranormal category (which includes SFR) finalists right here, beginning Monday morning. See you then!


  1. Good luck to everyone with an entry! (I so feel like I've missed out!)

  2. It truly is one powerful, positive experience, Pippa. But probably still not quite on the same level as releasing your first novel. You'll be coming up on your own "big moment" very soon. :)

  3. Exciting!!! It feels very weird not having a manuscript in this year. But fingers crossed for those who do! Monday is my birthday, and am hoping for a big year for SFR for a present. :)

  4. What a very unselfish BD present, Sharon! :D I've really got my fingers crossed for some SFR-final-luv this year, too. I'll be scouting for possible interviewees for this blog.

    I'm sure it does feel strange not to be among the Writers-in-Waiting this year. Especially as someone who finaled in every one of the three years she entered. (Isn't there some kind of award for that?)

  5. Here's hoping for lots of big moments for us all! Ooo, the book covers look so pretty on the blog!


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