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Heather Lewis
08-25-2006, 09:05 PM
Hi all,

I have been looking at the RWA Golden Heart contest and wondering if I should try it out, as I have a manuscript that would be eligible. I've been reading about it on the Net, and people seem to have a generally favourable opinion about it. The application forms aren't available yet, and I'm wondering what the entry fees are. Does anyone know?

I'm also looking at joining RWA. Romance is a new genre for me (writing wise) so it sounds like it would be helpful to join. Any thoughts? The reports on the over-strong Republican theme at a recent convention were a little off-putting. I'm not really interested in mixing politics with my writing business.

Thanks in advance,
MelRandall

Susan Gable
08-25-2006, 10:14 PM
Hi all,

I have been looking at the RWA Golden Heart contest and wondering if I should try it out, as I have a manuscript that would be eligible. I've been reading about it on the Net, and people seem to have a generally favourable opinion about it. The application forms aren't available yet, and I'm wondering what the entry fees are. Does anyone know?

I'm also looking at joining RWA. Romance is a new genre for me (writing wise) so it sounds like it would be helpful to join. Any thoughts? The reports on the over-strong Republican theme at a recent convention were a little off-putting. I'm not really interested in mixing politics with my writing business.

Thanks in advance,
MelRandall

Good questions, Mel. I'm so glad to see you're asking questions and doing research. That's always a good thing!

Golden Heart entry fees run around $50, if memory serves. That's IF you're an RWA member. Non-members can enter, but if I also recall correctly, the cost for a non-member is actually equal to the membership fee plus the entry cost for a member. So, you're best served to just go ahead and join, then pay the membership entry fee.

The Golden Heart is the most prestigious contest for unpublished romance authors. If you final in it, you can get some great attention from agents and from editors. It's a great credential. HOWEVER, you must be aware that you get no feedback from this contest, so if you're looking for feedback, this is NOT the contest to enter.

I generally recommend entering a few other contests first before you plunge into the Golden Heart, but time is passing rather quickly, so you might not be able to do that at this point.

As to the "politics" of RWA - well, let's just say that sometimes mistakes are made, like they are in any organization. That one awards show (in Reno) is one strong example. But those things happen. Overall, I would not say that the membership or leadership in RWA (leadership IS elected by the membership, and it changes every year) is strongly Republican, or Democratic. It's as varied as any writers' group. (To see how varied writers are in their political leanings, just mosey over to the Take It Outside area of this board. <G> You'll see writers of all types of political beliefs shouting it out over there. <G>)

RWA has a LOT to offer aspiring romance writers, and I think you'd be well-served to join. RWA offers so much in the way of education and help to romance writers of all levels. We have an amazing publication that's released every month. We have all sorts of email loops where you can ask questions and gain the benefit of tapping those who've already published. (Though, you can do that here, too. But the RWA lists have larger audiences.) If there's no local chapter near you, there's an internet based chapter. (Not that you HAVE to join a local chapter of any kind, because you don't.)

If you want to write romance, I strongly recommend joining. :)

Susan G.

Cathy C
08-25-2006, 10:35 PM
Can't think of anything to add to Susan's excellent post, so I'll just say, "What she said." :D

JanDarby
08-25-2006, 11:42 PM
I agree -- what Susan said.

I'd particularly emphasize the advice about not entering it if you haven't gotten some other feedback so you're sure it's really up to scratch and can compete with the best of the best.

Contests are a bit of a crap shoot, and so subjective, just like submitting to agents or editors, just like readers choosing which books they like best, and you can't really predict whether a technically well-done and perfectly publishable book is going to be assigned to a judge or two who happen to just not click with your writing and who therefore gives it a low number, tossing you out of the finals. OTOH, regardless of the judge assignment, if the manuscript is not up to a basic level of quality, you don't have any chance of finaling, so it's a waste of money.

Also, keep in mind that there are substantial costs beyond the entry fee, including the cost of printing (or copying) the multiple copies of the entry and the postage to get it there, and so on. It does add up, probably closer to a total of a hundred bucks per entry. And, as noted, you get zero feedback beyond a raw number (if they even send that out any longer; I don't recall). So, early in one's career, I would recommend entering one of the better-known regional contests, where you'll get feedback and a feeling for where your writing stands in comparison with other entries. Moonlight & Magnolias (The Maggies) is one that jumps to mind, and there are plenty more, although the names elude me at the moment.

Don't get me wrong. I adore RWA, and I defend the group whenever anyone tries to throw the baby out with the bathwater (over the assorted kerfuffles which were the result of individuals, not the group as a whole, doing something the rest of the group doesn't support). I also think that the Golden Heart can be an extraordinary tool, both for giving writers a deadline to work toward, and in terms of gaining agent/editor recognition, but only at the right point in her career.

JD

tarra74
08-26-2006, 01:32 AM
Over the past couple of days I have been thinking about rejoining RWA again, but first I need wait until I pay off some bills and to pay back my mom for the brand new laptop she help me get. I am hoping to have my membership back by next year and that I can work up enough courage to enter Golden Heart. I have a lot of work to do on my writing to do between now and then though. I have entered another contest two years in a row. Last year I was told I needed to work on tightening up my writing. This year I was told my writing is tight and that I have the technique down. I guess that is proof that my writing is improving. I am told the only thing I need to work on now is my grammar and then my chances of getting published with a major publisher (I am hoping for Harlequin whe it happens).

Heather Lewis
08-26-2006, 06:57 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I'll give RWA a shot, and I'll keep thinking about the contest and do some research on other options. The thing that appealed about the Golden Heart was the fact that the judges read the whole manuscript...

Have a good weekend everybody!
MelRandall

Susan Gable
08-26-2006, 07:03 PM
Thanks for the feedback. I'll give RWA a shot, and I'll keep thinking about the contest and do some research on other options. The thing that appealed about the Golden Heart was the fact that the judges read the whole manuscript...

Have a good weekend everybody!
MelRandall

No, the judges do not read the whole ms. You have to submit the whole ms to prove that it's completed. Also, it makes it so that if you final, and the editor judge wants to see the full, she can easily get her hands on it.

Actual entries are only a portion of the ms. And I don't remember exactly what anymore. <G> But you send in like 5 entry copies, and one copy of the full ms. (The full can be submitted on disk.)

Susan G.

Heather Lewis
08-26-2006, 07:09 PM
No, the judges do not read the whole ms. You have to submit the whole ms to prove that it's completed. Also, it makes it so that if you final, and the editor judge wants to see the full, she can easily get her hands on it.

Actual entries are only a portion of the ms. And I don't remember exactly what anymore. <G> But you send in like 5 entry copies, and one copy of the full ms. (The full can be submitted on disk.)
OH! Humph. Okay.

I guess I'll wait until the guidelines are posted before I decide what to do!

Thanks for clarifying.

MelRandall

brainstorm77
08-27-2006, 02:44 AM
RWA... could someone give me a link if there is one?

Marlys
08-27-2006, 02:51 AM
RWA (http://rwanational.org/)

Golden Heart/Rita Contests
(http://www.rwanational.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=RWA&WebKey=2398bec9-5ce8-4d60-94b0-dcb91ebba7f1)

HaleyDaulton
09-22-2006, 06:31 PM
So, early in one's career, I would recommend entering one of the better-known regional contests, where you'll get feedback and a feeling for where your writing stands in comparison with other entries. Moonlight & Magnolias (The Maggies) is one that jumps to mind, and there are plenty more, although the names elude me at the moment. Is there a list somewhere of the reputable contests? Or can someone offer some criteria as to what to look for? I'd hate to waste effort/money on those that offer no value.

Susan Gable
09-22-2006, 07:01 PM
Is there a list somewhere of the reputable contests? Or can someone offer some criteria as to what to look for? I'd hate to waste effort/money on those that offer no value.

Well, most of the ones spondered by RWA chapters are "reputible" but some have better reputations than others. You can get a list of contests every month in the RWR, but you have to be an RWA member to be receiving the RWR.

What you should look for depends on what your goals are in entering. For the new writer, entering is often a way of gaining feedback on their work and learning things. In that case, you want a contest that encourages the judges to write comments on the ms and entry form. (And know that just because it's encouraged doesn't mean every judge will actually do so.)

The more advanced writer may be trying to get her ms in front of a particular agent or editor, in which case you want to carefully check out who is doing the final round judging. (Of course, you have to actually make the final round for this to work, but it's a valid contest goal, especially for someone who's work is fairly polished.)

Above all, please understand just what a CRAP SHOOT any contest is. It all comes down to who you end up with as a judge. It's all very subjective. What one person loves, another one hates.

Susan G.

NCwriter
09-22-2006, 07:59 PM
There are a lot of websites where you can find lists of contests.

Hereís one:

http://www.catauniversity.com/html/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewforum&f=5&sid=52ee0d6d28383889a551e19753090593 (http://www.catauniversity.com/html/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewforum&f=5&sid=52ee0d6d28383889a551e19753090593)

Susan is 100% correct about the 'crap shoot' Iíve have ms that have finaled in contests while the same exact ms has bombed in other contests.