Archive for March 26th, 2009

The Day After

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Wow, what a rush yesterday, watching all those announcements come in. If you haven’t had a gander at the listing of RITA and Golden Heart finalists for 2009 yet, please see yesterday’s post. I linked to as many websites as I could find. Some of these authors have fantastic sites. Check ’em out!

The official list of RITA and Golden Heart finalists is now up at the RWA website.

If you’re a Golden Heart finalist and haven’t yet heard that double finalist Elizabeth Bemis has started up a Yahoo group that you definitely want to join, here’s the info:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/2009-GH-Finalists/

Do join the loop! It’s not only great to celebrate with your fellow finalists, but the groups are great for discussing promotion, how to do your picture for the ceremony, what you’re wearing, who you’re getting an appointment with at National now that you have a fantastic reason to attend—all that good stuff.  

Now, for those of you who didn’t final…take heart! I’m especially talking about the Golden Heart contest. This was the second year I entered the RITA as Penny. I didn’t final, and so I can tell you from my own experience that not finaling in the RITA doesn’t feel anywhere near as earth-shattering as not finaling in the Golden Heart. Of course, when you enter the RITA, you’re already published. The RITA is icing on the cake, can be a great carrot to dangle to editors and agents (sometimes your own editor and even your current publishing house, let’s say, if you’re not getting the, um, attention there that you deserve). And, let’s face it, finaling is a heckuva lot of fun. However, when you enter the Golden Heart, often you can feel like it’s THE way to get published. If you don’t final, you’ve lost your chance.

I’m here to tell you that you haven’t lost your chance. Far from it. While many Golden Heart finalists go on to sell either their GH manuscript or another manuscript, I’m pretty sure just as many don’t. Okay, I don’t have stats, but several finalists final for several years before they sell. Finaling isn’t a sure-thing ticket to a contract. That said, it’s a heckuva lot of fun, too. I do believe it does open doors in query letters to editors and agents. It might not get your book sold, but it might get it a closer look, or even a request that otherwise might not come your way.

If you didn’t final this year, keep working on your writing and enter again next year! Believe in yourself and don’t give up. I entered the Golden Heart for several years before finaling. In fact, I finaled the last year I was eligible to enter (oddly, due to an unforeseen series of circumstances, I’m still waiting to hear if that manuscript sells—two years later). Two years before I finaled, I wrote an article for the Q&A page of my website called Why Keep Entering the Golden Heart. Wanna check it out? Here’s the handy link.

Oh, before I forget, someone asked me in private email why there are 8 or 9 finalists in some categories and only 3 in others. Don’t quote me, I don’t have the official word, but, as far as I know, the way it works is that each category needs a minimum of 25 entries to go ahead. If the category receives less than 25 entries, it’s cancelled for that year. So, if you see only 3 finalists in a category, that means the category had over 25 entries, but fewer than 40. The finalists are supposed to represent, I do believe, the top 10% of entrants in each category. If a category winds up with 9 finalists, guess what? That’s the most competitive category of either RITA or Golden Heart, because 9 finalists means 90 or more writers entered that category alone! Phew!

Again, congratulations to all the finalists. If I’ve screwed up the 10% thingie (and you know for sure that I have; you’re not just saying it to make me look bad, LOL), please let me know. And, if anyone has other questions about the contests, if I feel I can answer them, I will surely attempt to do so.