Why Authors of Color Should Enter the RITA Awards

2 Aug

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As you may have heard, Romance Writers of America (RWA) just announced winners of the RITA contest a few weeks ago. YOU could have been one of those winners. Have you considered entering the RITA Awards?

What are the RITAs?
The RITA Award is the most prominent award given throughout the genre of romance fiction. The purpose of the RITA Award is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published novels and novellas.

Why is this significant to me?
Historically, RITA entries submitted by authors of color have been underrepresented. There are many talented authors of color who either may not know they are eligible to participate in the RITA Awards, or they may not be aware that the awards exist.

Do I have to be a member of RWA to enter?
No, however members are given first consideration. Also, non-members pay a higher entry fee. The entry fee for RWA members is $50 per entry; the entry fee for non-members is $170 per entry.

Can self-published authors enter?
Absolutely. As long as your novel or novella has an original publication date of 2016, you can enter it into the RITA Awards. For a detailed list of contest rules, click here.

How do I enter?
The RITA Award opens for entries each fall. A novel may be entered either by the author or by the book’s publisher in one of the contest categories. Entrants must supply five printed books by the posted deadline (5 p.m. CT, November 21, 2016).

How are the entries judged?
Each title is judged by five separate judges during the preliminary round. After the first round of judging by published romance authors, entries that meet the qualifications to become a finalist advance to the final round. Finalists are announced in mid-March. Winners are announced at the annual award ceremony, held on the last day of RWA’s National Conference, which is normally held in July.

NOTE: If you don’t have an entry to submit, consider volunteering as a judge for the RITAs. Not only are authors of color underrepresented in the RITA Awards, so are judges of color.

What categories are covered?

Current award categories are:
• Contemporary Romance: Long
• Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length
• Contemporary Romance: Short
• Erotic Romance
• Historical Romance: Long
• Historical Romance: Short
• Paranormal Romance
• Romance Novella
• Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements
• Romantic Suspense
• Young Adult Romance
• Best First Book
• Provisional Category (Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance)

What’s in it for me?
Bragging rights. This is a wonderful accolade to add to your author resume, and it gives you immense credibility with romance agents, editors, and publishers. In addition, winners receive a gold statuette. Book editors receive a plaque.

Now, it’s your turn to submit to the RITAs! For more information, visit RWA.org. You can also email your questions to contests@rwa.org.

Wait! What if I’m not a published author?
No problem. RWA also hosts the Golden Heart Awards, which promotes excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding manuscripts written by members who have not published a novel or novella.

Golden Heart winners receive a gold, heart-shaped necklace in recognition of their achievements at the RWA National conference.

For more info, visit.
https://www.rwa.org/page/golden_heart

Good luck!

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4 Responses to “Why Authors of Color Should Enter the RITA Awards”

  1. bkmaniac August 2, 2016 at 10:15 am #

    Great Information.. and you are right everyone does not know about it. Sharing now 🙂

    • chantarandblog August 2, 2016 at 11:23 am #

      Thanks for helping to spread the word!

      • chantarandblog August 2, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

        Thanks for the correction, Courtney. That’s good info to have!

  2. Courtney Milan August 2, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

    Chanta, great post.

    Only one tiny thing: Books published in 2016, whether in December or another month, must be entered in this year’s contest. There is no separate provision in the contest for December books. If you anticipate a book being published in December, you need to enter your book when the contest opens, and send print copies as soon as possible, but before January 2nd.

    Some publishers who have books publish at the end of December will list 2017 as the copyright date. If that’s the case, you can enter the book in the 2017 contest. Otherwise, enter December books in 2016.

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