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Sep 12

Think About Entering RWA’s Golden Heart Contest, Part II

Today we’ll think about some of the reasons you may want to want to wait another year before entering the Golden Heart Contest. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Romance Writer’s of America’s Golden Heart Contest is one of the biggest contests for yet-to-be published authors. It’s also one of the most expensive contests to enter. Here are a few things you might want to think over before plunking down your $50.00. 

T’s Top 9 Reasons NOT TO Enter The Golden Heart

1. Do Not Enter the GH If You’re Still a Contest Virgin

RWA’s GH contest doesn’t offer any written feedback from the contest judges. You get a number. That’s all. Which is great if you happen to have all high numbers and become a finalist, but not much help with making your manuscript better. My advice is to enter some of the chapter sponsored contests which use detailed judging sheets. Most contests let you preview their judging sheets on-line. Use some of these contests and their excellent judging before jumping into the Golden Heart.

2. Do Not Enter the GH If You Want Feedback on Your Manuscript

See above.

3. Do Not Enter the GH If Your Manuscript is a Category Bender

Yesterday I mentioned the importance of knowing the rules RWA has established for contest categories. But sometimes we’ve written a great manuscript that pushes the envelope. If you’ve written a time-travel, spy thriller set on the romance planet Ulovus, you could sell the book and be on the lists before you’ll do well in the GH. You just need to find the right contest for your manuscript. 

4. Do Not Enter the GH If You Can’t Handle the Hard Numbers

Without written feedback, those low number HURT!

5. Do Not Enter the GH If You’re Certain This Is The Key to Publication

Unfortunately, a win or a final in this or any contest doesn’t guarantee publication. But doing well in this contest does provide many opportunities for your work. Just keep in mind that there are no guarantees and don’t let it get you down.

6. Don’t Enter Expecting the Final Judge to Fall in Love With Your Work

Sometime the editor who is the final judge will call RWA and request the manuscript. A few of my fellow finalists have sold their first manuscript this way. But by the same token, some of the winners haven’t sold yet. You never know, but chances are you won’t hear from your final judge.

7. Don’t Enter Expecting This Contest to Change Your Life

Final, win or sell, you are still you. A good thing to keep in mind no matter what is going on.

8. Don’t Expect the GH Window of Opportunity to Remain Open Forever

Take advantage of the NOW, and query, query, query while you’re hot!

9. Don’t Enter the GH if You’re Camera Shy

This is a minor detail, but still…. If you final, you’ll be required to send in a photo for use in the “Romance Writers Report” and during the conference. Make the most of this and get the best photographs you can. These will be useful on your website and for future publicity opportunities. You don’t need to break the bank, but do go with a classic, professional look. 

Well, that’s all the advice I have on this one!  Good luck!

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