Think About Entering RWA’s Golden Heart Contest

You know it’s almost fall when the kids head off to school and yet-to-be published writers begin to think about whether to enter Romance Writer’s of America’s Golden Heart Contest. This is the premier contest for us. If you final in this prestigious contest, your work has risen to top of about 2,200 entries. After being judged by your peers, your partial manuscript then goes to the final judge–an editor who can buy your work if he/she likes it. The Golden Heart Contest is a great opportunity.

But you need to make a few personal decisions before you send in your registration fee, and to help you make those decisions, I’ve come up with two T’s Top 10 Lists. Today I’ll give the reasons to enter. Check them out and see what you think.

Come back tomorrow and find out why you might want to wait. 

By the way, I’ll be entering again this year with a new manuscript I’m in love with! I’m hoping for final number 4 and a sale this year!

T’s Top 10 Reasons TO ENTER the GH


1. You’ve gotten feedback from other contests, made revisions

The Golden Heart judges give you a number score only. I suggest entering contests that give you an in-depth critique and concrete suggestions for improvement. Enter several contests to compare and contrast comments–if something comes up several times, FIX IT.

2.Your manuscript is complete and error free

One of the rules of the GH contest is to submit a completed manuscript, so finish it! And of course, you always want to present your best work. Always!

3.You know which contest category to enter

Very important! Study the RWA definitions available on the website ( or in the Romance Writers Report magazine. These are the standards you’ll be judged by. Don’t blow your chance by entering the wrong category.


4. Your GH class is an important network of support and publicity

The Wet Noodle Posse, the group of finalists in 2003, changed forever the value of the GH class by establishing one of the first group blogs. Besides a communication loop, this on-line presence is great publicity for published and yet-to-be published writers. Check out the Posse at Coming soon from MY class of 2007 is, where I’ll be a regular contributor. My 2006 class’s group blog is You can bet the Banditas are always rockin’.

5. The Golden Network offers unique support and education

JOIN the special interest RWA chapter for GH finalists as soon as you get your invitation.It’s always a great party at the conference and The Golden Network retreat is an outstanding opportunity for education and networking with industry professionals. This year’s retreat was Speed Dating–three minutes to pitch your story to editors and agents. What a great opportunity!


7.Wear your Golden Heart and your ribbon on your badge and be ready to talk 

Plan to enter the RWA National conference if you are finalist. When you wear that pink ribbon as a finalist, everyone will be congratulating you, including editors and agents. If they happen to ask about your manuscript have your 30 second TV Guide pitch ready. Check you TV Guide description for your favorite show. Copy that style.

8.Take advantage of early registration for editor and agent appointment

You’re GOLD! You get to register first and usually have a one-on-one appointment. Be prepared, be confident, hit the important points. Don’t just pitch, ask questions and listen.


10. Enjoy and treasure the validation of your peers. Soak it all in and have fun! 

Good luck!

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