Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Top Ten Reasons Your Manuscript Didn't Final in the Golden Hearts

My post for this week is about awards season in Romancelandia. Is there anything in our little corner of the internet that evokes more angst -- and more ranting -- than RWA's Golden Heart and RITA Awards? Well, there probably is, but since the nominations were announced today ( I thought it might be a good time to summarize, in a nice, concise list, the most common reasons why manuscripts do not final in the Golden Heart.

[[The Golden Hearts, for those of you who aren't part of Romancelandia, are the awards for unpublished manuscripts, and the RITAs are for published manuscripts. Both awards are judged by RWA volunteers in the initial round, and entries are not nominated from all available books. They must be placed in the contest by their authors (or publishers) along with a fee and enough copies to go around.]]

The List:

1) You requested your cross-genre manuscript be entered in the WTF category, and there isn't one. (But if there had been, you'd have gotten first place!)

2) Your judges were looking for something fresh and different--but the same. Your book was merely fresh and different.

3) Your synopsis was heavily embellished with the phrase, "And then some stuff happens."

4) Your synopsis ends with the phrase, "And all the stuff happened because a wizard did it."

5) The dollar bills you inserted between the pages of the print-out just didn't push your judges over the edge of meh.

6) The hero and heroine did not meet until page 7, causing 3 or more judges to mark it "Wrong Category" since it should have been in Novel with Strong Romantic Elements.

7) Several of your judges had the highly contagious but little-known disorder referred to in the vernacular as "upsidedown syndrome" and wrote "6" when they really meant "9".

8) You wished for health and happiness instead of a Golden Heart nomination when you blew out your birthday candles last year.

9) There was no heroine, only two heroes.

10) Who may or may not have been named Sam and Dean Manchester.

For the 13 Reasons Why Your Book Didn't Final in the RITAs, visit Beyond the Veil!


Jody W.


  1. Great post! But did you mean Sam and Dean Winchester (of Supernatural), or am I just missing a really good joke? ;)

  2. My ms is guilty of 1, 2, sorta 6, and sorta 9 (or would that be sorta 9 and sorta 6?). Oh, and I didn't enter the GH, which could REALLY diminish the chances of finaling.

    Fun post even if it will cause some to freak : )

    Ver. word: unessms--unnecessary manuscript? ouch.

  3. LOL! I have a great book for the WTF category and it's only 128k words long.

  4. I chuckled all the way through, but not loud enough for my kid to hear. Then I got to #10 and cackled, and she scolded me for laughing abruptly and loudly. I was admonished to start with a low chuckle and let it build.

    But what can I say? You inspire sudden cackles. :)

  5. Well, Natalie, 9&10 were JUST FOR YOU, so it's a good thing you cackled!

  6. All I can say is, boy, ain't that the truth!!

  7. Now I know what I did wrong! I was sure it was some vast conspiracy against me by the 'cool kids'.

  8. Yep, I was one of those people who waited by the phone all day and never got "the call." Until I get my scores back, I'm gonna claim #2 and #6 as the reasons mine probably didn't final. That, or one of my judges has a dragon-phobia and knocked me out of the running by 1 lousy point.