In the romance writing community, the RITA Award® (presented by Romance Writers of America®) is the award. Today, a friend asked me in an email if I had a book entered in the RITAs®. Until that moment, I’d tried to pretend that I wasn’t aware tomorrow (March 24) is the day for the announcement of finalists to be made.
Contests are funny things. Despite knowing that reading is subjective, many writers like that confirmation from the judges, especially from their peers as is the case with the RITA® contest. I’ve been honored to win two RITA Awards®, and it was exciting and humbling. I’ve had five other novels final but not win, and it’s disappointing, a real let down. On the other hand, not making the finals or winning can feel like an author’s book has been rejected by the world instead of by 5 judges. And in truth, not finaling doesn’t mean a book was "rejected." It just means there were at least three to nine books that scored higher, maybe by only one point. Not winning isn’t rejection. It could be a one point difference between the winner and the next book. The logical part of my brain knows feeling that my book was "rejected" by the judges is silly. But sometimes logic takes a backseat to emotion.
One beloved mega-bestselling author doesn’t believe that Christian authors should "compete" in this way. She avoids awards ceremonies whenever possible. Recently, BJ Hoff posted on her blog about contests, and that’s where I learned that she doesn’t enter contests either. There is a great deal of wisdom in BJ’s post. Comparing it with my above comments about disappointment from "rejection" by judges, I’m seeing more and more wisdom in BJ’s position.
This is a subject I’m going to ponder and pray about some more.