This is D-Day for many writers of popular women’s fiction. The day that finalists for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award (for published novels) and Golden Heart® Award (for unpublished manuscripts) receive phone calls telling them of their finalist status. A day that, for many, is a torturous one, waiting for that phone to ring. A day that will end in disappointment for the vast majority of the almost 2400 entries.
I’ve received that RITA call seven times in my career. Twice for my historical romances and five times for my inspirational novels. But since I have been entering the RWA contest since 1985, I obviously have had more years go by without a phone call than with one.
Awards are a weird thing. I wrestle every year with whether or not to enter any contests. There are definite pros and cons. I did a guest column over on Seekerville on March 6 that details my love/hate relationship with contests.
Yes, I am hoping to get a call again this year, but in the end, it’s the story that matters, not the award. I have a great fondness for Return to Me, the novel I have entered in the Inspirational category, so I would love to see it honored. But I know the same is true of every other author and book entered in the same category. Even if all of them are wonderful, only a few (usually five to eight per category) will make it onto the finalist list. And so it goes.
Well, now I had better get to work on my next book and make this day count for something.
UPDATE: No RITA phone call this year. The good news is, this means I won’t be going to RWA in San Francisco. As much as I love that city and enjoy the RWA conference, it comes at a bad time of year for me. So in that sense, it’s a relief.