Saturday, October 20, 2007

Golden Heart

Sponsored by RWA

For: Unpublished writers

Contemporary Series Romance
Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure
Contemporary Single Title Romance
Historical Romance
Inspirational Romance
Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Paranormal Romance
Regency Historical Romance
Romantic Suspense
Young Adult Romance
The final round of the contest is judged by acquiring editors from romance publishing houses.

Prizes: The winners of the Golden Heart contest receive a gold, heart-shaped necklace in recognition of their achievement.

Deadlines: The Golden Heart contest is open for entries from September 20th - November 15th, 2007, or until the contest reaches its maximum 1,200 entries.

Format: partial manuscripts hard copy, full manuscript either hard copy or on CD

For more information:

Tina here: The Golden Heart is the Oscar of unpublished writing. One year I did research on this contest and did you know, Susan Elizabeth Philips, Jayne Ann Krentz, Suzanne Brockmann never finaled in the GH? So while it may garner you a coveted spot on the finalist or winner press release, it doesn't guarantee publication. On the flip side there is such a buzz of excitement the last weekend in March as everyone waits for the calls to go out. Wearing your GH pin to Nationals is so much fun. The entire experience is not to be missed.

On a realistic note: there is no feedback on this contest. This is the place to send your manuscript after it has been the contest route and you are getting back positive information. This is NOT the place for a newbies with a virgin manuscript that has not been critiqued. Like all contests it's subjective. I finaled with a manuscript that was also entered two years prior with no results. What changed? The judges. The manuscript had not been altered at all. Like anything to do with writing there is a mix of magic, talent and being in the right place at the right time.

Julie here: Let's face it, for prepubs, the Golden Heart is THE romance contest to enter. I mean, really, just knowing its "published" counterpart is the Rita, with finalist names such as Nora Roberts and Jennifer Crusie, was enough for me to part with my $50 entry fee. Although you receive virtually NO feedback other than a score, I thought the Golden Heart was so worth it! As a finalist, not only do you connect with some incredible friends, but just the prestige of being a GH finalist gives you a leg up in queries to agents and publishers. In fact, I credit the Golden Heart (and all those many RWA chapter contests I entered that helped whip me into shape) with eventually landing me a top agent and a subsequent book contract. And, if you do not final, you can always contact RWA AFTER the Golden Heart Awards in July to request information such as how many entries were in your category and where you placed. I did that in 2003 and found out that I had missed finaling by only two slots, which was a HUGE encouragement and incentive for me to keep writing and entering, which I did. And now--pinch me--I'm plunking my money down for the Rita!


  1. Great lineup of contests, Camy! And amen, Tina! You said it all when you stated the GH is "a mix of magic, talent and being in the right place at the right time." But, oh that magic, whether you final or not, is truly invigorating! Not just in the shimmer of excitement leading up to the finalist announcements, but in the heart connection with other wonderful writers who are also reaching for that shiny brass ring (or in this case, a golden heart). No other contest creates the buzz and excitement that the GH does--nor the motivation to make sure that manuscript is the best it can be.

  2. Interesting about some big-time writers not being Golden Heart finalists, Tina, though I've heard Jayne Ann Krentz doesn't enter contests so that may be the reason in her case.

  3. Finalling in the GH is a wonderful experience. Both years I finalled, someone set up an unofficial yahoogroup for finalists. It was so much fun to chat with the other GH'ers. And, what's even better, if it's your first time to final, there's bound to be a few there who know the ropes and can answer all your questions.

  4. Thanks for the list of contests. It helps to have them all in one place. I'm looking forward to reading more news.

  5. Check to see who -did- win a Golden Heart:

    Lots of very familiar names there--including Pat Gaffney, Jill Marie Landis, Christina Dodd and a whole bunch more...

  6. You are right. I have checked that list and often. Many authors who I read have finaled in the GH. It is very encouraging.

  7. Tina, great advice about skipping the GH if you're fairly new and raw...

    A few smaller contests can garner newer authors the info they need, some feedback, (good and bad), a mix of reactions and the realization of how important it is to transfer what's in your head to the manuscript.

    Discerning readers want to know "why"....

    Why couldn't he love her?

    Why couldn't she stay?

    Why did her father treat her that way?

    Why did his first wife leave?

    It's not enough to just say what happens, part of the artistic flair is showing the 'why' of how it happens/happened.

    Contests can be a great tool at assessing where our strengths and weaknesses lie within those guidelines.

    Camy, you're memories of early contests made me laugh and cringe! So universal.

    If we all could start out by being as good as we THINK we are!!!!!!!!!