Ruby update

As you may have seen in the December issue of Hearts Talk, some exciting developments are happening for the 2017 Ruby, our contest for books published in 2016.

New sections! This year, we’ll be reducing the number of sections to four. Entry numbers in the Short Sexy and Short Sweet sections have reduced enough for these to be combined, to make four roughly even sections.

The 2017 sections will be: Long Romance, Short Romance, Romance Novella and Romantic Elements.

If you’re unsure where your book should go, check the Ruby rules/conditions on the website for descriptions. If your book fits more than one section, it’s your choice where it goes.

New judging! For the first time, we’ll be presenting an overall Romantic Book of the Year award, judged by a panel of industry experts. Here’s how it’ll work:

  • First round judging will run as usual
  • Finalists and winners for each section will be decided and announced in the usual way
  • All finalists will be read by our industry panel, who will select one overall winner (in addition to the section winners).

Who are the industry judges? For 2017, our panel will comprise:

  • Kat Mayo, writer, reviewer and host of the romance podcast Heart to Heart
  • Danielle Binks, writer, reviewer and chair of LoveOzYA
  • Hayley Shephard, Marketing Assistant and Promotions Coordinator at Booktopia

Many thanks to these three outstanding romance advocates for their involvement.

New finalists! Our final judges are hardworking professionals who are donating their time and effort to RWA. They will read all the finalist books in their own time. In order to keep their workload manageable, and ensure the judging is fair and timely, we’re reducing the number of finalists per section to three.

More new judging! We’ll also be introducing writer judges to the Ruby.

Our reader judges do a wonderful job and keep the contest market-relevant, but we believe RWA members have a lot to offer as judges too—and we’re keen to keep judge demographics as diverse and inclusive as we can, to ensure all subgenres and styles are catered for.

To this end, every entrant will be judging one or two books, taken from a section they haven’t entered. Information about the judging procedure will be provided when you enter. It’s easy and fun, and you’ll be given plenty of time—you might discover a new favourite!

New entry formats! Digital entries make the contest process faster, more cost-effective and easier for judges, which results in better judging for us. So if your book has a DRM-free digital edition (.pdf, .epub or .mobi), you’ll be entering that.

Print entries will be accepted only from those authors who don’t have access to a usable digital edition.

Usable means you need to be able to upload your ebook to our entry system, and we need to be able to email your ebook to judges. For instance, if your ebook edition has DRM—and hence can’t be shared—you’ll need to enter print.

Also, if your only ebook edition is unsatisfactory for some reason—for instance, it’s an advance copy that’s significantly different from the published book, or it has a watermark that makes it hard for judges to read—you can still enter print. That’s okay. We won’t insist on digital if there are real problems. We’re just trying to keep as many entries digital as we can.

As for last year, you’ll be entering online. There’s a limit of 3 entries per person (that’s per human being, not per pseudonym) and your entries can go in any section/s you like.

New dates! In order to accommodate the extra judging round, we’re opening and closing for entries earlier than before. Remember—if you’re entering print copies (see above) your books must be postmarked by the closing date.

Opening: 16 December 2016

Closing: 16 January 2017

Full rules/conditions will be available soon on the RWA website—please read them carefully—but as always, contact the contest managers with any queries regarding the contest rules or entry process. If you have special difficulties, we can make arrangements —don’t be afraid to ask!

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