2017 Ruby finalists

Congratulations to our 2017 Romantic Book of the Year finalists!

The official announcement of finalists – with cover art and links! –  is here at the Booktopia blog. Please share with your friends!

The finalists are:

Long Romance

Escaping Mr. Right by Avril Tremayne
Random Romance

The Grazier’s Wife by Barbara Hannay
Penguin/Michael Joseph

The War Bride by Pamela Hart
Hachette Australia

Short Romance

Breaking Good by Madeline Ash
Tule Publishing

The Most Scandalous Ravensdale by Melanie Milburne
Harlequin Mills & Boon Sexy

Unwrapping His Convenient Fiancée by Melanie Milburne
Harlequin Mills & Boon Sexy

Romantic Elements

A Kiss from Mr. Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester
Hachette Australia

Legacy of Hunters Ridge by Sarah Barrie
Harlequin MIRA

Mackenzie Crossing by Kaye Dobbie
Harlequin MIRA

Numbered by Amy Andrews and Ros Baxter
Harlequin MIRA

Romance Novella

Santa and the Saddler by Cathryn Hein
Self-published

Swept Away by Fiona Marsden
Self-published

Unexplored by Anna Hackett
Self-published

Winners will be announced at the Love Gone Wild Conference in Brisbane in August.

In addition to the four Ruby section winners – Long Romance, Short Romance, Romance Novella and Romantic Elements – all finalists are now being read by our final judges to decide one overall Romantic Book of the Year winner.

Emerald Award and Emerald Pro finalists

Congratulations to our 2017 finalists!

Emerald Award:

Wendy Lee Davies
Janis Linford
Jennifer Raines

Emerald Pro:

P.A. Crake
Diane Demetre

Darry Fraser also made the cut for the Emerald Pro final, but her entry has been withdrawn in order to be published.

The full manuscripts will be evaluated by our final judges: Rebecca Saunders, Fiction Publisher at Hachette Australia (Emerald) and Esi Sogah, Senior Editor at Kensington Books (Emerald Pro). This is the first year we’ve had an editor as final judge for the Emerald Pro.

Well done to all who entered – the Emerald is a tough contest and the 85% mark for progression is difficult to attain. Thanks to all our volunteer reader judges, and especial kudos to our contest manager, Marnie St Clair, who’ll be departing the role – thanks for all your years of work.

First Kiss finalists

First Kiss finalists

Congratulations to our 2017 First Kiss finalists:

Nicola Bernard
Sheridan Kent
Emily Michel
Miranda Morgan
Tamar Sloan
Kym Wojtasik

Their entries will be read by our final judge, Haylee Nash of The Nash Agency.

Congratulations to everyone who entered, and thanks as usual to all our volunteer judges and our new contest manager, Heather Garside, who’s doing a fantastic job.

Valerie Parv Award Closing Date extended!

If you’ve been dithering about entering the 2017 VPA, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for!  Entries were slated to close today, but you have an extra week to get your entry in!

All the details are below.  So get your skates on and enter!

WHO CAN ENTER THE VPA CONTEST?
If you are an Aspiring, or Emerging RWA member, or non-member with no works 40K+ contracted or commercially available, then you can enter. You will be in the running for a year-long mentorship with Valerie Parv. Valerie has sold 60 novels since 1982, and had over 25 million copies of her books sold internationally.

WHAT DO I NEED TO ENTER
1,000 word synopsis, and
10,000 words of your unpublished work

More information about conditions and how to enter here:
https://romanceaustralia.com/contests/aspiring-contests/the-valerie-parv-award/

Contest Opened:  7 April 2016
Contest Closes: Monday 1 May 2017, Monday, AEST 12 midnight

I NEED MORE TIME TO FINISH MY ENTRY – WHAT TIME COUNTER ARE YOU USING?
For those of you in the non-Eastern states/territories (or overseas) I will be using this time and date counter (set to Brisbane time) on the day the contest closes:

http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/australia/brisbane

Once the counter tells me it’s midnight, I’ll flick back over to the VPA inbox, refresh the browser and then close the contest.

IMPORTANT:
Please note: you cannot ‘reserve’ a place by paying your entry fee. The only way to claim a place in the contest is to submit your entry.

I’M WORRIED ABOUT FORMATTING
If you’re concerned about formatting, then:

a)      Download a template from the website and copy and paste your entry into it:

https://romanceaustralia.com/contests/aspiring-contests/the-valerie-parv-award/

b)       Contact me ASAP  – we can work on the formatting quickly and then you can get back to finishing your entry off

LAST MINUTE ENTRANTS
Please be aware:

–          If your word count is over the 1000 word synopsis, or 10,000 word entry limit and there’s no time to send it back to you, I will trim it at 1000 or 10,000 words exactly.

–          If there are formatting issues and there’s no time to send it back to you, the issues will stand and there is the possibility of a 5-point deduction. This deduction can mean the difference between going through to the final, or not.

There’s still time to enter, you’ve got until Monday!

Good luck with your entry and if you want to know anything, just ask me.

Jo McAlister
Joint 2017 VPA Contest Manager
on behalf of Romance Writers of Australia
vpa@romanceaustralia.com

 

Spicy Bites placegetters

Congratulations to our inaugural Spicy Bites prizewinners:

Equal First prize: Kristine Charles and Kerrie Starbuck

Second prize: Wren St Claire

Third prize: Josephine Brierley

In addition, the following authors will be invited to participate in the 2017 Spicy Bites – Tattoos anthology:

Amy Rose Bennett
Dina Bridges
Audrey Fraser
Caitlyn Lynch
Annabelle McInnes
Wren St Claire (second entry)
Nardia Sheriff
Lee-Ann Wallace

Congratulations to all our entrants – the cut-off score for the anthology is difficult to achieve and all the stories were read with pleasure by our volunteer judges. Thanks as usual to all our judges, and the contest manager Trysh Nickles.

Ripping Start results

Congratulations to our Ripping Start placegetters! As judged by Lucy Bell, Editor, Pantera Press:

1st: Miranda Morgan
2nd: Tamar Sloan
3rd: Tania Holland
4th: Bree Verity
5th: Bernice Greenham
6th: Elizabeth Squire

Thanks to Lucy Bell for providing such generous feedback for our finalists, and for inviting them to submit to Pantera Press. Thanks to Cat Whelan for her time and effort in running an efficient and timely contest. And well done to all who entered!

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!

Ripping Start finalists

Congratulations to our 2017 Ripping Start finalists:

Bernice Greenham
Tania Holland
Miranda Morgan
Tamar Sloan
Elizabeth Squire
Bree Verity

Finalist entries will be evaluated by our final judge: Lucy Bell, Editor, Pantera Press. A wonderful opportunity!

Well done to all who entered—with 79 entries, the competition was tough, and we hope you find your judging feedback valuable.

Thanks as always to all our hardworking volunteer judges, and a special shout-out to our new contest manager, Cat Whelan, who’s done a fantastic job with a big contest. Entrants will start receiving their scoresheets soon.

Contest News! Changes to the Emerald…

Emerald Award

The next big contest of the year for our Aspiring and Emerging members is the Emerald, which is open 31 October – 21 November. This special reader-judged contest offers the chance to have your full manuscript evaluated by your target audience.

Our judges are keen romance readers, found in libraries, bookstores, reader organisations like ARRA, trains, offices, couches and bedrooms all over the country—and we’d all love to know what they think of our books!

The first round of the Emerald is for the first 10,000 words (increased from 5,000 for last year) of your unpublished romantic manuscript (10K+). The top 15 entries will progress to the second round, where the full manuscript is judged by our readers.

Three well-deserving finalists will win a reading by our final judge: Rebecca Saunders, Fiction Publisher, Hachette Australia. So get your entries ready!

You’ll be able to enter via a link on the temporary RWA website.

FAQ: Does your manuscript need to be finished to enter the Emerald? Well, we recommend that it is finished, or very close to – because if you make the second round (which is typically announced early in the new year) you’ll be asked to submit the full with only a few days notice.

 

CHANGES TO THE EMERALD PRO for published authors

The Emerald Pro is also open 31 October – 21 November. This is our “Emerald for published authors”, available to our Emerging and Established members who already have works commercially available.

In response to feedback from members, we’re making a few changes for this year.

Originally the Pro was designed to give entrants reader feedback without the stress and risk of publishing – but members also want publishing pathways, as well as prize money, along with the kudos of winning a hard-fought contest. So for this year:

  •  We’re having a third round of judging, by an editor/agent final judge, just like the ‘unpublished’ Emerald. So in addition to getting valuable anonymous feedback from readers, our three finalists will have their full manuscript read by our final judge – Esi Sogah, Senior Editor, Kensington Books.
  • To that end, we’ve removed the requirement that your entry be in a subgenre that you’re not published in. We know you’ll want to put your best work in front of the final judge. So enter whatever subgenre you like – as long as your entry remains unpublished and uncontracted for the duration of the contest.
  • Prize money! We’ve included prize money for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, the same as for the ‘unpublished’ Emerald.

Your first round entry is the first 10,000 words of your unpublished/uncontracted manuscript. The top 15 who make the second round will submit their full manuscript.

As for the Emerald, you’ll be able to enter the Pro via a link on the temporary RWA website.

Do you have a Selling Synopsis?

RWA’s contest season is steaming ahead, and the Selling Synopsis is now open for entries!

Writing a synopsis is many writers least favourite activity, but it is one of the most important skills to master if you want to get an editor or agent interested enough to request your full manuscript. First impressions count – and impressing an editor or agent depends on it.

This competition lets you try out your skills, get feedback and, if you make it to the final, get your synopsis seen by Joanne Grant, Senior Executive Editor, Harlequin UK.

The competition is open to all members of RWA now and closes on the 31st of October, so get writing that synopsis!  If you aren’t a member, and would like to be, you can join here.

For more details and to enter, visit our website.

 

 

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