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.

 

 

Rip into the Ripping Start!

The Ripping Start contest is now open for entries!

The Ripping Start is, fittingly, the first in our annual contest season.  It is open to Romance Writers of Australia members in the Aspiring and Emerging categories.  If you’re not a member and would like to enter, you can always join!   You can find membership information and join on our website.

Why should YOU enter The Ripping Start?  Three awesome reasons:

1) It’s the first 1500 words of your unpublished manuscript, plus a 300-word summary of the whole story. Easy!

2) Get valuable anonymous feedback from your fellow RWA writers. Three scoresheets filled with comments. Who wouldn’t want that?

3) The top 6 entries will be read by our fabulous final judge: editor Lucy Bell,from Aussie publisher Pantera Press. Lucy is on the lookout for new and emerging romance writers, so don’t miss this amazing opportunity.

Contest is open until 26 September. Get your Ripping Start on 🙂

Check the website for details.

Valerie Parv Award Finalists

Congratulations to our 2016 Valerie Parv Award finalists:

Raewyn Bright

Samara Kelly

Jess Langhorne

Jodie Morphett

Chris Weston

Samantha Wicks

Well done to all who entered, especially to Aspiring members for whom this might be their very first contest. We hope your judging feedback is useful in improving and revising your manuscript!

The finalist entries will be read and evaluated by bestselling author and writing coach Valerie Parv AM.

Thanks to all our volunteer judges, and the contest manager, Jo McAlister.

Ruby Finalists!

Every year at RWA, we invite romance writers with books published in the previous year to enter the Ruby – RWA’s Romantic Book of the Year contest.   The final results are announced at the Gala Dinner at our annual conference in August (which is in Adelaide this year).  But for now, just to whet your appetite, we are delighted to announce the finalists in the five categories.  We are also delighted to point out that this year, we have included the novella category in its rightful place, in the Ruby list.

Today, to spread the love as quickly as possible, we’re just publishing the list, but over the next week, we’ll devote a day to each of the categories and share the covers and more information about these wonderful finalists – so watch this space for additions to your TBR list!

Long Romance

  • Rise by Karina Bliss – self-published
  • The Spring Bride by Anne Gracie – Berkley/Penguin Random House
  • Kakadu Sunset by Annie Seaton – Pan Macmillan Australia
  • Lethal in Love by Michelle Somers – Random House Australia

Romantic Elements

  • A Dangerous Arrangement by Lee Christine – Escape Publishing
  • The Patterson Girls by Rachael Johns – Harlequin MIRA
  • Pay The Piper by Mary Brock Jones – self-published
  • Between the Vines by Tricia Stringer – Harlequin MIRA

Short Sexy

  • Tribal Law by Shannon Curtis – Australian Romance Readers Association
  • The Wedding Bargain by Yvonne Lindsay – Harlequin Desire
  • Pretend It’s Love by Stefanie London – Entangled Lovestruck
  • Never Surrender by Rosie Miles – Entangled Ignite
  • Seducing His Enemy’s Daughter by Annie West – HM&B Sexy

Short Sweet

  • You For Christmas by Madeline Ash – Tule Publishing
  • Still Married To Her Ex! by Lucy Clark – HM&B Medical
  • Home to Bindarra Creek by Juanita Kees – self-published
  • The Secret Son by Joan Kilby – Tule Publishing
  • Reach For The Stars by Kerrie Paterson – self-published

Novella

  • Mistletoe Maverick by Shannon Curtis – self-published
  • Silk & Scars by Cassandra Dean – Decadent Publishing
  • Pursued By The Rogue by Kelly Hunter – Tule Publishing
  • What A Bachelor Needs by Kelly Hunter – Tule Publishing

Ripping Start Results!

We are delighted to announce the winner and placegetters of the Ripping Start competition, as  judged by Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks Casablanca:

1st:       Cassandra Pennington

2nd:      Jo McAlister

3rd:      AJ Macpherson

Congratulations to the placegetters. Deb has provided some excellent feedback for each finalist – we thank her very much for her time and expertise in judging our contest.

Thanks also to Leisl Leighton for finishing off the contest management, to Erica Hayes, our overall contest manager for her tireless work, to all our volunteer judges for their outstanding efforts, and to everyone for their patience.

Ripping Start Finalists

It is with great pleasure that we announce (in alphabetical order) the finalists in the Ripping Start competition.

Congratulations and best of luck to:

Alexa Bravo

AJ Blythe

AJ Macpherson

Jo McAlister

Cassandra Pennington

Samantha West

The finalists’ entries will now go to the final judge, Deb Werksman, Editorial Director, Sourcebooks Casablanca.

Thanks, as always, to our volunteer judges and a huge thank you to Erica Hayes, who stepped in and did an enormous amount of unexpected work on this contest.

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