Every year around this time, I tell the story of how I got “The Call.” And it started with the Golden Rose writing contest.
I’d never done well in writing contests. About half my judges always seemed to decide they hated me. (Hated me personally, you understand… at least that’s how it felt.) But the Golden Rose is the annual contest for my chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and I wanted to support it. So I quickly put together an entry from a new story I wanted to tell and entered SEDUCED BY SHADOWS in the contest.
While the entries were being judged, I worked on finishing the story. When you aren’t contractually obligated to finish a book, sometimes finding the motivation can be hard. But you have to keep going because you never know when you are going to get “The Call.”
When “a call” came from the contest coordinator, letting me know SEDUCED BY SHADOWS was a finalist, I was suddenly VERY motivated to finish. I’d later find out that one of my three first-round judge had hated me (sorry, hated the manuscript) and scored me so low compared to the other two judges that the coordinator had to bring in a discrepancy judge. That judge liked the story well enough to send me to the final-round judge: an editor.
And that editor liked the story well enough (after a revise and resubmit and several more rounds of revisions) to release the book on the world.
From the Golden Rose contest, I learned:
- Not everyone will love you, even when — especially when! — you finally publish your story. But you write on until you find YOUR readers.
- Though you may write romance where the power of love conquers all, you can’t let the lack of love stop you. Because all you need is love from the right person, whether that’s an editor, a reader who sends you an email to let you know how much your story meant to her, or just your higher self, reminding you the story won’t get told without you.
- To keep going, use every motivator at your disposal, whether it be intrinsic motivations (“I’ll show you, cruel world!”) or external (“OMG, this contest entry is due tomorrow!”). Whatever it takes, man.
* I maybe slightly biased about the Golden Rose being the best writing contest ever, but maybe you should find out for yourself!
The Golden Rose is a contest sponsored by RCRW for unpublished
and non-PAN (within the Romance Writers of America organization) authors.
- Obtain high-quality feedback and, for finalists, the chance to get your work in front of a publishing industry editor or agent.
- It is one of the few contests allowing a high word count submission which provides our entrants the greatest opportunity for feedback.
- In addition, many of our finalists receive requests from the final judges and many of those have gone on to be represented by the agents or published by editors.
Golden Rose contestants receive three comprehensive score sheets from first-round judges. Judges are highly encouraged to make detailed, constructive comments explaining their scores.
Category finalists are allowed one week after notification of status to review their entries before they are sent to the final-round judges, thereby increasing the potential for a full request.
First-place winners in each category will be offered a free one-year Rose City Romance Writers chapter membership. All finalists receive a beautiful certificate as well as a lovely banner for their websites.
Winners will be announced on the RCRW website and in RWA’s Romance Writers Report.
The top score overall wins a gorgeous, gold-plated American Beauty rose.
The Golden Rose accepts entries up to a maximum of 10,000 words including prologue (if any). First-round entries do not include a synopsis; however, finalists will be asked to provide a 500-word synopsis prior to final judging. The synopsis is for the final judges’ information only and will not be judged.
The Golden Rose accepts only electronic submissions. You will upload your manuscript when you submit your contest entry form.
2013 Golden Rose Final Round Judges
Contemporary Series Romance
Nicole Fischer, Avon/HarperCollins
Contemporary Single Title
Rebecca Strauss, DeFiore and Company
Jennifer Udden, Donald Maass Agengy
Mainstream Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Amy Boggs, Donald Maass Agency
Eric Ruben, Ruben Agency
Lauren Ruth, Entangled Publishing