25 March 2009

13 Reasons Why Your Book Didn't Final in the RITAs

Is there anything in our little corner of the internet that evokes more angst -- and more ranting -- than RWA's Golden Heart and RITA Awards? Well, there probably is, but since the nominations were announced today (http://tinyurl.com/dmmfpl) I thought it might be a good time to summarize, in a nice, concise list, the most common reasons why manuscripts do not final in the RITA awards.

[[The Golden Hearts, for those of you who aren't part of Romancelandia, are the awards for unpublished manuscripts, and the RITAs are for published manuscripts. Both awards are judged by RWA volunteers in the initial round, and entries are not nominated from all available books. They must be placed in the contest by their authors (or publishers) along with a fee and enough copies to go around. And yes this introduction may look familiar if you also visited my post about the Golden Hearts at The Otherworld Diner. What can I say? I'm strapped for time.]]

(This list presumes your novel is a romance, btw.)

1) Your book was released from a small press or in electronic format. Those books = not allowed in RITAs.

2) Your book was not entered in the RITAs. Authors have to go out of their way to enter--books don't get nominated by other people like they do in the Hugos or the Nebulas.

3) The use of the word "f*ck" in the book caused 3 or more judges to mark it "Not a Romance."

4) The use of the word "qu*eb" in the book caused 3 or more judges to mark it "Not a Romance".

5) When the heroine died in the end but did not return as a corporeal ghost for future love noogins, several of your judges decided the "HEA" was questionable, which affected the score.

6) The hero and heroine found out 3/4 of the way through the book they have the same father.

7) Your kick-ass heroine actually continued to kick ass after the hero was introduced. Including his.

8) The judges noticed that you scribbled out the copyright date of 1997 and wrote in 2008, even though you were really careful and used a fine tip Sharpie. Your book was dinged for being "stale".

9) The meangirl internet haterz (who are also PAN members) torpedoed your score in a vast conspiracy to make sure you never final because they are jalus. (They killed my book! Those bastards!)

10) You accidentally sent in five copies of that cookbook you had printed at Lulu.com of family recipes, and judges had trouble relating to the hero and heroine.

11) The package containing your books was mailed to Rwanda instead of the RWA offices. (The Rwandans enjoyed it quite a bit but since they were not RWA PAN members, their scores didn't count.) http://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/RWA

12) In order to cut postage costs, your book was not, in fact, mailed to judges at all but was instead displayed at the mall where random passers by were asked to rate the hotness of the cover on a scale of 1 to 9.

13) One of the other finalists hired a top secret contest SWAT team to break into the RWA offices the night of March 24, 2009, and switch out your scores with hers.


14) Several of your judges, intimidated by their towering stacks of RITA entries, marked your 100,001 word novel as "TL", or "Too Long".


I posted the top 10 reasons why your manuscript didn't final in the Golden Hearts at The Otherworld Diner.

Jody W.


Jean Marie Ward said...

Yeah, I think you do qualify as Rabblerouser of the Month--and that's not even counting what you said about BSG to the 'shippers.
Cheers and smiles,
Jean Marie

Liane Gentry Skye said...

ROFL! I love this.

Mia Celeste said...

Ha! Funny. Thanks for sharing.

Janet said...


Carolan Ivey said...

[[7) Your kick-ass heroine actually continued to kick ass after the hero was introduced. Including his.]]

BWAH!! In my, er, book, this would qualify the book for extra points. Hee!

Anonymous said...

Oh, as far as number one goes, you forgot about the Golden Heart. Cause I'm still trying to figure out how I can published and unpublished at the same time, thus unable to enter either.
This was funny.

Edie Ramer said...

This made me laugh, but it's not all far-fetched. I got back a contest entry last fall with the judge hating my hero because he said f**k a few times. People like that should stick to judging inspirationals.

Sharon Cullen said...

I love #7!!! And don't forget #15 - You didn't use 1" margins all the way around. :-)


Meg Allison said...

Brilliant list, Jody! I love it. :)

Marie-Nicole Ryan said...

Thankfully we can always depend on Jody for her keen sense of wit and irony.

Anonymous said...

HA! Maybe next time I should make a T13 about similar contests in the songwriting world.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Sheer. Brilliance.

But that's what we expect from you, after all. :)

Jody W. and Meankitty said...

Thanks for dropping by to see my list, everyone! The stuff you come up with in the midnight hour, I swear...

Jody W.


I had a good laugh today. Thank you for that list!