Thursday, April 26, 2012

RWA and The RITA Contest

Terri Reed here talking today about something near and dear to my heart.  In 1993 I joined a writers organization called Romance Writers of America®  
I was pregnant with my daughter at the time and needed something to distract me from the constant morning sickness (I had it from the moment I conceived until the moment she was born-Ick).  I took a class at the local community college on How to Write a Romance.  During the class the instructor gave us information about RWA.  I went to my first local RWA chapter meeting a week later and joined that night.  Through RWA I have learned the craft of story structure as well as the business side of writing, made some of my best friends, networked with agents and editors, and have served on the national board of directors for four years. 

Romance Writers of America®  (RWA) was chartered in 1981 to serve as a nonprofit trade association for romance writers.

The mission of Romance Writers of America is to advance the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy. RWA works to support the efforts of its members to earn a living, to make a full-time career out of writing romance—or a part-time one that generously supplements his/her main income. To learn more about this organization visit
Every writer hopes their work will be recognized and appreciated by readers and peers alike.  In the romance world there are many contests open to authors but the contest that tops them all is Romance Writers of America’s RITA®.   In 2004 I was a RITA finalist with my second Love Inspired Romance novel titled A Sheltering Love.   Finalists receive a silver pin in the shape of the RITA®, which I proudly wear every year to the national conference. 
We have had several Craftie Ladies final and win in the RITA contest over the years.  Our 2012 finalist is Linda Goodnight.  (see sidebar)
Winners receive a gold pin and a gold statuette in the shape of a woman sitting on a stool with an open book in her lap. The statuette is named after RWA’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada.
From the RWA National website:  The purpose of the RITA® contest is to promote excellence in the romance
 genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas.
About the Contest
Up to 1,200 romance novels from 12 different categories are entered in the RITA competition each year. A novel may be entered either by the author or by the book's publisher in one of the 12 categories. After the first round of judging by published romance authors, the competition narrows to approximately 100 finalists.
Once RWA announces the RITA finalists, a final round of judges evaluates and ranks these novels to determine the 12 RITA Award winners. 
Romance Writers of America will announce the winners of the 2012 RITA Awards during its Award Ceremony at its 32nd Annual Conference in Anaheim.


  1. I joined RWA in 1986. (Am I dating myself?) It is a great organization and taught me how to write. And what is great about RWA is the local chapter, which is the best place for any writer to learn her/his craft.

  2. You're welcome Pam. Leann, wow, you've seen the growth and change of the organization over the years. The local chapters are a great place to learn and the national organization is a great place to grow and expand.

  3. I joined in 1986, too. Two years later I had my son. Then I decided to stay home with him and write. I sold my first book in 1993. And over 50 books later, I'm still a member of RWA. I so appreciate all the friends I've met along the way, Terri being one of those I hold dear. But then, I love all of y'all!

  4. I joined RWA in 1995 and sold my first book in 1998. I still belong. My best friend is from our local chapter. When I married in 2002, I had an RWA wedding. With the exception of my sister, all were my chapter mates :)

  5. Congrats to all the RITA finalist past and present!

    I joined RWA in 1991. Such a great organization. I learned so much from my local GA chapter.

    Waving to all GRW members!!!

  6. I joined in 1985. I joined at the RWA conference that year in Atlanta. You could register for the conference at the door. Times have changed. :)

  7. I love these stories so much! i enjoy reading them a lot. each one has inspired me in some way! continue posting more stories ’cause they’re all awesome! thanks a lot!

    networking in the entertainment business

  8. I joined RWA in early 1999 when a friend suggested I enter a local contest that paid for one RWA conference registration. I had never heard of RWA and was a new, new writer, knowing nothing about the business. I entered, won the free conference, and ended up being a Golden Heart finalist that year. So off I went to Chicago. Talk about being green and scared silly! And guess what darling woman I met who was so kind to me? Terri Reed :-)

  9. Its so fun to see when everyone joined RWA. Like I said, I've met some of my best friends through this organization. Lenora was one of the first who took me under her wing and mentored me. And I remember when Linda and I met. We were both unpublished, both red heads. We also met Brandilyn Collins that year, she's also a red head. And then during a workshop we sat in front of editor Patience Smith who is also a red head. Very fond memory. Now we're all published and Brandilyn and Linda are so successful.


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