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Good Luck – Golden Heart & RITA Finalists It’s RWA’s Golden Heart and RITA season.  All the entry and book scores have been turned in and I can say I read some great material. Now the waiting begins. In a few more weeks calls go out and the excitement explodes. There’s a lot of anticipation […]

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Good Luck – 2014 Golden Heart & RITA Finalists

Posted by on Mar 2 2014, 11:30 pm Posted in , , ,

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Good Luck – Golden Heart & RITA Finalists

It’s RWA’s Golden Heart and RITA season.  All the entry and book scores have been turned in and I can say I read some great material. Now the waiting begins. In a few more weeks calls go out and the excitement explodes. There’s a lot of anticipation beginning to vibrate on writing loops and Facebook.  I think it’s a great time to offer a list of ten things to remember:

1] You’re a writer. You must write the next three weeks. You must keep writing as you have projects and stuff to do.

2] You’re a writer. Don’t forget to have pen and paper by the phone. Yes, you will have to write something down. No, you won’t remember what it is later.

3] Once you answer the call, remember what you were doing. Try to remember what you’re saying. You’ll have to share your spontaneous combustion. RITA Finalists will pull out their email lists and let their friends, family and publishers know the good news.

4] Golden Heart Finalists will have a private email loop to share all the excitement. They name themselves and create a pin as their symbol. We are the 2012 Firebirds! FinalDraft_close-up

5] You may not make the finals. You’re a writer. Keep writing. You can sell during the same period before conference. Don’t let any dejection or bad thoughts keep you from your passion—telling a good story.

6] Share your news. Keep your creative bubble intact. Get back to work because the opportunity to submit as a current GH Finalist is short. RITA Finalists share the news with local papers and prepare publicity packs.

7] Enjoy the excitement. Prepare for the National conference if you can attend. Ask questions on any matter because there are other finalists willing to answer your questions.

8] Yes, if you attend conference you will need a stack of business cards, a conference schedule,  a dress for the awards and a camera/cellphone camera for lots of candid moments.

9] Take a deep, cleansing breath. Chase those jitters from your system and sit down at your computer. Write. You’re a writer. This is a small blip on the radar of your career. You have a project to submit.

10] Enjoy the time. Be recharged, and then go write another great story.

Feel free to add your thoughts and tidbits of advice for the new group in the comment section.  Good luck to all of you.


20 responses to “Good Luck – 2014 Golden Heart & RITA Finalists”

  1. Great list, Jean! I definitely needed something like this in 2012 when I got the email (the person in charge of me didn’t make the call all the way to Australia). I didn’t check my email till about 10 hours after the list popped up on the net. I had to re-read the email several times to make sure I understood it properly 🙂 I had no idea it was a significant day and I also had no clue how life-changing being a finalist was going to be! It was my first time entering the GH correctly, and I’d never been to a national conference at the time. 🙂

    Good luck to all those who entered 🙂 Are they still making calls this year?

    • Jean Willett says:

      Hi Catherine,
      Yes, they still make calls which usually go out around March 26th. It’s the one time a year everyone hopes their phone lines are working. 🙂

  2. Hi Jean,

    Very timely advice for all those waiting and hoping. My advice is, don’t dwell on the Golden Hearts, just get on with something else. When entered, I did that and so the call was a huge surprise. Shock even. My husband said, There’s a call from America and handed me the phone. I was outside, mucking out a stable and I dropped the handset in the straw. It broke into all its component parts. Still thinking this was probably a spam call about buying American stocks and shares, I put the phone back together, rather hoping the call would have gone. But the caller was patient and she delivered her news. And then the fun began.

    It is amazing to win, so be prepared to enjoy it. And if not, don’t be downhearted. My ms didn’t final the second year I entered. You have to be philosophical.

    • Jean Willett says:

      HAHA–mucking the stable. Hope the phone didn’t take a dive into a paddy 😉 Great story, Natalie. I hope a few hopefuls read this blog. They’ll understand a lot better, especially if this is a first time for them.
      So true about staying busy and not to be disheartened. Just write.

  3. Great post and list, Jean! Another thing to remember is to get your social media up and running if you haven’t already. Being a finalist is a great way to build connections. The first time I was a finalist (2010) I didn’t do this, but luckily I got a second chance (2013) and finally I was ready to tackle Facebook, Twitter, blogging and the works. Looking forward to hearing the finalists’ names announced and then attending the awards ceremony and seeing those names flash big on the jumbotron screen 🙂

    • Jean Willett says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Jacqui! Tackling Twitter is next on my list after I finish the current project. Tweeting looks easy until all the # and @s join the fray. Maybe a simple website with links would be easier….another thing for the new Finalists to consider. 🙂

  4. Sandra Owens says:

    Great advice, Jean. I remember very little of the phone call and regret that. I’d add, just stop for a few minutes and take some deep breaths because life as you know it is about to change. Then make sure your website is up and running. I had agents contact me through my site within days of the announcement going public.

    The most important point you made, however, is #5. Finaling is really the luck of the draw, and just because you didn’t final doesn’t mean you can’t write…and sometimes better than the finalist.

    Good luck to everyone entered.

    • Jean Willett says:

      Websites! Yes! A lot of finalists were contacted via their websites, so it’s important to consider them at least. Also, a Facebook page and Twitter account. Whatever your choice of social media, pick one, not all of them. Or you’ll burn out and wonder why.

      Thanks for stopping by, Sandra! GH class of 2013!

  5. Thanks, Jean.

    You made me remember the fun of getting that call!

  6. Amy DeLuca says:

    I found the experience of being a first-time finalist last year and attending the RWA conference life-changing. My advice is to jump on that Finalist chat loop early and start getting to know your fellow finalists. I’ve made such good friends and learned so much through that loop- my favorite part of the whole experience. Awards night is pretty awesome, too! 😉

    • Jean Willett says:

      Hi Amy. Thanks for stopping by! You are so right. The email loop of all the finalists is so much fun. Getting to know others within the group makes the conference so much more enjoyable. To know you have made lifelong friends is even better.
      I should note that not all groups bond and sometimes only a few within a group will bond, but overall lots of information is shared.

  7. Talia Quinn says:

    You forgot going on a immediate diet so you can fit into the dress. 😉

    Kidding. Great list. I think you covered it all!

  8. Great post, Jean! And good advice re NOT being a finalist. LOTS depend on the judges you get, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t final. As Tracy Brogan says, “Word count is the best medicine.” JUST KEEP WRITING.

    If you DO final in the GH! VERY EXCITING TIMES! But, yes, get those queries out in that short window between nominations and the awards ceremony. Put; 2014 GOLDEN HEART FINALIST and the title in EVERY SUBJECT LINE TO EDITORS AND AGENTS. No Holds Barred! AND be prepared to be embraced by a group of women that you will have as a sorority for the rest of your life.

    I have no doubt that many of my Golden Heart Sisters will remain sisters for the rest of our lives. And from finaling onward, they will always be there when we final in the future or when we receive rejections. When we succeed and when we fail. When we are healthy and productive and when tragedies strike us or our families. Golden Heart Sisiter are SOLID GOLD! THAT has been the VERY BEST PART of how my life changed after receiving THE CALL on 3/26/12.

  9. kd fleming says:

    Great post, Jean. I think our class (Firebirds) broke some records for number of posts on our private loop. It was and still is a magical place to make life long friends.

    I believe it was Rachel who insisted ALL of us write an acceptance spech. Do it! And if you’re as clever as a girl who writes about dragons, you’ll turn yours into a rap tune. Go Lorenda! 😉

  10. Great post, Jean!!!! And, yes, remember, all, if you don’t final, neither did 90% of the others. Keep writing! Keep working toward your dreams and never give up!

  11. Terri Osburn says:

    I’ll be flying to Disney World the day the calls go out. Didn’t even think about it when I made the plans. As the odds are stacked against me actually getting a call this time, I’m glad I’ll have the distraction. But I’ll also be clinging to my cell phone like a mad woman. I might have to velcro it to myself somehow.

    I think you should add attend conference anyway to your list. Conference is awesome, contest final or no. Go and enjoy.

  12. Kay Hudson says:

    Definitely a good time to put up a web site so people can find you. In 2011, the PRO loop put on a WordPress class shortly after the finalists were announced, and I’ve been enjoying my blog every since.

    Great list of suggestions, Jean. Being a GH finalist is definitely a roller coaster ride.

  13. robena grant says:

    Wonderful post, Jean. I remember the shock and the thrill, but more so the disbelief. I didn’t call or email anyone until I saw my name hit the list. : ) Only then would I believe that the call had not been wishful thinking.

    Good luck to all who entered the 2014 GH and RITA’s!

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