Posted by Elisa Beatty Nov 15 2012, 12:01 am in Golden Heart rules, NaNoWriMo
I’m officially here to give you my mid-way check-in on NaNoWriMo, but since November 15 is now the OPENING DAY for entering Golden Heart (see all the official wording here), I’m going to start with a quick run-down of the rule changes:
1. As of this year, you MUST be an RWA member in good standing to enter the contest.
(If your membership lapses during the period of the contest, they’ll let you re-up your membership rather than disqualifying you.)
2. The categories have changed, going from nine to seven.
Novel with Strong Romantic Elements is gone for good. Regency has been eliminated as a separate category, though you may enter Regencies romances under the Historical category. (And yes, many of us are still crying in our teacups over that.) The definition for YA has changed significantly, as discussed in Amanda Brice’s recent post here.
3. The due dates are different.
The contest officially opens today, and final versions of manuscripts are due Jan 2 at 5:00. Lots of folks have been asking if you could in effect “reserve” a spot and keep polishing until the final deadline, asi n the past. The answer is yes. Here’s the word straight from Carol Ritter in response to an email I sent:
“You will need to enter, pay and upload an entry, BUT you can return to the entry site and replace/edit anything that you upload up until the 5:00 PM deadline on January 2, 2013. We’re hoping that this will resolve one of the problems that has occurred in the past, where an entrant enters that contest, pays the fee and then never sends in the actual entry. We have around 70-100 entrants that pay, but never send in their entry every year.”
That’s good news for those who are drafting during NaNo and planning to use December to polish!
4. The rules have been clarified on whether indie publishing disqualifies you (i.e., it does, if any book you’ve self-pubbed is 20,000 words or more).
Here’s what they now say: “The Golden Heart contest is open to RWA members who have not accepted a publishing offer for, or Self-Published, a work of original fictional narrative prose of 20,000 words or more by January 2, 2013.”
No more ambiguity about that.
5. Your Golden Heart book CANNOT be available for sale in any form until AFTER the winners are announced.
The official rules say, “Entered works must not be published as long as they are under consideration for the Award.” That left some people wondering if that meant you couldn’t even sell the book, but Carol Ritter has clarified that as well:
“The rule means that if an entry reaches the final round it may not be made commercially available through publication, self, digital or traditional. A finalist may still accept a contract, as long as the publisher understands that the book may not be be published until the winners have been announced on Saturday, July 20, 2013.”
Just to clarify: Your book cannot be available for sale until AFTER Nationals. You cannot e-publish your Golden Heart book in any form until AFTER the awards ceremony, or you’re disqualified.
Once January 2nd has passed, though, (but not before) you can accept a publishing CONTRACT for this book, or self-publish a DIFFERENT book and your current Golden Heart entry still remains eligible.
6. Judging will be different.
From what I saw when I signed up to judge, judges will now get manuscripts from a variety of categories. You can opt out of any two of the seven categories, but entries from any of the other five may arrive in your email inbox.
Plus we’ll be using the new scoring system, based on a 50 point total with four sub-categories, as described in this scoring overview:
The Romance: Between 1 and 20 points, with 1 being the lowest (poor) and 20 being the highest (excellent)
The Plot/Story: Between 1 and 10 points, with 1 being the lowest (poor) and 10 being the highest (excellent)
The Writing: Between 1 and 10 points, with 1 being the lowest (poor) and 10 being the highest (excellent)
The Characters: Between 1 and 10 points with 1 being the lowest (poor) and 10 being the highest (excellent)
7. One thing that hasn’t changed:
The contest is still limited to 1200 entries—and I have a sneaking suspicion the change to electronic submissions will significantly increase the number of people who decide to enter. So don’t wait!!!
And now for a little NaNoWriMo check-in:
Well, cowpokes, I reckon it’s time to put my cards on the table. If you happened on my post from a month ago as I was headin’ towards that November 1 showdown, you know I was headin’ into NaNo with my guns a-blazin’.
And it’s goin’ purty well so far. Cain’t say I’m quite on target, but I’m not quittin’ either.
I am one saddle-sore gunslinger, though. The first few days were a bit cantankerous—I had letters o’ recommendations to write for my students, an’ my quarter grades were due (damn fool I was , choosin’ to be a schoolmarm)—and then I was too dad-blamed tuckered out to do much the next coupla days.
But I got lucky—my sister drove up in her wagon, handed me a big jot mug o’ joe, and we started sprintin’ together. If ya check out my latest NaNo progress chart, I’m a-gainin’ momentum, and I’ll catch up soon fer sure.
And that’s all I got to say fer now.
Well, fella NaNo-ers, how’s it going’ for you?