Setting Up Your Golden Heart Entry – 2010

15 Nov


My first year entering the Golden Heart I had  A LOT of questions around the rules and guidelines for packaging my YA Fantasy.  I thought I’d share them and the answers I got from RomanceDivas, Wet Noodle Posse, and my RWA chapter. 


Entry fee and form must be into RWA before 5pm Central, NOVEMBER 15, 2010  (Monday)

Entry pages and full MS on CD must be to the RWA offices by DECEMBER 2, 2010 (Thursday)

Romance Writers of America
Attn: Golden Heart Contest
14615 Benfer Rd.
Houston, TX 77069
1. Do I have to be an RWA Member to enter?

NO. The entry fee for members is less, so you might want to consider joining first. But anyone can enter.

2. Line count? Word on the street is your entry doesn’t have to be exactly 25 lines. Is this true?

Ok, I would love to add an extra line to every page and squeeze in to that last good hook before my page deadline, but the suggestion was to ignore this impulse. While the rules don’t state each page MUST follow the 25 lines guidelines, judges can often be, I believe the term was “Old School” about it. Avoid doing anything outside the standard formatting we’ve all come to know and love. If you need to brush up on formatting a page, check out my post: HERE

3. FONT. Standard font means either Times New Roman or Courier. Size either at 12. HINT: TNR will squeeze in more pages if you’re trying to push out to a good hook 

4.  Do you need to include a query letter?

I’m not going to point fingers, but someone “reminded” me not to forget my query letter when sending in my entry. Talk about misinformation creating PANIC – no query letter is needed.

5. How long can/should my synopsis be?

Lots of differing opinions on this. Your synopsis can be UP TO 15 pages – but for every page you give to your synopsis, you take one from the 55 pages you have eligible to send in. I’d rather send more of my story.

The general consensus I received was to keep my synopsis between 3 and 5 pages.

Need help on your synopsis? Check out: OR 

6.  Numbering your pages. This excerpt is from the RWA Golden Heart FAQ:

“Golden Heart contest rules state, “The partial manuscript shall consist of consecutive pages beginning with page one, typed, and with at least the general body of the manuscript and synopsis double-spaced. The synopsis shall not be more than 15 pages. The total partial and synopsis shall not exceed 55 pages combined.”  Please number your synopsis 1 – (end of synopsis), and begin your numbering over with the partial. For example, your synopsis can be numbered pages 1 – 5, and then your partial would be 1 – 50.”

SO: Manuscript page numbers: 1-whatever
Synopsis page numbers: 1-whatever BOTH START AT *ONE*

7. Does the cover page count as a page?

NO. No cover page is needed. Actually, don’t add one. Your name can’t be anywhere on the doc, so this will just have to be removed at the office.

8. Do I have to use my real name?

Yes. When you enter the contest you, all contestants must use his/her real name. But, there was a place for your pen name, that’s typically the info used.

9. Do I have to / Should I put my name on the entry?

I didn’t think to ask this question, but I’m glad someone else did!  I’ll admit to being surprised to the answer. The overwhelming answer was “no” – but someone gave a reason and that’s where my surprise came in. Rumor (more writing rumors) has it that occasionally judges perceive entries with names on them as having something to prove. Go figure.

10. What should I put in my header.

The title of your manuscript should be lined up on the left hand side and the page number should be lined up on the right hand side. The font and font size should be the same as the body of your work.

11. Can I send more than one entry together?

I just emailed RWA to verify this one. YES! If you put everything in big seperate evelops for each entry and then put each envelop in one box (to save on the cost of shipping) that is fine. THEY MUST BE SEPERATED OUT. PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THE LOVELY, KIND, TALENTED, INTELLIGENT, AND DEDICATED CAROL RITTER WORK HARDER.

GOOD LUCK – and congratulations on seeing this through – that in itself is a huge accomplishment! -bria 

Here is the checklist RWA has on its website.  Check it out before you mail it in:

  • Double space:
       Partial Manuscript
       Full Manuscript
  • Manuscript title in header on:
      Partial Manuscript
      Full Manuscript
  • Page numbers in header on:
      Partial Manuscript
      Full Manuscript
  • Six copies of : 
      Partial Manuscript 
  • One copy of: 
      Full Manuscript on either floppy disk or CD (preferable) or printed out
  • Each synopsis is placed in front of a partial manuscript and bound together by binder clip (preferable) or rubber bands
  • No personal information in header other than name (name is optional) on any materials.
  • Materials must be received in the RWA office by 5 p.m. Central Time on December 2, 2010.

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