Historical and Contemporary Romance Author

Musing on Monday: To Enter or Not to Enter

The RITAs, that is.

Now that they are open for entry, I have to decide (and fairly quickly) whether or not to enter any (or all) of the novellas in Behind the Red Door.

It wouldn’t be such a difficult decision if I could enter the anthology as a unit. But because the book consists of three novellas, I must enter each novella separately in the Romance Novella category. At $40 a pop, the entry fee alone adds up pretty quickly, to say nothing of the expense of shipping 15 copies of the book.

The decision would be easier if I thought one of the novellas was far and away better than the others, but…I don’t. I like them all for different reasons. More, I’m pretty sure if I chose one just one to enter, it would be wrong one.

And then there’s the fact that even if I entered all three, the likelihood of any of them reaching the final round is very, very small. Aside from any other factor, erotic romances don’t tend to fare well in the RITAs, Pam Rosenthal’s Edge of Impropriety notwithstanding.

There are all the reasons NOT to enter. But, there are reasons to enter. First and foremost is that, while the chance of finaling might be small, it’s only zero if I don’t enter. And reaching the finals would be amazing and awesome. Not that I remotely expect it, enter or not. There are way too many other great authors entering wonderful novellas this year (particularly Courtney Milan and her lovely novella, This Wicked Gift, which comes out at the end of this month). That said, it’s hard to make the deliberate choice not to play.

So, what would you do? Enter them all? Close your eyes, pick one, and enter that one? Or enter none at all?

Decisions, decisions. (I’m a Gemini. I’m bad at them!)

Edited to add: I decided it was worth asking the National office whether novellas in single author anthologies were treated the same as novellas in multiple author anthologies. Some contests I’ve found do treat them as a novel, so I thought it was worth asking. Alas, it is as I thought…to enter all three, I must enter all three individually and send in 15 copies of the book.


  • Bev September 21, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    That’s expensive. If you do, I would do it for only one.


  • Shelli Stevens September 21, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Hmm, I’d enter one. Because I’m broke 😀 But really, if a reader likes one of yours, they’d probably like them all. So I think you’d be safe. As to whether to enter or not, it’s hard to say. I’m entering simply to get my book (or novella) in front of more eyes. To expose myself (in the good way) to other authors who may not have read me.

  • Jody W. September 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I’d enter one. The first one is most “vanilla”, which may be for the best in the RITAs, yes?

    I have to decide if I want to bother trying to enter a small press book *sigh*.

    • admin September 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm

      Oh, and Jody, I sympathize on the small press dilemma. Although, if you look at how Aphrodisia books have fared historically, I would say there isn’t much distinction between them and other small press releases.

  • Jill Sorenson September 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I didn’t enter my debut and I regret it.

  • admin September 21, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Jody, I’m laughing that you suggested novella #1 as the most “vanilla,” since another friend of mine warned me against entering it because the hero had a history of bisexuality and she thought that could be a problem with judges. She said I’d do better with #3. And someone else says #2.


    The real problem is, since I can’t get any agreement on which one is the “best” and since I’ll always second-guess my choice, whichever one it is, I really think I have to go the all or nothing route. And it’s looking more and more like nothing, as I just can’t stomach $120 and 15 books, especially since I was able to enter the Booksellers Best Award contest with the entire anthology as a unit. It’s really hard to justify that kind of outlay, especially given the likely ROI.

    That said, Jill, I do worry that I’ll regret not entering. Just think I’ll regret entering only one than not entering at all, if that makes any kind of sense.

  • Anthea Lawson September 21, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    OTOH, entering 3 gives you 3 shots at connecting with readers…

    Make your publisher send you more books (or try to, ack) so you can enter, and don’t forget it’s a business expense. I’d say go for it! All 3, baby!

  • Booklover1335 September 21, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    If cost is a factor, which it sounds like it is, then I think you should only enter one, but definitely enter.

    Like Jody W said (and some of the other commenters) I would maybe choose it from reader comments on which one they like the most, or which one you think the judges will like most. There’s no crime in picking the one you think might do better in the competition. What kinds of things do they look for when judging, are there any common elements or themes in previous winners.

    I would take all of this into account, then choose the one you think fits best, and has the best chance. Most bang for your buck so to speak 🙂

  • Jill Sorenson September 21, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    I’d say go for all three. It never hurts to ask your publisher to send the books for you. That’s what I did.

    If you pick one, I guess the first would be best. Although I liked the other two more, it has the most story/character development before the erotic stuff happens.

    But srsly, enter all three. It’s worth it.

  • Booklover1335 September 27, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    I have a blog award for you here:


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