The RITA—the highest award of distinction in romance fiction—recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas. Up to 2,000 romance novels are entered in the RITA competition in 13 different categories. After the first round of judging by published romance authors, entries that meet the qualifications to become a finalist then advance to the final round.
Once RWA announces the RITA finalists, judges evaluate and scores these novels to determine the RITA Award winners. The RITA Award winners are announced at a black-tie awards ceremony at the RWA Annual Conference.