The RWA Board of Directors had a productive meeting July 15-16 in Denver, Colorado.
- The rules for the 2019 RITA and Golden Heart contests were approved.
- As of the 2019 RITA contest, preliminary-round judges will have the option to give an entry a DNF score (0), if appropriate, after reading 25 percent of the book or 50 pages, whichever is shorter. The DNF score is appropriate in the following circumstances: (1) The book’s grammatical, mechanical, or other errors are so numerous as to suggest the book was not ready to be made commercially available by a professional author. The use of slang/vernacular is not a grammatical error. (2) The book’s craft issues are so numerous or fundamental to suggest the book was not ready to be made commercially available by a professional author. Any book that receives two DNF scores will automatically be excluded from moving to the final round of judging. A list of reasons a judge may not use DNF will also be provided to judges.
- Starting with the 2019 RITA contest, one of the five final-round judges for each category will come from one of the following groups: past Librarians of the Year; past Booksellers of the Year; Lifetime Achievement Award winners; individuals nominated for Librarian of the Year or Bookseller of the Year who have demonstrated understanding of the romance genre; or former publishing professionals who are no longer actively acquiring manuscripts, who have no ongoing ties to a publishing house, and who did not perform any work on any books they are asked to judge. The remaining judges will be chosen from a group including Honor Roll members, past RITA Award winners, past RITA award finalists, and General PAN members whose first book was published at least five years prior to the start of the contest, with first option going to the previous year’s winners.
- The Board voted on a timeline for phasing out the Golden Heart contest: the last contest will be the 2019 contest. Next year’s president has committed to make replacement programming an institutional priority for the coming year. We will have a message about specifics in August.
- The Chapter Excellence Award was changed to the Extraordinary Innovation Award. The award may be presented each year for extraordinary innovation done by a chapter or chapters working in concert.
- The Board approved funds to establish two housing stipends for interns from a Diverse background and who receive paid internship offers from qualifying publishers with established internship programs.