2016 RITA Contest Judging

    The purpose of RWA’s RITA Contest is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published novels and novellas.


    All entrants are required to judge the preliminary round. Others eligible to judge are authors who are PAN-eligible. The final round will be judged by PAN membersNote: Non-members may sign up to judge when they enter the contest. The contest will open for entries at 9:00 a.m. CDT on October 22, 2015.

    Sign up to Judge the 2016 RITA Contest (member link)

    (the online judging sign-up form works best with Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera Internet browsers)

    Sign-up Instructions:

    • Click the "Sign up to Judge the 2016 RITA Contest" link above (make sure you're logged in to the RWA website first).
    • The Welcome to the 2016 RITA Contest page will appear. 
    • Click Continue.
    • Review the Rights Agreement.
    • Indictate you agree with the contest rules by click on the text and select that you agree.
    • Click Continue. 
    • Complete each field on the page.
    • Judges will automatically be opted out of any categories that they enter.
    • Click Submit as Final.
    • Click the Logout link located at the top right-hand section of the page.
    • To verify your judging selections, click the judging sign-up link above (while logged in to the RWA site), Click the summary tab on the left side of the screen and then click Judge Sign-Up Form.  Edit the sections as needed. 

    Contact Carol Ritter at or 832-717-5200, Ext. 127, with questions.


    Scoring Overview

    Each preliminary-round entry will be scored individually on a scale of 1.0 to 10.0, with 1.0 being the lowest (poor) and 10.0 being the highest (excellent). Judges are allowed and encouraged to use decimal points (7.5, 8.8, etc.) when scoring.

    Preliminary-round judges will be required to answer the following two questions in addition to assigning one overall score:

    • Does the entry contain a central love story?
    • Is the resolution of the romance emotionally satisfying and optimistic?

    If there are three negative responses to either question, the entry is disqualified.

    Preliminary-round scores will be determined using a trimmed mean (the highest and lowest scores will be discarded and the remaining three scores will be averaged). 

    The top scoring 4% of each category’s entries (based on the number of qualified entries received) will advance to the final round; excepting that no category will have fewer than 4 finalists and no category will have more than 10 finalists. Any fraction will be rounded up to the next whole number, not to exceed 10 finalists. 

    Final-round entries for the RITA contest shall be ranked from first to last place (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) with the lowest score signifying the winner.

    The identity of judges is confidential. RWA discourages any communication between judges and entrants.

    Until the contest winners are announced, to protect the integrity of the contest, judges should not discuss the books, post comments in e-mail, on social media, or review the books they judge. All questions about entries should be directed to RWA staff.

    Books will not be returned.

    Each author's preliminary-round scores will be made available to the author once the contest is concluded and winners have been announced.