The Romance Through The Ages Contest
Hearts Through History Romance Writers
Fees: Hearts Through History chapter members $20, all others $25
Entry: First 30 pages (plus a 1-2 page synopsis that is not judged and not to be counted toward the 30 pages)
Closed for entries: March 15th
All winners will be announced at Hearts Through History’s annual meeting at the RWA National conference in Anaheim, California
3 qualified judges for each first round entry
All scores with a rating of 3 or less will be explained on the score sheet
Added possibility to final in the Legend Award
Another possibility to win in the Best of the Best
Finalists in the First Round have the opportunity to incorporate the judges’ comments before the final round
Final round judges are industry professionals
Synopsis not judged
Only 3 entries in each category are finalists
No classes for judges
Score Sheet is not very in depth
The Good –
There are 3 judges for each first round entry and the lowest of the scores is dropped. The remaining two scores are averaged to determine the final score. Spectacular!
On the score sheet, any item rated a 3 or below by the judge is explained. This is great. It explains to the entrant why the low score was given.
The Legend: A Man For All Reasons Award is a separate category picked from all the entries. It is based on the entrants score in a special Legend category on the score sheet. Basically, it is a separate category for your hero. The highest Legend scores in each category will advance to the final round. Another way to get your manuscript before an editor/agent. Wonderful!!
The Best of the Best is a separate category for each category’s first place winners. Another way for an entrant to get his/her entry before an agent/editor! Well done.
The finalists in the first round have an allotted amount of time to review the first round judge’s comments and make desired changes to his/her manuscript before the final round. Anything to give an entrant the opportunity to make his/her entry the best it can be is great!
Final round judges are industry professionals. They are:
Ancient/Medieval/Renaissance (AMR) judged by Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Georgia/Regency/Victorian (GVR) judged by Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein of McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency
Colonial/Western/Civil War (CWW) judged by Rhonda Helms of Carina Press
Post Victorian/World War II (PVW) judged by Mary Sue Seymour of the Seymour Agency
Time Travel/Historical Paranormal (TTP) judged by Nicole D’Arienzo of The Wild Rose Press
Historical Erotic judged by Jessica Alvarez of BookEnds, LLC
Legend: A Man for all Reasons judged by Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary Agency
The synopsis is not judged, so the work stands on its own merit.
The Bad –
There are only 3 finalists in each category. This exact number seems limited and unfair, especially if one category could have, say, 10 entries and still have 3 finalists, while another has 30 entries and has 3 finalists.
There is no official training or classes for the judges. However, a guideline is included with each packet of entries a judge receives. The lack of a class for the Hearts Through History chapter’s judges is disheartening. While it’s important to follow a guideline to story issues and character development paths, it is also very important that judges know how to deliver constructive criticism without crushing the entrant.
While there are guiding questions for the judges to answer, the score sheet itself is very general.
As far as the Romance Through the Ages Contest is concerned, it’s pretty average. With a reasonable $25 entry fee ($20 for HHRW members), you get 3 first round judges and an explanation for any scores of 3 or below. The unique items about this contest are the added chances to get your work before an agent/editor with the Best of the Best and the Legend Award. However, the limited number of finalists and the lack of classes for the judges only hinder the potential of this contest.
NOTE: The HHRW website has been down since the beginning of the weekend (March 10th). I couldn’t look at the score sheet to give you examples of the questions. Please take a look yourself. Also, it is up to the Board whether or not to extend the deadline of the contest. As of this printing, there is no word on an extension.