Tuesday, April 13

Golden, Silver, Bronze?

I entered the Golden Heart this past year. Way back in October. I think. Maybe it was December. A long time ago at any rate.
Yesterday, I got my GH scores back.
I'm in the top 1/4 of my category, which was the short action/adventure.
The top 1/4 was anyone 37.80 and up, and my scores were 7.5, 7.5, 7.9, 8, 8.9 with an average of 39.8
There were four finalists. So, where does that place me?
Does that make me 5th? 7th? 10th?
The lack of not knowing is driving me nuts. I can live with the no comments rule. I knew that going in, but not knowing where I came in is bugging me to death.
If I just missed the finals, that stinks.
But if I was way out, that's worse.
I really wish the Golden Heart would send out a form with all the scores listed. It wouldn't be a lot of work, and it would make someone like me, someone who obsesses, a lot happier knowing exactly where I ended up. It would also weigh in on my decision whether to re-enter next year.
Is anyone listening?


  1. Hi D'Ann,
    Those are great scores. Finalist or not, you have a lot to be proud of. I know you've won several contests this year. It's a great manuscript and some smart editor is going to scoop it up soon. Good luck!

  2. congratulations D'Ann you have more courage than I do. I know nothing about the scores but I think it means you are above average. For the little time I've known you, I'd say that is true. Awesome job.. mucho congratulations!


  3. Hi D'Ann,

    I put your question to the very knowledgeable ladies (and one male)on the GH finalist loop. Many of them have finaled and not finaled many times and are very helpful. When I hear back I will fill you in.

    :) Jillian

  4. congrats on being in the top 1/4 -- that is great! I know what you mean about knowing ***exactly*** where you placed. Would make me crazy, too...I think the final placements (at least) are justified for the cost of entry...and comments from the judges would be a good thing, too...I mean what's the point of a contest if all you get are random scores that don't really mean a thing?!?

  5. Definitely great scores D'Ann. If there were four finalists that means there had to be 40 entries right? Because they take the top 10% correct? So if that's the case, you missed a final by tenths of a point, which bites.

    The GH and the RITA are pretty much a crap shoot. It depends on who judges your work.

    The thing to remember is that the GH is a way to get your work in front of an editor. The RITA is about peer respect.

    In the great scheme of things I think you did really well. Stop beating your head on the wall and go write something new.

    Just because you missed out on an opportunity this year doesn't mean you have to miss it next year.

  6. Oh great scores, well done D'Ann!

    There should be a list somewhere of how many entrants there were in each category, then you could work it out. Hope the other commenter gets some info back from the GH finalists. It would be awesome to know you were close ... though also upsetting, too I guess.

  7. Comments so far:

    The only thing I'd say is maybe there weren't that many entries in the category overall and they only took the top ___% as finalists - which was only four in this case. I rechecked the list of finalists and while most categories have eight, Inspirational has only three and Regency has six.
    She may never know her exact placement because RWA doesn't do score sheets. Just final scores.

    If I get anything more that helps answer the question I will pass it on.


  8. Ah, what I'd give for more information! I'd love to know more, too. I really enjoy thinking about the math behind this contest.

    Last year in this category, top quartile was 37.7 and up. Twenty-nine people entered. Three people finaled. Details here http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/rss/index.php/golden-heart-rotisserie-by-the-numbers/

    This year, with four finalists, we can guess that there were between 35 and 44 entrants. You know you didn't score in the top 10%, so you must have scored in the top 11-25% of those 35 to 44 entries. So the question we can answer is, what's 11-25% of 35 to 44?

    We know you didn't place 1, 2, 3, or 4. That means that you placed anywhere from 5th to 8th if there were 35 entries, or from 5th to 11th if there were 44 entries.

    That's all you know know. You can't know whether you missed it by .1 or 3 points. Maybe the top four scored straight 9s. You can't assume anything about the range of scores in that top 25% from the information that RWA gives out.

  9. More info and helpful I think:

    Eventually, they will post the GH 2010 statistics showing how many entries there were in each category. (Right now the 2009 stats are up.) Once she has that number, she can figure out how many entries would be in the top 1/4, subtract 4 (finalists), and then figure she's maybe in the middle of the remainder. At least it will give her a concrete number to work with, even though she can never know for sure how many of those entries scored between 37.8 and 39.8. She can assume at least some did.


  10. Oh, wait. My post above isn't entirely accurate.

    We know that you don't appear to have placed last in your quartile (that's whoever scored 37.8, I think). You placed anywhere from 5th to 10th, depending on how many entries there were.


    Finalists are top 10% to maximum of 8. If only 4 finalists in a category, top quartile would be top 10. So she was in top 10 but not top 4.

    I saw a breakdown somewhere of the # of entries in each category over the past few years. Was interesting. Strong Romantic Elements and Paranormal each had well over 90 entries each, so less than 10% final in those bigger categories... Whereas in some of the smaller categories, they might have rounded up to get to the 10%... so, for example, if 36 entries and 4 finalists, it was more than 10% that finaled. Was interesting to me, if for no other reason than to see which of the categories that typically have 8 finalists get the most entries...
    Wish I'd kept a link to that info... it might of been on one of the past years' GH finalists blogs?

    Not sure one can read too much into whether that makes it harder to final in some categories... but did make me think if I had a book I could enter in say, either SRE or RS, I'd go for RS, just to up the odds, slightly... But once you've got a good entry, it's all a crap shoot of getting the right 5 judges, anyway.

    I was going to just type that if you're in the top quartile, you had a chance to final... but I've had books in the second quartile that got 3 9's and two terrible scores. Same ms finaled in next year with 4 9's and one terrible score. So, I'd still like to think that if I'd had one different judge, I probably would've finaled that first year, too... Hence my crap shoot comment. Not saying we shouldn't all be very, very proud. Just saying that finaling doesn't make us any better than many of the ones that didn't final.

    D'Ann: This is a really great group of writers. Very helpful and ready to share what they know. -J.

  12. D'ANN: I posted this to your Censorship blog by mistake! Sorry! I feel obligated to pass along all their comments which are quite informative:

    Here's what RWA says about the scores on the GH Rules page of their website under Finalist Announcement and Return of Scores: "The top 10 percent of each category's entries (based on number of qualified entries received), with a limit of eight (nine in case of tie), will advance to the final round . . . ."

    RWA appears to use standard rounding procedures (four and below round down/five and above round up). I'm basing this on the 2009 GH stats on the website.
    Contemporary Series: Suspense/Adventure: 29 - rounded up to 3 finalists
    Regency Historical Romance: 62 - rounded down to 6 finalists
    Young Adult Romance: 46 - rounded up to 5 finalists
    (Inspirational had 40 entries, so no rounding was needed. All the other categories had over 80, so they had the cap of 8 finalists - or 9 if there was a tie.)

    So, for your friend's category to have four finalists, there would have been between 35 - 44 entrants. Since she's in the top quartile, she would be one of the top 9-11 entrants in her category. Removing 4 for those who finaled, her total score of 39.8 would place her somewhere between 5th and 11th in her category, assuming . Since the lower margin of the category is 37.8, that puts her a full two points above it, so I think it's safe to say she wasn't the lowest score in the quartile. Therefore, that would place her somewhere in the 5th to 8th (assuming minimum entries)/5th-10th spot(assuming maximum entries), which is a very good showing. My congratulations to her.

  13. You have entered contests and you are out there working hard to get your writing noticed. You will get there.

    The scores tell you that you are getting closer and closer to your goals.

  14. I don't think it matters whether you were 5th or 7th. In lieu of comments, the actual individual score are what matter. Focus on the 7.8, which is what someone thought of YOUR story, as opposed to how you stack up against someone ELSE'S story.

  15. Wow!
    What a nice bunch of comments! A HUGE thank you to all of you who came by! I especially want to thank Jillian for all her hard work for me.
    Gail, that was so cool of you to come by. Thank you.
    Nan, you're so sweet!
    Kristi, Christi, Shawn, Carol you gurls are the best. Jo, so nice of you to come by.
    Monica, your post made me feel so good.
    And, Jamie, thank you so much for your insight.
    I really appreciate all of you so much!

  16. D'Ann, never have entered, but you did finish in the top 1/4 so just look at it that way.

  17. D'Ann,
    Being a newspaper publisher, I am not familar with the contests you've been entering, but I do know good writing and your's is good! Keep on writing, you're not far from being published!

  18. G. Jillian, I wrote the blog that covered recent GH entry statistics. You can read it here: