The 2016 RITA Finalist Reading Challenge


The 2016 RITA Finalist Reading Challenge

The RITA is a contest put on by the Romance Writers of America that is basically the Oscars of the Romantic Fiction world. If you write romance this is the award you want listed in your bio.

 “The RITA is the highest award of distinction in romance fiction. It recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas. Up to 2,000 romance novels are entered in the RITA competition each year. 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. The winners will be announced at a black-tie awards ceremony held at the annual RWA Conference.

This years conference will be held in San Diego, California with the award ceremony happening on July 16 between 8-10pm PT.

For further information on the finalist (who their publishers and editors were) and a list of previous winners check out 2016 RITA Finalist Announcements page.

Each year I try to read at least one book from each category to see what the judges and romance industry as a whole might be looking for. This year I decided to turn it into a game.

Warning: The 2016 RITA Finalist Reading Challenge is not for the faint of heart.

Here are the rules:

  1. You must read each and every book listed in every section. That is a total of 85 books! You can buy the book, borrow it through kindle unlimited (if that is an option) or borrow it through the library and yes, Audiobook versions count as reading the book.
  2. If you’ve already read a book you do not need to reread it. Just skip to #3.
  3. You must share on at least 1 social media outlet what book you are reading and when you are reading it. Use #RITAGH and #curvyreader in the text so that I can follow along with you.
  4. After reading each book you must either leave a starred or written review on Amazon or GoodReads for said book, write a review blog post or do a review video on Youtube.
  5. Once you have read every book in each category publicly state who you think or hope will win the RITA for each category (don’t forget to include #RITAGH and #curvyreader in your text) either on a social media account, a blog post or a Youtube video. The categories are: Best First Book, Contemporary Romance: Long, Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length, Contemporary Romance: Short, Erotic Romance, Historical Romance: Long, Historical Romance: Short, Inspirational Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romance Novella, Romantic Suspense, & Young Adult.
  6. You must have your guesses shared by the start of the award ceremony on July 16 @ 8pm PT. That means, as of today, you have 100 days to read 85 books. So, in order to succeed you need to average about 9 books every 10 days. Definitely doable don’t you think??
  7. After we find out who won, post on a social media account how many of your guesses you got right. (Don’t forget to use #RITAGH and #curvyreader)

You might be wondering, “Why on earth would anyone want to do this?”, and while I can’t speak for anyone else I can list the reasons why I think this is a good idea.

  • I am a writer in the romance field and I feel it’s important to know what kind of stories and what style of writing the judges and romance industry as a whole is currently looking for. I feel the RITA finalists are a good representation of that.
  • It’s exciting to know who is a finalist and guess who might win but unless you’ve already read every book listed you can’t give a fair guess. Therefore the need to read each one arises.
  • By buying or borrowing the books, publicly sharing what you are reading, and leaving a review you are doing the best thing you could ever do for any author. Even if you didn’t care too much for the book, as long as your review is respectful it helps. If you are a fellow writer you know how important this is to the author. If you are a reader just know that the more romance books that get talked about, the more publishers look to produce them, the more writers get a chance to have their story published. It’s a win win for everyone.
  • As voracious readers we tend to get into reading ruts where we only read from certain genres or certain themes. This challenge is a good way to read a few books in genres you wouldn’t normally pick up and potentially find a new favorite author in the process.

I know 85 books in 100 days is a bit stressful. Not to mention the potential cost of such a challenge. If you would like to join the challenge but don’t think you’ll finish in time and/or can’t afford to purchase so many books, don’t worry. You can still participate. For any book you didn’t get to or couldn’t purchase or borrow just read the blurbs and any chapter previews (if there are any) and base your guesses off of that. Then continue with rules 3, 5, 6 & 7.

If you are one of the authors listed below, come join the fun! You know you are dying to scope out your competition. The only rule for you guys is that you can’t list your guesses because that would be weird. However, sharing what books you’ve read from the list below with your fellow authors  and readers would be a great show of camaraderie and support.  You could also share this challenge with your readers to see if they would like to participate.

Leave a comment below to let me know you are up to the challenge!

The 2016 RITA Finalists

Best First Book

Contemporary Romance: Long

Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

Contemporary Romance: Short

Erotic Romance

Historical Romance: Long

Historical Romance: Short

Inspirational Romance

Paranormal Romance

Romance Novella

Romantic Suspense

Young Adult Romance

Let the reading begin!

Stay Tuned

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Monday 9am “Tax Deductions for Writers and Bloggers”Let's Chat Graphic

  • What do you think of the books and authors that made the list?
  • Have you read any of the books listed above? If so, what did you think of it?
  • Are you brave enough to join the 2016 RITA Finalist Reading Challenge? If so, let me know in the comments below!
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About Darla G. Denton, Writer

I am a Contemporary Romance Writer for Curvy women and the men who love them.
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7 Responses to The 2016 RITA Finalist Reading Challenge

  1. Justine says:

    Okay, so I accept this challenge, but only for the Historical categories because 1) that’s what I write and 2) I’m trying to get my own book done and can’t read 85 books in 100 days. But I am curious to see what my (hopefully future) competition is up to! Plus, some of the authors nominated are authors I enjoy!

    I would like to give a personal shout-out to my fellow Desert Rose RWA members Leslie Jones and Erin Quinn for their nominations. Way to go, ladies, and good luck in San Diego!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marnee Blake says:

    What a cool idea! I’ll abstain, as I’m a finalist in the Best First Book category. But, I think this is awesome! I’ll share along in all my places. Thanks for doing this! Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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