When the Dream Doesn’t Come True

If you’re an avid romance reader, you’ve probably heard about the Romance Writers of America’s annual RITA® awards competition. Essentially, thousands of romance novels are submitted and judged by multiple, random members (typically 5-7 judges per book, I believe). If you enter, you must also volunteer to judge, and each book is graded on a 10-point scale.

Needless to say, it’s a massive undertaking. I entered my 2016 releases, Worth the Trouble, Worth the Risk, and Secretly Hers, in the relevant categories for each of those books. I’m proud of all three stories and each has also enjoyed mostly positive feedback. While I didn’t have an expectation of making the finals, I did have hopes.

Today, RWA announced the 2017 finalists. For hours, thousands of romance writers were sitting by their phones, hoping for that call. More than a few were probably frustrated by the stray telemarketer call, too. I tried to put it out of my mind and focus on work, but that wasn’t easy. I kept refreshing the RWA page to see how the categories were shaping up, but as each hour passed, the fact that my dreams for a nod would not come true this year sank in.

It’s never easy to face defeat, especially such a public one. But then I think of all of the wonderful books that were released last year, many of which also did not make the cut, and I realize that I am not alone. I know the loss of that recognition isn’t a wholesale rejection of my work. I think of all the lovely fan mail I received this past year, and how much I adored writing those books. And I remember that I typed “THE END” on yet another manuscript today.

So, I’ll be cheering for my friends who got good news (Michelle Major for Christmas on Crimson Mountain, and Virginia Kantra for her excellent book, Carolina Dreaming), and for one of my favorite books of last year, Duke of Sin, by Elizabeth Hoyt, which also made the list.

I will rally tomorrow (after I finish my little pity-party) and look forward to celebrating the winners in July, when we all gather for the annual conference, where we learn from each other how to write, how to navigate this competitive profession, and how to pick ourselves up and get back in the ring. There’s always next year, after all!

But for right now, I wonder if you’d make some authors happy by sharing one or two or your favorite romance novels from 2016?!


4 thoughts on “When the Dream Doesn’t Come True

  1. Monica

    The title of this post should be Dreams Do Come True! Think of all the amazing things you dreamed about in the last 5 years and they all have become a reality. Your accomplishments don’t need to be measured by an award or book sales but by fulfilling your dreams. You are an inspiration to your fans, passion and hard work have led to your amazing dreams coming true!! I am proud and in awe of you my friend.

    1. msjamiebeck@gmail.com Post author

      Wow, I couldn’t ask for a nicer reply to a blog post. Thank you for the reminder, the praise, and the support! 🙂

  2. Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I read a lot of wonderful books in 2016 and none of them made the list. You have nothing to be ashamed of or feel sorry for. Look at all that you have already accomplished and you are in the company of a number of other wonderful authors. So be proud of yourself and say I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and people do like my books!!

    1. msjamiebeck@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks, Eileen. I appreciate the compliments, too. Your advice is basically what I worked around to doing. It’s just that momentary disappointment can put a temporary damper on one’s mood and make you forget the “big picture.” 🙂 I’m over it and digging in to start book 3 of my new series. Wish me luck!


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