Frequently Asked Questions–Contest Edition

Eligibility
Q: Who is eligible to enter the Colorado Gold Contest?
A:  Unpublished writers are eligible, as well as independently published (self-published) writers and traditionally published writers under limited circumstances. 

Q: Who is not eligible?
A: Any writer who has earned $250 from the sales of novel-length fiction in the last 10 years is not eligible to enter the Colorado Gold Contest.

Q: Can I enter if I have an agent?
A: Yes. Be aware that several of our final judges are agents and plan accordingly.

Q: Do I have to be a member of RMFW to enter?
A: No. Members and non-members are equally welcome.

Q: Can I still win if I don't attend the conference?
A: Yes. Your prize money and certificate will be mailed to you after the banquet.

Q: I've had a memoir published through a traditional press. Am I eligible?
A: Yes. Our contest is concerned with fiction.

Q: I've published several short stories in anthologies. Can I enter with my novel?
A: Yes. The only restriction is if you've had novel-length fiction accepted for publication.

Q: Can I enter a manuscript that won in a different contest?
A: Yes. But if your manuscript won its category in Colorado Gold you can’t enter it again.

Submitting
Q: Can I enter the best chapters from my novel?
A: No. You must enter the FIRST 4000 words. If these words are not the best, make them the best.

Q: Should my book be finished before I enter the contest?
A: It is recommended, but it isn’t required.

Q: I already sent in my manuscript but have made some changes to it. Can I resubmit?
A: Sorry, no. We wouldn't be doing you any favors letting you update your submission as you don't get the chance when submitting to publishing professionals. Make sure your entry is ready before you submit. Be aware we might send your entry back to you because of formatting errors that make it difficult to work with on our end. However, if you wish you may ask for your manuscript to be removed from consideration. (Applies until contest closes May 31st; after that, it will be assigned to the judges and won't be removed.) You will not be refunded your original contest entry fee, however. You may then resubmit as a completely new entry. In short, double-check everything before you hit "send."

Formatting
Q: Can I use Times New Roman font?
A: Yes. For the first time, the Colorado Gold is requiring entries to be submitted in Times New Roman.

Q: My chapter ends a few words beyond the allowable word count. Can I submit the whole chapter?
A: Try to keep it to 4000 words and 750 words for the synopsis. You might have to do some rewriting to make this work. The judges won't be required to read past 4000 words so make your entry end where you want it to. The Pitch doesn’t add to your word count, but keep it brief, less than 50 words.

Judging
Q: What are the judges' qualifications?
A: All of our judges are experienced writers. Many have placed or won in our contest or other contests. Many are published. All are experienced in the methods of critique. All are members in good standing with RMFW.

Q: How do I contact my judges?
A: Send an email to contest@rmfw.org and your comments will be forwarded to your judge. Please indicate your entry number and letter, A, B, or if you had a third read, C. Feel free to add your own email to your correspondence and if your judge wishes to contact you, he or she may.

Q: What if I don't like what the judges have to say?
A: You might be disappointed in the feedback you receive. Bear in mind, they are opinions and not absolute truths. All successful writers were told things they didn't want to hear about their writing at some point. Remember that you are a professional, and try not to take it personally.

Q: I showed my scoresheet to a professional in the writing industry and he/she said this judge was incompetent. Why can’t I get a refund?
A: We don’t issue refunds regardless of the source of the discontent. When you enter our contest you agree to abide by the judge's decisions. Professionals don't always agree but we do try to deliver what we promised.

Q: What do I get for my $30?
A: Your pages will be read and evaluated by at least 2 judges. We ask our judges to comment on the scoresheet to explain the scores. Some judges will make comments in the body of your manuscript and synopsis. Some will give writing feedback, some will do copy editing.

Q: For the $55?
A: In addition to the above feedback, one of your judges will prepare a written critique of at least 1 1/2 single-spaced pages. The critique evaluates the submission's strengths and weaknesses and gives suggestions for strengthening the work.

Q: Can I pay by check?
A: Yes. Select the pay by check option on the payment page at the end of the submission process. Then mail your payment to:
RMFW Contest
P.O. Box 711
Montrose, CO, 81402

Post-contest
Q: It's August 5th and I haven't heard from anyone. Does this mean I didn't final?
A: Yes. Our aim this year is to notify the finalists by August 4th. If that deadline changes, we will announce it on the contest page of our website and on our other media.

Q: If I didn't final, when can I see my scoresheets?
A: The committee will review your entry as soon as we can after the finalists are announced and send it back to you promptly. We go alphabetically by title, so adjust your timeline accordingly.

Q: What if I have trouble reading or opening my scoresheets?
A: Reply to the email that was used to return your scoresheets. List your problem and we will attempt to remedy the situation.

More questions? Email us at contest@rmfw.org.

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