RWA -- Romance Writers of America
Although there's been a lot of talk lately about attending RWA, technically what we attended was the RWA annual national convention. RWA itself is an organization, one of the largest, most inclusive, in the publishing industry made up of over 10,000 writers of romantic fiction (both published and unpublished--a tenth of whom don't even live in America) and related industry professionals. It's an extremely well-run entity with a corporate staff in Houston and a board of directors spread out around the country. In addition, it's comprised of over 145 local, on-line, and special interest chapters which are a fabulous way for writers to meet with other writers, to attend craft and business workshops, find critique partners and mentors, and to learn the ins and outs of the publishing business.
Want to know more? Go here: www.rwanational.org
The RITA is an award -- the Romance industry's answer to the Oscar or Emmy for the best in published romantic fiction. There are twelve categories and each book entered is judged by at least five published members of RWA. More than a thousand books are judged every year and only twelve RITAs awarded.
Not all books get entered. It's generally up to the author to send in the applications and fees, and not all authors enter. Most, not all, publishers supply the books.
Golden Heart --
This award is the equivalent of the RITA for the unpublished writers and is judged in much the same way--five judges, more if you're one of the finalists. Only the first fifty or so pages are judged in this one, but the book has to be complete and a full version submitted in case one of the final round editor judges wishes to see it. I actually made my first sale as a result of this contest in 2006. My entry, ultimately titled The Dark Gate, was bought by an editor for Harlequin's brand new (at the time) Nocturne line after she judged it in the final round of the Golden Heart.
RT -- Romantic Times
RT started out as a magazine, once upon a time, filled with reviews of romance novels and articles about romance writers. A few years back, they expanded beyond the romance genre and changed the name to RT Book Reviews. In addition, they run an annual reader convention where readers, writers, aspiring cover models, and publishers gather to celebrate their mutual love of books.
NINC -- Novelists, Inc.
NINC is an organization of published authors that cross all genres, not just romance.
PASIC -- Published Author Special Interest Chapter of RWA
FF&P -- the Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal chapter of RWA
KOD -- Kiss of Death, the Mystery/Suspense chapter of RWA
This list is by no means complete and only scratches the surface, touching on only that part of publishing that I'm personally involved with - the romance side of things.
Any questions? Just ask!