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The First Annual Ripped Bodice Romance Excellence in Romance Awards

With the closing of Romantic Times in 2017, and the cancelling of the 2019 RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America this year, many romance writers and aspiring romance writers wondered if there would be any awards for romance writing this year.

Luckily two eccentric, romance-loving sisters had been working on an alternative award, which premiered just in time—the inaugural Ripped Bodice Awards for Excellence in Romantic Fiction.

Every year, 16 judges made up of romance authors, experts, bloggers, podcasters, booksellers, journalists, and librarians, and including Lea and Bea Koch – the romance-loving sisters -- select a handful of books to be judged for their awards.

Unlike the RITAs, there are no categories or restrictions on length or publication type and authors are not required to submit their stories, or pay any fees, in order to be considered.

Leah Koch explained, “Categories limit your ability to judge the best work. Perhaps the sixth best historical novel was better than the best paranormal novel. We want to give our committee as much freedom as possible to truly identify the best work of the year.”

She went on to explain the awards were inspired by the New York Film Critics Circle Awards where 47 members nominate a wide variety of films due to the diversity and amount of judges.

“Instead of having judges read specific books, we anticipate that through their regular jobs in the industry, they will read most major works throughout the year. With 17 judges who each read between 100 and 300 books a year, we’re guaranteed to have eyeballs on at least 1,000 unique titles.”

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