Offered through the Florida Writer’s Association (FWA), the RPLA is a prestigious writing competition that recognizes extraordinary works in 27 genre-categories, including Mystery and Crime Fiction. For the 2019 RPLA, only works with a first copyright date of 2017, 2018, or 2019 are eligible for entry.
The judging process includes eight steps, multiple administrators and rubric coordinators, and some 200 judges. Qualifying entries are submitted to two initial judges. These judges score and comment on a 100-point scale. If the combined scores of the two recorded initial-judge rubrics total 170 or more points, the entry is a “semifinalist.” Semifinalist entries are sent to a final judge. The score of the final judge is doubled and added to the initial scores. If the total score is 340 or greater, the entry is a “finalist.” Only finalists are eligible for awards, which are given to the top 3 scorers in each genre-category.
Winners will be announced and presented at the annual RPLA Awards Banquet on October 19, 2019, at the Hilton Orlando/Altamonte Springs. All genre winners receive an acrylic “book” trophy. First- and second-place winners of published books receive gold and silver seals, respectively, to affix to their book covers.
Each year, winners are announced for the first time at the awards banquet during the annual FWA conference after which the information is published in The Florida Writer magazine, on the Florida Writers website (floridawriters.net), and through a variety of other means.