Our chapter has a fairly new award that we give out called the Helping Hands Industry Award. This award is for a person in the romance industry who has gone above and beyond the call of duty for our Orange County Chapter.
Several years ago, we decided to revamp our Published Author’s contest which was previously known as the Orange Rose Contest for Published authors. The contest was doing okay, but we wanted to make it into something that could potentially become a romance household, easily recognizable contest name much the same as the RITA and National Reader’s Choice Awards contests. A contest that could get author’s names in front of the influential people who buy and sell our work. We also wanted to create a fund raiser for our chapter that had the potential to grow and sustain us.
Through a committee of Sandy Chvostal, Jen Apodaca, Marianne Donley, Michelle Thorne, Bobbie Cimo, Sue Phillips, Lori Pyne, and myself, we came up with the idea of a contest where the judges were industry people who could have an impact on a writer’s career. Booksellers and librarians in the first round, and Book Buyers in the final round.
And when we thought of Book Buyers, the very first name that came to all of our minds was Sue Grimshaw. She’s a legend! Not only is Sue the main romance buyer for Borders Group, Inc., she genuinely loves our genre. She’s an amazing, intelligent businesswoman, and she’s an amazing, powerful advocate for romance writers everywhere.
When I explained the new contest we were launching to Sue, and asked if she would be our Top Pick final judge, there wasn’t even a moment of hesitation. She said “Yes, I’d be happy to help!”
What Sue Grimshaw has brought to our Book Buyer’s Best Contest is invaluable to those who have entered and to those who have won. Her generosity and willingness to give her time has helped grow our contest, and therefore benefited our chapter greatly over the past few years.
I know that RWA National honored Sue with the Vivian Stephens Industry Award this year at conference a very, very well deserved recognition.
And now it’s our turn. There are silent heroes all around us and often we forget to say “thank you.” So, I’d like to now say a heart-felt thank you to Sue Grimshaw, and present her with our Orange County chapter’s Helping Hands Industry Award.