Leeds bookseller, Amy Richards, from Words & Kisses, has won the Romantic Bookseller of the Year award for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual Industry Awards for 2022. The awards celebrate the hard work and talent of any person, group or organisation who has championed the broad genre of romantic fiction in a positive way.
Amy has been running Words & Kisses for three years, first from her spare room and now from a custom-built office in the garden (affectionately nicknamed The Smut Hut). After picking up her first romance back in 2015, she became a romance novel evangelist and set up Words & Kisses to spread the love for her new favourite genre. Words & Kisses is the UK’s only romance-exclusive bookshop and subscription service, stocking a diverse range of curated traditionally published and indie picks.
She commented, ‘It’s not an exaggeration to say that romance books changed my life, and getting to work with and champion the romance genre is a dream come true for me. The feeling when someone says that a book you’ve sent them has made their day, helped them through a tough time or become a new favourite is like nothing else. It is wild to me that this time last year, I’d just quit my job to focus on Words & Kisses – it’s been an incredible year and this is truly the highlight. I am so honoured by this award and the recognition of the RNA.’
Laura James, the RNA Industry Awards organiser, added, ‘Congratulations to the 2022 RNA Industry Awards winners. Thank you for your love, passion and continued support for romantic fiction.’
Sue Moorcroft, Head Judge for the RNA Industry Awards, also congratulated Amy at Words & Kisses. ‘With such a wonderful set of shortlists it was always certain that the judges of this year’s Industry Awards would return an outstanding list of winners. Choosing between excellent candidates was an exacting task and I enjoyed being a part of the stimulating discussion around each and every nomination. My thanks to my fellow judges for the hard work and detailed research that went into the selection process, and to Laura James and Melanie Griffiths from the RNA for their efficient organisation. They made my job easy. Most of all – congratulations to the winners of these wonderful awards!’
The awards have been held for the past eight years and are highly respected in the UK publishing industry. The finalists are nominated by the full and probationary membership of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, with a panel of independent judges selecting the shortlists and winners. The award categories for this year were as follows: The Romantic Bookseller of the Year, Inclusion Award, Indie Champion of the Year, Library or Librarian of the Year, Indie Editor of the Year, Cover Designer of the Year, Narrator of the Year, Media Star of the Year, Agent of the Year, and Publisher and/or Editor of the Year.
The winners of the ten awards were announced during the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Winter Party and Industry Awards ceremony, which was held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City on Friday 11th November 2022.
This year’s awards were sponsored by ProWritingAid, a manuscript editing software programme with in-app video learning for writers.