Published Author Contests
Inspirational Readers Choice. Deadline March 1.
2014 Carol Awards. Opens January 2. Deadline March 15.
Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence: Published. March 15.
National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award . Opens March 1. Deadline April 1.
Unpublished Author Contests
Great Beginnings. Deadline March 1. Published and Unpublished authors. First five pages. All first place entrants recieve a $10 gift card.
Contemporary: Elaine Spencer - The Knight Agency
Historical:Pam Ahearn, The Ahearn Agency
Paranormal: Victoria Curran - Harlequin
Mystery/Suspense: Mary Sue Seymour - The Seymour Agency
Young Adult/New Adult: Judith Engracia - Liza Dawson Associates
Fab Five. Deadline March 1. An entry consists of the opening pages of your unpublished novel, up to 2500 words. No synopsis.
Attention!! FAB FIVE UPDATE: With less than a week to go before our contest deadline of March 1, the Wisconsin RWA Fab 5 Contest is low on entries in the following categories: YA, Series Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Inspirational, and Single Title. If you're on the fence about entering, it's a great contest, because each category has 5 finalists!
Historical: Sarah Murphy, Ballantine Books
Inspirational: Mary Sue Seymour, Seymour Agency
Paranormal: Whitney Ross, Tor
Romantic Suspense: Adam Wilson, Pocket Books
Series Contemporary (L/S): Rebecca Strauss, DeFiore and Company
Single Title: Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary
Women’s Fiction: Lizzie Poteet, St. Martins Press
Young Adult: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger, Inc.
2014 ACFW Genesis Contest. Opens January 2, Closes on March 15, 2014. First 15 pages of manuscript and one page, single spaced synopsis. See webpage for finalist judges.
Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence: Unpublished. Deadline March 15. First 5,000 words and judged synopsis.
Mystery/Suspense Categories and Judges
Contemporary Series -Allison Lyons, Harlequin Intrigue; Pattie Steel-Perkins, Steele-Perkins Literary Agency
Historical-Katherine Pelz, Berkley Sensation; Elizabeth Trupin-Pulli, JET Literary Associates
Inspirational-Tina James, Harlequin / Love Inspired Suspense; Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency
Mainstream- Kendel Flaum, Henery Press; Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary Agency
Paranormal/TT/Fut-Brenda Chin, Belle Books; Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Associates
Single Title-Amanda Bergeron,Harper Collins; Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Touch of Magic. Deadline March 15. Entry includes an .rtf file of the beginning of a manuscript (including prologue, if applicable) not to exceed 25 pages total. Optionally, entrants may include a synopsis at the end of the manuscript, not to exceed 3 pages (meaning an entry that includes a synopsis cannot exceed 28 pages total). If included, the synopsis is for judge reference only and will not be scored.
Historical: Emilia Pisani–Simon and Schuster
Series Contemporary: Gail Chasan–Harlequin
Single Title: Katherine Pelz–Berkeley
Paranormal: Kerri Buckley–Carina Press
Romantic Suspense: Lizzi Poteet–St. Martin’s
Inspirational: Raela Schoeherr–Bethany
The Royal Ascot. Deadline April 1. Open to unpublished authors and published writers seeking representation and/or a publisher. All entries must have at least partial Regency (Late Georgian) setting, broadly defined: within the United Kingdom between 1780 and 1840.
$100.00 and a certificate for Grand Prize Winner
$25.00 and a certificate for all Finalists
Grand Prize Winner and Finalists will be featured in all publicity.
Entry consists of the beginning of manuscript, maximum 7000 words in the text. Please note we are looking for openings that would normally be about 1 to 2 chapters long, with or without prologue.First Round Judges: Three judges, at least one published in Regency Romance. Lowest score will be dropped. In the event of a tie, the third score will determine which entry moves on to the final round.
Categories will be used to determine first round judges only.
Regency Historical (longer Regency or Mainstream Regency-set)
Hot Regency (Very sensual to Erotic Regency, at author’s discretion)
Wild Regency (Paranormal, Time Travel, other similar Regency)
Sweet & Mild Regency (Traditional, Inspirational, Young Adult or other without explicit sex)
Final Round Judges:
Janet Clementz, Soul Mate
Kate Dresser, HQN
Jill Limber, Boroughs Publishing
Esi Sogah, Kensington
MacKenzie Fraser-Bub, Trident Media Group
Rebecca Strauss, DeFiore & Co.
Fool For Love. Deadline April 1. First chapters (up to 35 pages maximum). A prologue may be included as long as the entry does not exceed 35 pages. $5 discount for entrants who serve as a first round judge in a category they have not entered. ($5 maximum discount per entrant)
All categories, except the Published Author category, are open to entrants who have not published and not contracted in any novel-length fiction within the past three (3) years or as of April 1, 2011. Authors who have published or contracted for novel-length fiction within the past three years, including e-books or books published with recognized and non-recognized RWA publishers are considered published and are eligible for the Published Author category only and no other categories. The actual entries, however, must never have been published nor be under contract prior to the deadline of April 1, 2014.
Categories and Final Round Judges:
Final Judge: Laura Barth, Associate Editor, Harlequin Blaze and American Romance
Final Judge: Melissa Jeglinski, The Knight Agency
Final Judge: Elizabeth Poteet, St. Martin's Press
Final Judge: Madeleine Colavita, Editorial Assistant, Grand Central Publishing
Final Judge: Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency
Final Judge: Jill Marsal, Agent, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC
Final Judge: Molly Ker Hawn, The Bent Agency
Final Judge: Alicia Condon, Editorial Director, Kensington Books
Open to entrants who are previously published or contracted in any book-length fiction. Romantic novels of any sub-genre (entry
All categories that fail to receive at least 10 entries will be cancelled and the entries and entry fees returned.
Sheila Contest. Contest opens March 3 and closes April 13. Check out this video for the Sheila Contest. Participation is open to all RWA members who are unpublished, self-published, and published. The entry must be the author’s original work, unpublished in any format (including author’s website, self-publication, ebook, mass market, etc.) and not under contract when submitted to the contest. Entry consists of a manuscript and synopsis that may not exceed 35 total pages. For the Novella Category ONLY: entries must not exceed a total of 20 pages including a synopsis up to 3 pages long.
CATEGORIES AND FINAL JUDGES:
Single Title Romance – Emilia Pisani, Gallery Books
Historical (short or long and Regencies) – Elizabeth Poteet, St. Martin’s Press
Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal – Megha Parekh, Grand Central Publishing
Women's Fiction with Romantic Elements– Madeleine Colavita, Grand Central
Romantic Suspense – Katherine Pelz, The Berkley Publishing Group
Young Adult – Wendy Loggia, Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books
Novella – Jodi Warshaw, Amazon Publishing
Other Contests & Writing Opportunities
Here's the complete 2014 line up for Chicken Soup Submissions.
Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Entry must be received by March 2, 2014 at 11:59:59 p.m. (U.S. Eastern Standard Time). The contest is limited to 10,000 Entries, and we will stop accepting Entries after we have received 10,000 Entries. Each Entry must include one of the following genre selections and will be categorized accordingly for judging throughout the Contest: General Fiction,. Mystery/Thriller, Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, Romance or Young Adult Fiction
Seekerville Proudly Introduces You to Our March Contest Diva! Sara Ella
2013 ACFW First Impressions—1st Place (Young Adult Category)
2013 Hudson Valley RWA Hook, Line and Sinker—3rd Place
I am fairly new to the world of writing contests. The first one I ever entered was the ACFW Mile High Scribes 2013 One-Sheet Contest. I had no idea what I was doing so it was no surprise I was not selected as a finalist. You may be asking yourself, “Isn’t placing or winning the whole point of entering contests?”
Yes and no.
I say “yes” only because the longer you remain in the running, the more professional feedback you receive. In the end, feedback is what it’s all about. The more eyes that see your manuscript, whether in whole or in parts, the wider range of suggestions, compliments, and critiques you have to help you along the journey. You may have one judge who loves your work and another who detests it. You have to take it all in stride and consider which suggestions to take and leave. Contests definitely help you develop a thicker skin. For example, I won first place in the YA category for the 2013 First Impressions contest, so you would think every judge loved it. On the contrary, I had one judge who gave me some really negative feedback. For some reason or another, my story just didn’t resonate with that judge.
Remember, not everyone will love your book. Everyone has different tastes and preferences, which is why contests are so helpful. When you enter a contest, you are getting a little glimpse of what it’s like to be published. While the judges are all professionals, they are still just readers looking for the same thing we all look for.
A good story.
I enter contests not only to gain experience and hone my writing skills, but also because they give me real and tangible deadlines. As an unpublished author, I have the freedom to work on my novel at my leisure. It is this very luxury that helped me realize I needed a real deadline if I was ever going to finish. Personally, I work best under pressure, with deadlines someone else has set. I can make lists and tell myself something is due on a certain date, but unless I am accountable to someone else, I have a hard time putting my behind in the chair.
The big fish of contests for unpublished authors (in my opinion) is the ACFW Genesis Contest. The deadline is March 15th, which gives me exactly 43 days from the time I am writing this to finish my novel. Because of this deadline I choose to write, even when it’s the last thing I want to be doing. I stay up late even when I’m dead tired. I write during my toddler’s nap time, even when I should really be napping myself. I write instead of catching up on my favorite shows. The life of a writer requires hard work and sacrifice, and yes, it requires deadlines. Whether you are published or not, I believe real and tangible deadlines are needed if you want your manuscript to include two of the best words ever written.
This month we have a Glendale, Arizona, Public Library Bag full of surprises up for grabs. All you have to do is comment.
Say hi! Share you contest goals, your favorite reader or writer quotes, or your Speedbo goals. Remember: Speedbo starts tonight at midnight. Sign up now to be eligible for the Starting Line-Up $25 Amazon Gift Card. Details here.
That's it! Now go forth and contest.
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