Contest Rules for the Romance Genre Contest for Aspiring Authors


Author and Creative Coach in Training with Barany Consulting, Carol Malone is pleased to announce the Romance Genre Contest for Aspiring Authors (RGCAA). The winner will have the opportunity to have their first 15 pages of their novel reviewed by a creative coach and content editor in training, Carol Malone.

Who this contest is for?

Beginning romance novelists who are unpublished (traditionally or self-published).

Why we’re offering this contest

Beginning novelists receive expert feedback and get a positive boost.

This contest format provides unpublished authors who are starting out on their writing journey the experience and prestige of having their writing evaluated by a real editor.

We offer this contest to help you discover if you are on the right track, if your ideas have merit, and if you are learning effective ways to approach creating a novel.

Note: Even if you are not the Grand Prize winner, you’ll be given some generic feedback on your work and could actually win the Hero Award which has as prizes: a $10 Amazon gift card, a Hero Award Certificate, as well as an autographed copy of Fight Card Ladies Night by Carol Malone.

How to submit to this contest

Electronic submissions only.

1. Please submit a 1-page synopsis of your novel, even if your book isn’t finished yet.
2. Then submit the first fifteen (15) pages of your novel by December 18. (Details below.)
3. Fill out the form (details below), pay via Paypal by December 18, and you’re all set.

Good luck!



Q: Can I enter more than one book?

A: Yes, you can! The fee to enter is $10.00 per entry.


Q: What is the deadline for sending in my entries?

A: The deadline is Friday, December 18, 9pm Pacific/12midnight Eastern. (Use this timezone converter to figure out the time in your area.)


Q: Why enter a contest for a critique?

A: To get detailed and specific feedback from an experienced author and editor. Read more at this article on Writer’s Fun Zone.


Q: How valuable is feedback to an author?
A: Very. Priceless in fact. Read more at this article on Writer’s Fun Zone.


Q: Why is writing romance different than writing other genres?

A: As you may have guessed, writing romance is different than writing other genres. Romance as specific elements that other genres don’t have. Read more at this article on Writer’s Fun Zone here.



One Grand Prize Winner!

Your Prizes, if your submission wins the contest:

  • You will have two 1-hour coaching calls with Carol to ask her anything about writing procedures and tips, or just discuss your submission in depth.
  • Your pages will receive an in-depth critique.
  • You’ll received valuable feedback on hooking the reader, strong characters, emotional dialogue, strong romantic elements, plotting, and content.
  • You’ll receive extensive editor notes regarding overall structure.
  • There will be a separate judging on how terrific a hero you’ve written, so the hero and the heroine must meet in the first 15 pages if you want to be eligible to receive a Hero Award.
  • You’ll receive a $25.00 Amazon Gift Certificate.

Category Romance Submission Descriptions

You can send in your entry from any one of the following categories:

  • CONTEMPORARY: Novels set in the today’s world with today’s romantic-type situations.
  • HISTORICAL: Novels featuring romance in time periods other than today.
  • PARANORMAL/FANTASY: Novels that mix romance with elements of the supernatural.
  • SUSPENSE: Novels where a romance plays a significant part of the story, but other themes like suspense, mystery, and who-done-it will also feature prominently.
  • YOUNG ADULT: Novels with a strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers.
  • OTHER: You have perhaps created a new sub-genre of romance. As long as it’s not from the below list, we are open to having it in the contest.

Categories Not Accepted

Please take note of the categories not accepted:

  • NO Science Fiction (unless it’s more fantasy than science fiction)
  • NO Steampunk
  • NO Dark urban fantasy or post-apocalyptic
  • NO Erotica
  • Heat level shouldn’t be more than PG-13


Entry Timeline and Deadline

Entries can be submitted from now through December 18, 2015, 9pm Pacific, and are only accepted electronically. Once you have filled out the entry form, and paid, email your entry to


Entry Guidelines

  1. Entrants must submit the contest entry form online and pay with PayPal before their entry is officially entered into the contest.
  2. The Contest Waiver box in the online form constitutes a signature and must be checked for your entry to be accepted electronically. THIS IS MANDATORY!
  3. Pay via PayPal.
  4. Your name should not appear on the actual submission. Important!
  5. Once you have paid, submitted the online form, and properly formatted your entry, email it to:
  6. You may submit more than one entry.

Manuscript Format Requirements

  1. Manuscript must be double-spaced, Courier New or Times New Roman 12 point, 1-inch margins all around, about 25 lines per page. Fifteen (15) pages maximum. Rich Text form (.rft) ONLY.
  2. Number the pages in the header (right corner) on each page.
  3. Your name should only appear on the contest entry form.
  4. DO NOT include your name anywhere on the entry itself. Please include the title and actual page numbers.


  • The fee to enter is $10.00 per entry. (This is for administrative fees).
  • All fees are NON-REFUNDABLE.
  • Fees should be submitted using PayPal.
  • Please include your name, book title, and category in the OPTIONAL INSTRUCTIONS section on the Paypal payment form.


Unpublished only. This is only open for those who have not submitted their work for publication to any publisher or are self-published at the time of submission.

Criteria for Judging

We use this scoresheet to judge the entries.

Contest Score Sheet for the Romance Genre Contest for Aspiring Authors


Email the Contest Coordinator at

CLICK here to enter.

Submit to the Romance Genre Contest for Aspiring Authors

The submission deadline for the 2015 contest is December 18, 2015.

In order to submit to the Romance Genre Contest for Aspiring Authors:

1. Submit an ENTRY FORM.

2. Submit your PAYMENT.

Click here or scroll below.

3. E-mail your manuscript and entry form to


Romance Genre Contest for Aspiring Authors

Entry fee $10.00.

To pay by PayPal, please CLICK the button below.

If the PayPal button doesn’t show below, please wait for it to load. If you’d prefer an alternative payment option, please contact the contest coordinator