2018 Rules

The North Texas Romance Writers of America chapter is proud to announce that the 
2018 GREAT EXPECTATIONS CONTEST is open for entries!

2018 Rules

  • 5,000 word entry limit instead of page count
  • NO synopsis or blurb
Finalists will be asked to include an unjudged synopsis for editors.

  • November 30th: Open for entries
  • Sunday, December 31, 2017 midnight Central Time: EARLY BIRD ENTRY FEE ENDS
$20 for members of North Texas and DARA chapters of RWA
$25 for all other entrants
  • Monday, January 1, 2018: Entry fees increase
$25 for members of North Texas and DARA chapters of RWA
$30 for all other entrants

  • WEDNESDAY, January 31, 2018: Entry and payment must be received
  • February 1, 2018: Approximate date entries will be distributed to first round judges
  • February 28, 2018: Date entries should be returned to GECoordinator @ ntrwa.org
  • March 3, 2018: Approximate date to announce finalists
  • March 5, 2018: Approximate date to return non-finalists' entries
  • March 10, 2018: All revised finalists' entries returned
  • April 14, 2018: Approximate date to announce final placements
  • All work must be the author’s original work that has not been contracted for publication prior to the entry deadline.
  • This contest is open to all authors who have never been published in book-length romantic fiction as well as published authors who have not been contracted or published in the entered category during the last three years (during 2015, 2016, or 2017). 'Published', for purposes of this contest, includes traditionally published as well as independently / self-published works.
  • Previous first place winners may not re-enter the winning entry, even in edited format.  They may, however, enter another work. 
  • Authors may enter as many times as they wish (in one or multiple categories) 
  • Failure to comply with any of the rules may disqualify the entry resulting in a forfeiture of the entry fee.
  • Our final round editors have agreed to complete the judging score sheet, and will hopefully include comments.
  • All payments must be submitted via Paypal 
  • Include the PayPal transaction number on your entry form. Please enter "GREAT EXPECTATIONS CONTEST" in the 'comments' section in PayPal, if possible.
  • Entry fees are refundable if the contestant becomes ineligible (as in published) before January 31, 2018. PayPal fees will be deducted from the returned amount.
  • The Great Expectations committee will make every effort to adhere to the above time schedule.
Frequently Asked Questions  or contact Fenley Grant, the GE Coordinator.


Brittany Lavery ~ Assistant Editor, HQN
Romantic series novels. If your manuscript is a series romantic suspense, you may enter the Contemporary Series category or the Romantic Suspense category. Please check our score sheets to see which benefits your writing. 

Elle Keck ~ Assistant Editor, Avon Books
Romantic novels with non-contemporary settings, including regency & gothic romances. 

Raela Schoenherr ~ Acquisitions Editor, Bethany House
Romantic novels with an inspirational message/theme, including romantic suspense, historical, etc. 

Marla Daniels ~ Assistant Editor, Simon and Schuster
Novels that include an element of romance but in which traditional romance conventions are not followed and in which there are themes and conflicts beyond romance. Mainly women’s fiction and chick lit. 

Lexi Smail ~ Assistant Editor, Grand Central Publishing
Romantic novels that include an element of mystery or suspense. Since the final round editor will be from a single title publisher, contestants may want to enter series romantic suspense in the contemporary series category.

Madeleine Colavita ~ Associate Editor, Hachette Book Group
Romantic, contemporary novels released as individual titles. 

Kristine Swartz ~ Associate Editor, Berkley Publishing Group
Romantic novels of any time setting (historical or futuristic) with Alternate Earth Histories, Dystopian, Futuristic, Fantasy, Time Travel, Paranormal or Urban Fantasy. Please keep in mind that the emphasis should be on the romance. 

Alice Jerman ~ Assistant Editor, HarperCollins 
Novels appropriate for young adult readers. Includes young adult heroes and heroines not exceeding 18 years of age. 

Erotic Romance – Do to a continued lack of entries, we've had to cancel the Erotic Romance category. Erotic entries can now be made in any category. Please indicate EROTIC in the header and on the entry form heat level. Please review our score sheets to see if your entry will benefit from comments.


  • Make payment first. PAY NOW page has the current PayPal buttons. Or PayPal directly to: Treasurer @ntrwa.org. You'll need the transaction ID number from PayPal. 
  • Enter Now -- Our Entry Form
  • Please note 'GREAT EXPECTATIONS CONTEST' in the "Comments" area, if possible.
  • Do not send payments to the contest chairperson(s).
  • 5,000 word limit (approximately 20 pages of text); double spacing; indented paragraphs; one inch margins; chapters begin 1/3 down the page. Use 14 point Times New Roman font in black. Do not include icons, text boxes, or any other type of decorative embellishment in your work.
  • Your entry will be sent to judges with standard manuscript formatting (14 point Times New Roman). We will reformat entries to ensure consistency, if necessary.
  • Define the HEAT level of your 5,000 word entry:
  •      Warm = Romance
  •      Medium = Tension and/or banter
  •      Hot = Sex
  •      EX Hot = All Erotic Romance references
 The heat level should be based on the 5,000 words of your entry in order to match appropriate judges. If the first 5,000 words contain no references to sex, the entry should be considered "warm," even if the rest of the book has tension, banter and sex throughout.
  • Headers: manuscript title and heat level (warm, medium, hot or EX hot) on left, page number on right
  • Example: Your Title / medium
  • Names and identifying information should be removed from the manuscript.
  • Save the file in a Word document (.doc or .docx) 
Use your name and Entry Title.doc or name and EntryTitle.docx
     EXAMPLE:  YourName-EntryTitle.doc or 
                           AngiMorgan-TheMarinesLastDefense.doc or                  

  • Complete the on-line Contest Entry Form & electronically signed Contestant Agreement .
  • Please include your PayPal email address and PayPal transaction number (with "GREAT EXPECTATIONS CONTEST" in the comments section, if possible).
  • Attach your entry to the form before you submit it. 
  • Make sure you submit your entry and payment by midnight CST, Wednesday, January 31, 2018.
  • You will receive a confirmation e-mail within three days. If you do not, please contact the contest coordinator.
  • Each entry will receive a detailed score sheet from three qualified judges. NTRWA will strive to obtain at least one published judge per entry.
  • Judges will be encouraged to comment on the score sheet. NTRWA cannot guarantee that all judges will comply with this suggestion.
  • A fourth judge will be used for any entry whose two lowest scores differs by 30 points or more and has the potential of being a finalist. The lowest of the four scores will then be dropped.
  • The top three or four entrants/scores in each category will advance to the finals, depending on the number of entries received. All finalists must have received at least 75% to advance. 
  • The GE Chairperson(s) intends to notify the finalists on their status by phone or email during the first week of March 2018
  • Final round judging will be done by editors.
  • The GE coordinator intends to announce the winners by the third week of April 2018. If delays occur, an announcement will be sent to all finalists. 
  • Non-finalist entries will be returned after finalists are determined and statistical information is complete. 

First = $50.00
  • In the event a writing team places, only one monetary prize will be given.
  • NTRWA awards monetary prizes through PayPal.
  • All finalists receive certificates.
  • Each finalist and winner will receive an appropriate website icon.
  • Winners will have their names printed in the RWR. 
  • All decisions of the contest committee are final.
Please note: NTRWA reserves the right to clarify these rules and will notify all contestants upon their update. We encourage contestants and judges to sign up for email notifications of blog updates (on the right side bar).

Frequently Asked Questions  or contact GECoordinator@NTRWA.org.

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