Romance Writers of Australia runs a range of contests each year for published and unpublished writers. The contest year runs from August through to June, and the winners’ awards are made at the RWA conference in August.

Our contests offer finalists the chance to have their manuscripts read by acquiring editors and/or literary agents.

All entrants will receive scoresheets and judges’ feedback to help improve their work. Contest judges are published and unpublished writers, or, for selected contests only, readers.

Note: our contest eligibility conditions have been updated in accordance with the new RWA membership categories. Your eligibility for each contest will depend on your membership category and whether you have works of fiction commercially available.

See below, and the individual contest pages, for details.

Dates for the 2016-17 contest season

Ripping Start                                     Opens 5 September 2016      Closes 26 September 2016

Selling Synopsis                               Opens 10 October 2016          Closes 31 October 2016

Emerald & Emerald Pro                 Opens 31 October 2016          Closes 21 November 2016

Ruby                                                   Opens 16 December 2016      Closes 16 January 2017

Little Gems & Spicy Bites               Opens 9 January 2017            Closes 27 January 2017

First Kiss                                            Opens 6 February 2017           Closes 27 February 2017

Valerie Parv Award                          April 2017

CONTESTS AND AWARDS

Romance Writers of Australia runs a range of contests each year for published and unpublished writers. The contest year runs from August through to June, and the winners’ awards are made at the RWA conference in August.

Our contests offer finalists the chance to have their manuscripts read by acquiring editors and/or literary agents.

All entrants will receive scoresheets and judges’ feedback to help improve their work. Contest judges are published and unpublished writers, or, for selected contests only, readers.

Our contests are open to members of Romance Writers of Australia only, except for the Valerie Parv Award and our contest for published books (the Ruby), which are open to both members and non-members.

Please click on the links below (or in the Contests drop-down menu above) for more information, including opening/closing dates, formatting instructions, entry fees/conditions and eligibility criteria.

Read our Contest FAQ

The Emerald Award is our major contest for unpublished writers, and offers a unique opportunity to have your full manuscript judged if you make the second round. Initial entry is the first 10,000 words of your manuscript. The Emerald Pro is an equivalent contest for published writers who wish to try a new sub-genre they’ve never published in before.

The Valerie Parv Award offers the winner a year of mentorship with bestselling Australian romance author Valerie Parv. Enter the first 10,000 words of your romance or romantic elements manuscript (40K+) along with a 1,000 word synopsis.

The Ripping Start is for the first 1,500 words of your romance or romantic elements novel or novella. A great way to hone your hook

The First Kiss gives you the opportunity to showcase that romantic tension. Enter a 1500-word scene involving your protagonists’ first kiss, plus a half-page set-up.

The Selling Synopsis tests your synopsis-writing skills. Enter your synopsis for the chance to impress an agent or editor.

The Little Gems contest (also open to published authors) is for sweet romantic short stories up to 3000 words, and offers finalists the chance to have their story published in an RWA anthology.

The Spicy Bites contest (also open to published authors) is for erotic romantic short stories up to 5000 words, and offers finalists the chance to have their story published in an RWA anthology.

The Romantic Book of the Year (RUBY) is our contest for published novels and novellas by Australian or New Zealand authors. It includes sections for Short Sweet Romance, Short Sexy Romance, Long Romance, and Romantic Elements novels, and Novellas.
Entries for the 2016 RUBY (for books published in 2015) open in January 2016.

Looking for more contests?

In Australia, each state has a Writers’ Centre. Membership of the centre will give you access to the list of many competitions being held right across Australia in various forms of writing.

Romance Writers of America contests are summarised at Stephie Smith’s web page. Check the individual RWA chapter websites for full details.

Romance Writers of New Zealand contests can be found at their website.