|Contest Name||Opens Midnight on||Closes 11:59pm on|
|Ripping Start||Monday 2 September 2019||Sunday 22 September 2019|
|The Sapphire Award||Monday 16 September 2019||Sunday 6 October 2019|
|Selling Submission||Monday 7 October 2019||Sunday 27 October 2019|
|The Emerald Award||Monday 28 October 2019||Sunday 17 November 2019|
|The Ruby Awards||Monday 16 December 2019||Sunday 19 January 2020|
|Spicy Bites||Monday 6 January 2020||Sunday 26 January 2020|
|Sweet Treats||Monday 6 January 2020||Sunday 26 January 2020|
|First Kiss||Monday 3 February 2020||Sunday 23 February 2020|
|The Valerie Parv Award||Monday 6 April 2020||Sunday 26 April 2020|
Romance Writers of Australia runs a range of contests each year for published and unpublished writers.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 Contest judges are published and unpublished writers, or, for selected contests only, readers.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.
What are the contests?
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.
The Emerald Award is our major contest for unpublished writers and offers a unique opportunity to have your full manuscript judged if you make the second round.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 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 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 Romantic Book of the Year (R♥BY) is our contest for published novels and novellas by Australian or New Zealand authors. It includes sections for Contemporary, Historical, Suspense, Speculative and Romantic Elements.
Entries for the 2020 RUBY (for books published in 2019) open in December 2019.
The Sapphire Award is a great opportunity for published writers to have an unpublished manuscript judged by reader judges before the final three go to a publisher for final judging. The first round is for the first 10,000 words, second and final rounds are for the full manuscript.
The Selling Submission tests your synopsis, query letter, and blurb-writing skills. Enter your submission for the chance to impress an agent or editor.
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 Sweet Treats 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 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.
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.2020-Contest-Calendar