Tuesday 17 June 2014

Golden Palm Contest - Deadline Thursday, August 15, 2014 midnight EST

The Florida Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America, is proud to announce the Golden Palm Contest for unpublished writers.

You can be the next winner!

At least one published author will judge each entry on the first round. Participating editors and agents will judge the final round. All submissions will remain anonymous to the judges. For a non-published or published author, this is the perfect opportunity to avoid the slush pile and get your work critiqued by an editor or agent. Previously, finalists sold as a result of the Golden Palm Contest.

Contemporary Category Judges:

Editor:Leah Hultenschmidt, Grand Central Publishing

Agent: Beth Campbell, Bookends

Editor: Cat Clyne, Sourcebooks

Historical Category:

Editor: Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks

Agent: Jordy Alberts, Booker Alberts Literary Agency

Agent: Dawn Dowdle, Blue Ridge Literary Agency

Young Adult/New Adult Category:

Editor: Lauren Smulski, Harlequin Teen

Agent: Mandy Hubbard, D4EO Literary Agency

Agent: Laura Zats, Red Sofa Literary Agency

Paranormal Category Judges:
Editor: Peter Senftleben, Kensington Publishing

Agent: Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Associates

Editor: Angela James, Carina Press


The purpose of the FRW Golden Palm Contest is to challenge and inspire unpublished authors and published authors of romance, as well as to help prepare for the process of sending proposals to editors, in order to bring their careers to a higher level.


The author must enter new, original work that has not been published by a traditional publisher, self-published, or contracted to be published.

Entry Procedure:

1. Email Entry Form and Entry to appropriate category Email Address listed below. (Electronic Entries only, no paper entries accepted.)

2. We accept two forms of Payment:

a) Send a check/money order payable Florida Romance Writers ($20 for FRW member/$30 for non-members) Florida Romance Writers, c/o FRW Treasurer, P. O. Box 430744 Miami, FL 33243

Include your name, entry, category, phone number and email address with check.

b) Or pay via PayPal. For your convenience, you can pay on the FRW website.

Please include in the PayPal Notes your name, entry, category and email address.

3. Entrants will be notified of receipt of entry and payment.

Entry Fees:

The entry fee for FRW Members is $20. For all others the entry fee is $30.00.

Entry Deadline:

To qualify, all entries and PayPal payments must be received by Thursday, August 15, 2014, midnight EST. Mailed checks must be postmarked by August 15, 2014, midnight EST. Any entry monies received after that time will be returned and the entry disqualified.

Note: FRW reserves the right to return all entries and fees if the minimum entry number of ten (10) for each category is not received. FRW reserves the right to cap the contest at 150, and to change final judges if necessary. Entrants will be contacted and will have the option to place their entry in another category.

Entry Details/Checklist:

Entries will be accepted in electronic (e-mail) transmissions ONLY. See below for the formatting guidelines. If you have problems sending electronically, the Contest Coordinator will try to help you.

Each emailed Entry should include two attachments and be sent to the appropriate category email address:

_____ (1) Entry with a maximum of 25 pages, double-spaced.

_____ One (1) completed Entry Form for each entry.

_____ One (1) check or money order made out to “Florida Romance Writers” for the applicable entry fee and sent by mail to the Treasurer. Or you may use the PayPal button. All entry fees along with entry and entry form must be received by the deadline, midnight, August 15, 2014. Mailed checks must be postmarked by midnight, August 15, 2014.

  • Author’s name, Manuscript Title, Category must be listed in the subject line of the e-mail entry. (example: Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice, Single Title.)
  • You will receive an email confirmation of the arrival of entry. If you do not receive a confirmation within five days of sending, please e-mail Contest Coordinator to check on the status.
  •  Entries should be received in .RTF (rich text format) format only and should be formatted in standard manuscript format, ready for printing. This includes header and page number (please, no names in header).
  •  Should you advance to the final round, you will be required to e-mail a corrected entry to the coordinator within seven (7) days for mailing to the editor/agent of the category you’re entering. 
  • Editors or Agents and the categories they judge are listed above.
  • All judged entries will be returned to you by e-mail after the finalists are announced.

Entry Format:

1. Entry must be presented in proper standard manuscript format (double-spaced, approximately 1” margins, size 12-pt font, Courier or New Times Roman). Hard to read fonts will be disqualified.

2. Header on the manuscript should contain title and category in the upper left corner and the page number in the right corner. (For combined categories, ie: Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Time Travel), please also specify which sub- category your entry fits into.

3. The name of the author must NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript or the entry will be disqualified!

4. The same manuscript may NOT be entered into more than one category. Pick the category that best fits your manuscript entry. Any entry that has won or placed as a final in the contest will not be eligible for reentry.

5. Judges: If you are a contestant, you may not judge the same category in which you are entered, though we love those who volunteer to judge. Please see website for how to be a judge.

Note: If the above rules aren’t met, the entry may be disqualified and the entry fee may not be refunded.


First Round: The first round will be judged by experienced judges and published authors. Each entry will be judged by (3) judges with at least one (1) being a published author. The lowest score will be dropped. The final round contestants will be chosen by the average of the final two scores. The top three entries in each category will advance to the final found. (In the event of a tie, a discrepancy judge will be used.)

Judges are encouraged to type comments directly on the manuscript and on the score sheet.

Final Round: The finalists in each category will be ranked by an editor/agent, and the editor/agent will be encouraged to give a brief evaluation.


First round finalists will be notified by approximately, October 25, 2014.

Announcement of the Winners will be made at the Florida Romance Writers meeting, Saturday January 11th. Announcement to those who aren’t attending will be made approximately February 5th to 9th, 2015 by phone and/or email after the announcement on Royal Caribbean Cruise With Your Muse Conference.


First Place in each category will received $25, along with a Certificate and a Golden Palm pin. Second and third in each category will receive a certificate. An announcement will be made in the RWR.

E-mail your entries and entry forms to the following Email addresses:





Young Adult/ New Adult




Checks should be mailed to:

Florida Romance Writers c/o treasurer, 
FRW Treasurer P. O. Box 430744
 FL 33243

Or payments may be made through PayPal on the FRW website. Payable to frw_goldenpalm@hotmail.com

Any questions about this contest may be directed to:

Victoria Pinder, frwcoordinator@gmail.com, Contest Coordinators for the Golden Palm Florida Romance Writers

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