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Are you ready to fall in love?

Romance is the most-read genre in publishing. Our latest contest is your chance to get in on this beloved niche in publishing.

For this contest, we want to see the first pages of your Contemporary Romance novel (1,000 words or less).

Your entry should be aimed at an adult audience and set in the present. The novel does not have to be complete, but it should be unpublished and not under contract.

Deadline Extended: January 31, 2024

What's a Contemporary Romance?

Contemporary romance is the largest subgenre of romance. It’s written in the present. Each story is about two people falling in love. Romance readers expect an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending—The HEA, happily ever after.

Contemporary romance has two forms: series or category romance—Harlequin Presents or Silhouette Desire—and longer, single-title novels.

There are dozens of romance tropes to help you frame your story. You can also mix and match tropes to give your novel a unique twist. Here’s a list of some reader favorites: Reader Favorite Romance Tropes.

Why Enter an IFW Writing Contest?

 $1,300 Cash Prizes 

  • 1st prize = $650
  • 2nd prize = $350 
  • 3rd prize = $100
  • 4th prize = $100
  • 5th prize = $100

Online Workshop 

All entrants are invited to a FREE instructional online workshop with our esteemed judge who will share insights into successfully writing in this genre.

Enter Today!

Free Critique

Winning entries will be workshopped in our live webinar by our judge to help writers understand what worked and what could be improved to make it submission-ready.

What's our judge looking for?

Our judge will be grading entries based on these criteria:

  • A likeable, relatable heroine, smart and independent.
  • A likeable, relatable, and of course, swoon-worthy hero.
  • Clever, snappy dialogue.
  • Pacing that moves right along.
  • A hint of what brought these two together.
  • A hint of what will keep them apart.
  • A glimpse of the setting, urban, small town or exotic

Delight me, enchant me, intrigue me—your choice. Make me care about your couple and root for their Happily Ever After.

Here's what else you need to know...

  • Your entry can be no longer than 1,000 words.
  • Your entry must be set in present day.
  • Entries must be previously unpublished and not currently under contract with a publisher.
  • Target readers are adults.
  • Entries must follow manuscript submission guidelines as stated on our Contest Rules page HERE.
  • No sexually explicit, pornographic, or gratuitously violent entries will be accepted.
  • Entries must be submitted via our online form by midnight Pacific Time on January 31, 2024.
  • There is a $19 reading fee per manuscript to enter the contest.
  • You will receive a link to the submission form via email after your purchase is completed.
  • You may enter more than one manuscript but each entry requires a $19 reading fee.
  • Every writer who enters will be invited to the online workshop (it's free!) where the winning entries are critiqued. (Non-entrants pay $7.)

Submissions will be judged on clarity, potential in the market, and your ability to match standard manuscript format (double spacing, one-inch margins, no creative use of fonts).

The winning entries in this Romance First Pages writing contest will be announced at a live online workshop within 90 days after the contest closes. All contest entrants will be invited free of charge. (Non-entrants may attend for a nominal fee of $7.)

This is a great opportunity to build your writing and submitting skills!

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