2020 Golden Quill Contest Rules

Judged by Librarians and Romance Readers


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  1. Entries must be book-length fiction with a minimum of 40,000 words (except for the romantic novella category, which accepts stories of less than 40,000 words). The copyright date must be between January and December 2019, or first North American printing/release date between January and December 2019, or if submitting in electronic format first electronic publish date between January and December 2019.
  2. The Contest Committee reserves the right to add or drop categories, depending on the number of entries received.
  3. You may select a Primary and a Secondary category for each entry. If you choose to enter one book in multiple categories, each individual entry will be permitted Primary and Secondary category selections. Secondary category selections will be used as a backup should the Primary category not reach viability. The Contest Committee reserves the right to place a book in a different category from the author’s original selection(s).
  4. Entries must be received not later than January 10, 2020.
  5. Once a book is accepted for entry in the contest, there will be no refund.
  6. Priority mailing of entries is preferred, with no signature required for receipt except for international delivery.
  7. Membership in Romance Writers of America is required. Entrants must be members in good standing with current membership paid.
  8. Category winner will be the highest scoring entry in its category, providing the score is in the upper 25% of scores of all contest entries received. If none of the entries in a given category scores in the overall top 25%, there will be no finalist in that category.
  9. Finalists will be announced on or about May 1, 2020.
  10. Winners will be announced in a full-page advertisement in the July 2020 issue of Romance Writers Report.
  11. Entry in the Golden Quill Contest constitutes agreement by the author to conform to all contest rules, abide by the decision of the judges, and hold blameless the Desert Rose Chapter, the Golden Quill Contest Coordinators, and all judges. In entering, the author agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Chapter, its officers, members, and all judges of the Contest from liability for its/their actions arising from or relating to judging and handling of the entry and conducting, sponsoring, and advertising the event.
  12. The Contest Committee reserves the right to disqualify an entry if rules are not fully met.
  13. Author must enclose:
  14. a. Five (5) copies of each book entered. (If a book is entered in two categories, please enclose 5 copies for each entry.) Books will not be returned. Please autograph your books, as they will be donated after judging is completed. No ARCs (advanced reader copies) will be accepted.
    b. E-published books must be submitted in book format, printed and bound.
    c. A completed entry form for each book entered. Entry forms must be printed from either the online form or PDF entry form from the website. If a book is entered in two categories, then two entry forms must be included. Entry forms may be photocopied.
    d. The entry fee is $30 for a single entry, $60 for two entries or $75 for 3 entries in any combination of titles/categories. The total entry fee should be paid by check or money order made payable to Desert Rose RWA #60, or by using PayPal. Click the button on the entry form or visit www.paypal.com and send payment to goldenquill@desertroserwa.org. In the comment section: please specify your name, book title, category entered, and indicate payment is for 2020 Golden Quill.
    e. An optional self-addressed stamped postcard on which the contest coordinator will confirm receipt of your entry.
  15. Send entry, marked with category on outside of package, to:

Golden Quill 2020
Stephanie Scott, Contest Chair
P.O. Box 13207
Scottsdale, AZ 85267

For additional information, please contact: goldenquill@desertroserwa.org

Contest Categories for 2020:

  • Best First Book
  • Category Series Romance
  • Contemporary Romance (includes Novel with Strong Romantic Elements)
  • Erotic/Hot/Sexy
  • Fantasy/Sci Fi/Futuristic
  • Historical
  • Inspirational (includes Inspirational Romantic Suspense)
  • Novella
  • Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Sweet Traditional
  • Young Adult /New Adult

Register for this Contest