Fool For Love Rules

Contest Rules and Information:

  • FFL accepts entries beginning 9:00 a.m. (EST) March 1, 2018 to 9:00 a.m. (EST) April 2, 2018. It is an annual contest.
  • The 7500 word maximum entry (approximately 30 pages).
  • All entries should be submitted in .doc or .docx format only, sent AS AN ATTACHMENT to once payment confirmation has been received.
  • Entries MUST be received by 9:00 a.m. EST April 2, 2018. If you do not receive acknowledgement of your entry within 24 hours, please resend.
  • Please note: published authors may only enter the PUBLISHED AUTHOR category. All Published Authors who enter are required to judge at least one entry. Please email with your category preferences and those you absolutely will not judge.


  • ALL entries must be submitted electronically and sent as an attachment via email to Links to files in cloud servers (Dropbox, Onedrive, GoogleDrive, etc.) will not be accepted.
  • An entry will consist of the beginning of book up to a maximum of 7500 words (Approximately 30 pages).
  • A prologue may be included as long as the entry does not exceed 7500 words.
  • Each manuscript may be entered in only one category.
  • An author may submit multiple entries. Discounts for judging and winner prizes will apply only to the first manuscript submitted.
  • Each entry must have a separate entry form and payment made through the RWA site, and each entry must be submitted via separate emails.

Important Dates:

  • March 1, 2018 (9:00 a.m.) – Contest Opens
  • April 2, 2018 (9:00 a.m.) – Contest Closes
  • April 27, 2018 – First Round Scores Due
  • May 12, 2018 – Finalists Announced
  • June 12, 2018 – Return of Entries and Scores to Non-Finalists
  • June Luncheon – Winners Announced

Entry Fee:

  • Payment for electronic entries may be received through PayPal. All payments must be received by April 1, 2018 — no exceptions. Payments are NON-REFUNDABLE.
  • $30 for all current VRW members
  • $35 for non-members
  • $5 discount for entrants who serve as a first round judge in a category they have not entered. ($5 maximum discount per entrant) If you agree to judge, please contact for the discount code.
  • Entrants do not have to be members of Romance Writers of America.
  • Verification of payment will be made via the email address included on the entry form. If you do NOT receive a verification email, email the FFL coordinator immediately.


  • Authors must be a minimum of eighteen (18) years old.
  • All categories, except the Published Author category, are open to entrants who have not published and are not contracted in any novel-length fiction.
  • All work must be the author’s original work that has never been published in any form ever, and has not been contracted for publication prior to the entry deadline of April 1, 2018. This applies to all entries, including entries in the Published Author category.
  • Authors who have been published or contracted for novel-length fiction, including e-books by any publisher and/or has self-published at least one book are considered published. These authors are eligible for the Published Author category only.
  • The actual entries, however, must never have been published nor be under contract prior to the deadline of April 1, 2018.
  • Previous 1st place winners MAY NOT re-enter the winning entry, even in edited format. They may, however, enter another work. Previous 2nd and 3rd place entries are eligible for entry, revision encouraged.
  • It is not a requirement to have a finished novel-length manuscript in order to enter this contest.
  • Failure to comply with any of the rules may disqualify the entry resulting in a forfeit of the entry fee.

Categories and Final Round Judges:

Each category must have a minimum of five (5) entries. If fewer than seven entries are received, contestants will be notified and allowed to choose an alternate category or receive a full refund. Some categories may be combined if minimum entries not received.

  • Short Contemporary
    • Series romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and typically set between 1950 and the present day.
      Approximate word count: 40,000-65,000
  • Long Contemporary
    • Romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship; released as individual titles; not part of a series; and set between 1950 and the present day.
      Approximate word count: Greater than 65,000 words
  • Historical
    • Romantic novels set prior to 1950, including Regency and gothic romances.
      Approximate word count: 40,000-100,000
  • Dark Paranormal
    • Future, fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are integral to the plot; these stories may contain ominous overtones. NOTE: Dark Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies may fall into this category.
      Approximate word count: 40,000-120,000
  • Light Paranormal
    • Lighter in tone than Dark Paranormal Romance. Future, fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are an integral part of the plot. NOTE: Light Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Time Travel, and Psychics may fall into this category.
      Approximate word count: 40,000-120,000
    • NOTE: If EITHER Paranormal category fails to fill, entries will be combined into one overarching category.
  • Romantic Suspense
    • Romantic novels that include an element of mystery or suspense.
      Approximate word count: 40,000-100,000
  • Young Adult
    • Romantic novels geared toward young adult readers.
      Approximate word count: 40,000-100,000
  • New Adult
    • Coming of age story featuring a hero/heroine whose relationships with each other and those around them further self-discovery.
      Approximate word count: 40,000-100,000
    • NOTE: If EITHER YA or NA Categories fails to fill, entries will be combined into one overarching category.
  • Published Author
    • Open to entrants who are or have been published or contracted in any book-length fiction. Unpublished/uncontracted manuscripts in any sub-genre are eligible for the Published Author category. Entry cannot have been contracted prior to April 2, 2018 contest deadline. As with other categories, no previous winning manuscript of the Fool For Love may be entered into this category.
      Approximate word count: 40,000 to 120,000 words

Electronic Entry Format and Checklist:

  • Manuscript must be double-spaced.
  • 1″ margins.
  • Standard 12 point font, Courier New or Times New Roman.
  • Title of the manuscript in the upper right corner of each page, followed by the category entered. For example: Your Manuscript. Category Name. Manuscripts entered in the Published Author category should indicate the sub-genre. Example: Your Manuscript. PA-Sub-Genre.
  • Page number in the upper right corner of each page.
  • Your name must NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript or in the metadata. PLEASE refer to this article for instructions on how to remove all identifiable information from your document before submitting to us:
  • Submit one .doc or .docx file containing the first 7500 words (prologue and opening chapters combined). It is highly recommended that you end your entry on a hook even if it means your entry doesn’t reach the full 7500 word maximum.
  • Please use the following formatting when naming your entry to send to us: YourManuscriptTitle_Category.doc or YourManuscriptTitle_Category.docx


  • Each entry will receive a score sheet from two qualified judges, at least one being a published author. Entries submitted by VRW members will be judged by non-VRW members.
  • Judges are encouraged to make specific comments on the manuscript. A separate score sheet containing scores and general comments will be included.
  • A third judge will be used for any entry whose preliminary scores differ by 15 or more points. The lowest of the three scores will then be dropped.
  • The FFL coordinator intends to notify the finalists on their status by phone or email on or about the 10th of May. The top three entries from each category will advance to the finals. In case of tied scores, more entries may advance.
  • Finalists will have 48 hours to revise their entries based on first round judges’ comments prior to the entries being sent to the finalist judges.
  • Final-round entries will be judged by editors or agents listed; however, if unforeseen events require it, final judges will be subject to change.
  • Non-finalist entries will be returned within 30 days after finalists are announced.
  • By entering this contest, you are agreeing that all decisions by the judges are final.