21 January 2011

Hearts Through History 2011 Writing Contest

Post date: 21 January 2011
Deadline: 1 February 2011

2011 Romance Through The Ages Contest

Hearts Through History (an RWA special interest chapter) is pleased to host the 10th annual Romance Through The Ages Contest. We would be honored if you would join us, show us your inspiration and motivation while our judges provide honest, constructive feedback.


Entrants do not need to be members of Romance Writers of America to enter the contest. Chapter membership in Hearts Through History is also not required. Participation is open to both published and unpublished authors. All entries must be the author's original work. Any work of fiction that has not been contracted for publication by Feb. 1, 2011, may be entered. Previous RTTA first-place and RTTA Best of the Best winning entries are not eligible. (All other previous finalist entries are eligible.)


  • Ancient/Medieval/Renaissance (AMR) - worldwide, for these eras through early 1700s
  • Georgian/Regency/Victorian (GRV) - worldwide, less America, for these eras
  • Colonial/Western/Civil War (CWW) - America, for these eras through late 1800s
  • Post-Victorian/World War 2 (PVW) - worldwide, for these eras
  • Time Travel/Historical Paranormal (TTP) - all historical eras to end of WW2; more than half of entries must be in historical period
  • Historical Erotic (HER) - worldwide, all historical eras to the end of WW2/erotic romance submission only - no straight erotica
  • The Legend (LGD) - special award given to the Most Memorable Hero, all entries considered
Categories may be eliminated or combined with another category at the discretion of the RTTA Contest Committee if fewer than ten entries are received.


All first round entries are now e-mail submissions only.

The contest entry shall consist of ONE (1) copy of the opening of the manuscript (including any prologue) not to exceed 30 pages. The contest entry also shall include a 1-2 page unjudged synopsis. Unjudged synopsis may be single or double-spaced.

Contestants are urged to take into consideration the most effective stopping point for their entry, even if that point is short of the 30-page limit. Manuscripts do not have to be complete to enter.

All entry forms, fees, waivers and entries must be received by Category Coordinators no later than Feb. 1, 2011. Official signed Entry Form & Waiver, entry fees and cover page must be sent prior to submitting entry. Once these have been received, your Category Coordinator will contact you with requirements for submitting your entry.

Entry Fees

Hearts Through History RWA Chapter Members: $20.00 USD

All other entrants: $25.00 USD

Only U.S. or Canadian currency (equivalent to U.S. payment) will be accepted. We also accept PayPal. NO CASH PLEASE (See Payment Options for more information)


Entries must be novel-length Historical Romance or Romantic Historical Fiction (when the manuscript is/will be finished). Short stories, nonfiction, and fiction in genres other than historical romance will not be accepted. Contest Coordinators reserve the right to reject any entry that does not meet this requirement or that does not meet acceptable industry formatting standards.

The official Entry Form & Waiver, entry fee and entry must have confirmed e-mail receipt by Coordinators for each submission. Participants may enter multiple entries, however, each entry may be entered in only one (1) category (for example a paranormal medieval can be entered in either the medieval category or the paranormal category, not both). Each submission will be treated as a separate entry. All fees and rules apply separately and individually to each entry.

First-Round Entry Checklist

_____Send official Entry Form & Waiver, proof of paid contest fee (PayPal receipt or check number and date sent), and a cover page for your entry to the appropriate Category Coordinator.
_____Cover Page shall include the title, category and word count, entrant's full name (no pseudonyms), address, telephone number, and e-mail address.
_____Any forms and/or entry not received by the deadline of Feb. 1, 2011, will not be accepted.
_____Contest fees can be paid via Paypal on our website or checks/money orders sent to our treasurer:

c/o Julie Hill
PO Box 683
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965

_____Category Coordinator will e-mail confirmation of receipt of above and will instruct you on how to submit ONE (1) copy of your e-submission as an .rtf document (formatted in a Word program). In the event Coordinator or a judge is unable to read the .rtf document, the Coordinator reserves the right to re-save the document to another format.
_____Send ONE (1) e-submission copy of the opening of each entry (maximum 30 pages). Also, send ONE (1) e-submission copy of the synopsis. Synopsis will be unjudged and may be single-or double-spaced. Manuscript should follow standard submission requirements (double-spaced, one-inch margins, legible font such as Courier or Times New Roman).
_____Header on manuscript pages should contain the title and category only on the left (For example: The Heir/GRV) and the page number on the right. Author's name and full manuscript title will appear only on the cover page, which is kept by Contest Coordinators. Any entry and/or synopsis in which the author's name appears will be immediately disqualified and no fees returned.
_____Coordinator will review complete entry and notify you of receipt or any format errors. In the event of format error (too many pages, etc.) you will only have until Feb. 1, 2011, to get a revised entry to Coordinator.

Judging - First Round

Each first-round entry will be evaluated by THREE (3) qualified judges. Judges may or may not write on manuscripts at their discretion, however all scores of less than 3 will be explained on the score sheet.

Once score sheets are returned to Category Coordinators (for each entry), the lowest of the three scores will be dropped and the remaining two scores will be averaged to determine the entry's final score. There will be no discrepancy judging. The top three scoring entries in each category will advance to the Final Round. Four will advance in the event of a tied-score for third highest category score.

Legend Finalists are picked from all entries, based on a special Legend score sheet (separate from overall score sheet). The highest Legend score in each category will advance to the Final Round. In the case of a tie for Legend in any category, the entry with the highest overall score will be the one to advance to the Legend Final Round. All first round judges are kept confidential unless a judge elects to disclose his/her name once the contest is completed. The Contest Chair and/or Category Coordinators will not discuss the names of judges. Finalists will be notified and their scored entries will be returned first. All non-finalist scored entries will be returned within the 30-day period after finalists entries are sent (for 2011, between March 15 and March 22).

Judging - Final Round

Finalists will be notified on approximately March 16-18, 2011. All finalists will have an allotted amount of time (approximately 2 to 3 weeks) to review the first round judges' comments and make desired changes to his/her manuscript. A revised copy must be received by the Contest Chair no later than April 20, 2011, for submission to the Final Round. If the revised copy is not received by that time, at the discretion of the Contest Chair, the previously entered copy will be sent to the final round judge. Category Placement, Legend winner and Best of the Best winner will be determined by the scores of Final Round Judges. All decisions of the Final Judges are final. For Best of the Best Award, the winning entry will be chosen from among each category's first-place winners. In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined by the higher overall score from the first-round judging.

Each Final Round Entry will be formatted and presented as follows:

* Entry must be presented in proper standard manuscript format (double-spaced, one-inch margins, legible font such as Courier or Times New Roman).
* A typed cover page, which shall include the title, category and word count; entrant's full name (no pseudonyms), address, telephone number, and email address. Cover page must be legible (to be kept by Contest Chair).
* Header on manuscript pages should contain the title and category only on the left (for example: The Heir/GRV) and the page number on the right. Author's name and full manuscript title appears only on the cover page, which is kept by the Contest Chair. Any entry and/or synopsis in which the author's name appears will be immediately disqualified and no fees returned.
* Contest Chair will email you within approximately 48 hours of receipt.

Final Round Judges

The category finalists and Legend award entries will be ranked by the following:

* Ancient/Medieval/Renaissance: Kevan Lyon, Marshal Lyon Literary Agency
* Georgian/Regency/Victorian: Emmanuelle Morgan, Judith Ehrlich Agency
* Colonial/Western/Civil War: Rhonda Stapleton, Carina Press
* Post-Victorian/World War 2: Rebecca Strauss, MacIntosh and Otis Literary Agency
* Time Travel/Historical Paranormal: Deb Werksman, sourcebooks
* Historical Erotic: Alicia Condon, Kensington Books
* Legend Award: Kelly Schaub, Wild Rose Press

The list of final judges will be updated as judges are confirmed, and may change at any time. Hearts Through History assumes no liability for such changes.


The Best of the Best Award is now a $100.00 cash prize. The Legend, A Man for all Reasons Award is now a $50.00 cash prize. Each First Place Historical Category Winner will receive a gift certificate good for one HHRW Campus Workshop of winner's choice.

Failure to Comply

Any entry failing to comply with the rules stated herein will be disqualified and entry fee forfeited. No fees will be refunded on the basis of disqualification or withdrawal by entrant for any reason.


Contest finalists will be notified by the Contest Chair via email or telephone on or about March 15, 2011. Non-finalists will receive notification within 30 days after all finalists entries have been sent (for 2011, by April 15). All winners will be announced at Hearts Through History's annual meeting at the RWA National conference, New York, NY in June 2011. Should any finalist not be in attendance, he or she will be notified of status by email or telephone shortly after. Final round scores/sheets will be sent to finalists within 30 days after the winners are announced.

If you have any questions about our contest, please contact our Contest Chair Keena Kincaid.

More information here.
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