Heart-to-Heart Contest

Contest Timeline:
Monday, September 4, 2017 9 PM Pacific time – Deadline for submissions (electronic only)
October 5, 2017 – First-Round Finalists Notification
November 6, 2017 – Final Round Winners Announced

  • Enter – Send us that magical scene in which your protagonists meet for the first time. You can use either the scene when they first met or the scene when the spark first happens, if that doesn’t happen upon their initial meeting.
  • Win – Experienced, trained PRO and PAN authors provide detailed score sheets and feedback in twenty areas.
  • Sell – Get your story in the hands of acquiring editors and agents.

Category Descriptions

  • CONTEMPORARY: Novels set from 1950 to the present
  • ROMANTIC SUSPENSE: Romance novels containing intrigue, suspense, thriller or mystery elements
  • EROTIC: Novels in which sensuality constitutes a strong element in the romance
  • HISTORICAL: Romance novels set prior to 1950
  • PARANORMAL: Novels that mix the elements of paranormal, time travel, futuristic or fantasy with the romance
  • YOUNG ADULT: Novels with a strong romantic theme geared toward the young adult reader. These novels may contain paranormal, time travel, futuristic, or fantasy elements.


Open to all writers unpublished in novel or novella format as of the announcement of the Final Round Winners on November 6, 2017.

Non-finalists may publish after the announcement of the First Round Finalists on October 5, 2017. Published is defined as having an ISBN and/or ASIN number on any work of novel or novella length.

Entry Guidelines

Enter the scene(s) in which the protagonists meet for the first time, or for the first time in the book if previously acquainted, up to a maximum of 15 pages. Each entry may only be entered in one category. However, you may submit as many different entries as you wish. Each new entry must have a contest entry form and payment.

Official Contest Rules

The SFA-RWA chapter reserves the right to limit entries to the first one hundred manuscripts received. Failure to comply with any of the entry requirements herein could result in disqualification.

  1. Categories: Awards will be given in the following categories: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Erotic, Historical, Paranormal, and Young Adult. Please indicate on the contest entry form the category your manuscript is entered in. If a minimum of 6 entries is not received for a category, the category will be eliminated. Entrants in this case will be notified and have the choice to receive a refund or submit the entry to a different category.
  2. Judging: First round judges include experienced, trained PRO and PAN members. Each entry will be judged by three first-round judges. A score sheet focusing on 20 areas for a total of 100 possible points will be used by all judges. Judges may insert comments on the score sheets. The top three entries from each category will be forwarded to the final round. Final-round judges are literary agents, print editors, and e-publishing editors. Finalists in the first round will be notified by email or phone on or before October 5, 2017. Winners of the final round will be announced on or before November 6, 2017.
  3. Submission: All submissions must be submitted electronically, up to a maximum of 15 pages, according to the Manuscript Format Requirements detailed below. PAPER SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

The following process will apply to all entries:

  1. Entrants must submit the contest entry form online and pay before their entry is officially entered into the contest.
  2. The Contestant Waiver box in the online form constitutes a signature and must be checked for your entry to be accepted electronically. THIS IS MANDATORY! (Click here for the entry form)
  3. Pay via PayPal (link below).
  4. Your name should not appear anywhere on the submission entry.
  5. The entry is not required to be the opening scene of the book, but the pages should be numbered as they appear in the manuscript to a maximum of 15 pages, in which the protagonists meet for the first time or for the first time in the book if they are previously acquainted. You may submit more than one scene if you wish, as long as the total is not over 15 pages. The scenes (and all pages) must be consecutive. (For example, submitting pages 9-18 of your book, along with an optional set-up page.) If your entry isn’t the first scene in the book, and if you feel that more information is needed so the judges will understand the situation, you may submit a one-page, double-spaced set-up. This is optional, and will not be scored. The optional set-up page will not count toward the 15-page maximum.
  6. Once you have paid, submitted the online form, and properly formatted your entry, email it to heart2heartcontest@gmail.com attached as an rtf file.

If there are any questions, please contact the Contest Coordinator at heart2heartcontest@gmail.com.

Manuscript Format Requirements

  • Double-spaced, Courier New or Times New Roman 12 point, 1-inch margins all around
  • DO NOT include your name anywhere on the entry itself. Please include the title and actual page number from the manuscript in the header (left corner) on each page. Your name may appear only on the contest entry form. If it appears on any of the manuscript pages, your entry will automatically be disqualified.
  • Rich Text Format (rft) ONLY.


      • The fee is $25.00 per entry ($15.00 for SFA-RWA members)
      • All fees are NON-REFUNDABLE, except as stated in Categories under Official Contest Rules
      • Fees should be submitted by clicking the PayPal button below
      • Please include your name, book title, and category in the Optional Instructions section on the payment form
Final Judges

Click here for a list of our final judges.


E-mail the Contest Coordinator at heart2heartcontest@gmail.com

Click here for a scoresheet

Click here to enter the contest >