The purpose of the Maggie Award for Excellence is to encourage, recognize, and reward the mastery of writing romance fiction. For the purposes of this award, a work of fiction is defined as a novel that is not commercially available to the public. Minimum entry is 40,000 words. All entries must fit into one of the Unpublished Maggie categories, contain a central love story, and the resolution of the romance must be emotionally satisfying and optimistic.
Specific contest rules can be found here: Unpublished Maggie Contest Rules
Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that are 65,000 words or more.
Contemporary Romance: Short
Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that are between 40,000 and 65,000 words in length.
Manuscripts in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth, and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may contain elements of other romance subgenres (such as paranormal, historical, etc.).
Manuscripts that are set prior to 1950.
Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance
Mainstream Fiction manuscripts in which themes or elements other than the romance are integral to the story even though a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic resolution to the romance are still present. This category is intended for romances that do not fit neatly into any other category due to their mainstream fiction nature but where the central romance could not be removed without damaging the storyline.
Manuscripts in which fantasy worlds, paranormal, or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot.
Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements
Manuscripts in which religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth, and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may be set in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system of any culture.
Manuscripts in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.
Young Adult/New Adult Romance
A manuscript with romantic themes interwoven with young adult (teen/high school age) OR new adult (twenty-something/college age) issues and concerns to form the central part of the story.