Maggie Awards For Unpublished Romance Novelists Rules

The purpose of the Unpublished Maggie Award for Excellence Published is to encourage, recognize, and reward the mastery of romance writing by unpublished authors of romantic fiction. The Maggie Award is a symbol of achievement given by the Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) to bring special attention to these writers. The Maggie, a silver medallion commissioned by GRW, receives national attention. Manuscripts will be scored by agents and editors in the publishing industry. The names and categories of Maggie recipients and finalists will appear in the Romance Writers Report.

Unpublished Maggies have now closed.

Entry form for the Unpublished Maggie Contest 


Entry must have a minimum length of 40,000 words and fit into one of the following romance categories. For a detailed description of each category, please see Category Descriptions and Judges Guidelines link.

  • Contemporary Romance (CR)
  • Contemporary Romance: Short (CRS)
  • Erotic Romance (ER)
  • Historical Romance (HR)
  • Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance (MFCR)
  • Paranormal Romance (PR)
  • Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements (RRSE)
  • Romantic Suspense (RS)
  • Young Adult / New Adult Romance (YA/NA)


  • If you are published with more than 40,000 words, either traditional or self-published, you are NOT eligible for Unpublished Maggies. Please see the Published Maggies rules.
  • If you are a published author who has not been published in 5 years or more, you are eligible.
  • Authors who have accepted a publishing offer for, or Self-Published, any work of original fictional narrative prose of 40,000 words or more by the date the contest opens are not eligible to enter the Unpublished Maggies.
  • Entered works must not be published as long as they are under consideration for the Maggie Award.
  • All entries are to be submitted electronically, via email.
  • An author is limited to three (3) entries per category. There is no cap to the number of categories an author may enter.
  • An entry may not be entered in more than one category.
  • An entry must not have previously received a Maggie Medallion.
  • Categories with fewer than 10 submissions may be canceled. Entrants will be contacted to either select another category or request a refund.


  • Three (3) published authors will judge each entry. Editors/Agents in the romance genre will judge the final round.
  • Judges will critique the manuscripts with constructive feedback.
  • Decision of the judge is final.
  • Names of the First Round Judges will NOT be released to entrants.


  • Highest scored manuscript in each category will receive the Maggie Medallion.
  • All finalists will receive certificates.
  • Finalists will be notified by July 19, 2018.
  • Winners will be announced October 6, 2018 at the Moonlight & Magnolias awards banquet.

Entries must be RECEIVED by May 6, 2018 at 10pm Eastern, and must follow format requirements.

Format Requirements:

Please read instructions carefully.

  • Standard manuscript format; double spaced, one inch margins, no more than 27 lines per page with header (title, contest category in upper left, page number in upper right).
  • 12-pt font in either Times New Roman or Courier.
  • Title must match what is listed on your online entry form.
  • A copy of the confirmation sent to you upon payment must be attached.
  • Author name must NOT appear on the manuscript or your entry will be disqualified and entry fee forfeited.
  • Total number of double-spaced pages may not exceed 10,000 words per entry. Entry must include (in ONE document):
    • prologue (if applicable)
    • first chapter(s)
    • synopsis (typically a few pages, but not more than 10 pages, double-spaced, and placed at the end of entry)
  • Entry to be submitted electronically only, in rich text format (.rtf).
  • Entry to be saved by manuscript title.


Some Mac users have difficulty when saving a DOC/DOCX file to the RTF format and suddenly, the header disappears. Mac defaults Word processing to the TextEditor for RTF files instead of Word. (TextEditor is a simple, open source word processing function.) Please consider following the below steps to rid of the TextEditor default for RTF files. You only need to do this once. After that, Word and all of the features will work as they should with RTF docs.

Steps to convert RTF/Word documents from TextEditor to Word:

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Open up your FINDER (where all your files are stored) and locate your entry.
  3. Highlight the entry/file.
  4. Right click on it.
  5. Scroll down and choose GET INFO.
  6. Scroll down and choose OTHER.
  7. Select Microsoft WORD.
  8. Select CHANGE ALL (this will prevent it from happening to RTF docs again).

If you want to read more about it, here is a link to a good discussion of why it happens.

Fees and Entry Procedures:

GRW Member: $30

RWA Member: $35

Non-Member: $40

  • Payment through Paypal only. No personal checks accepted.
  • PLEASE PAY ONLY ONCE. If you are unsure your payment has been processed, please contact the Maggie Chair at or check your Paypal account. If you pay twice, we will refund your money by check (required by our bylaws), less the Paypal fees.
  • Please list category, manuscript title and author name in the memo section of the Paypal form so they can be matched with the entry forms. Also, please click back to the GRW site after payment to complete the entry.
  • The entry will not be approved until the coordinator for that category has received official verification payment has been received by the GRW Treasurer. If you do not receive confirmation of receipt of your entry before the deadline, please notify the Maggie Chair immediately.
  • Email your entry to the Category Coordinator. You will receive the address information in your registration confirmation email.
  • Include:
    • Email Subject line: Title/Category/Entrant Name
    • Attach both a copy of Confirmation Email, payment confirmation, and your Entry (saved by manuscript title in .rtf format)


May 6, 2018 – 10 PM Eastern

  • Appropriate fees must be received by the GRW Treasurer and funds verified before your entry will be accepted.
  • Entries, including completed entry form, must be RECEIVED at the appropriate email address you will be given for your chosen category and accepted by May 6, 2018, 10:00 pm, Eastern Time AND before your category is full.
  • Those received after that date or received after the category is declared full will be rejected for entry.
  • Failure to comply with any of the above rules may disqualify the entry and the entry fee will not be refunded.

Return of Entries:

Every effort will be made to return entries before the 2018 Moonlight & Magnolias Conference.


Contact Maggie Chair, Diana Hicks at

Final Round Judges for Unpublished Maggies

(Subject to change)

Contemporary Short Romance
Rosann Armstrong
Senior Editor, Wild Rose Press

Contemporary Romance
Jennie Conway
Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press

Erotic Romance
Trish Owens
Editor, Wild Rose Press

Historical Romance
Norma Perez-Hernandez
Editorial Assistant, Kensington

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

Margaret Johnston
Editorial Assistant, Sourcebooks & Sourcebooks Landmark

Paranormal Romance
Diana Gill
Executive Editor, Tor/Forge

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements
Becky Durost Fish
Editor,  Barbour Books

Romantic Suspense
Alexis Logan
Senior Editor, Grand Central Publishing

Young Adult / New Adult Romance
Lydia Sharp
Editor, Entangled Publishing