Maggie Award for Excellence Category Descriptions

Overall Maggie Award guidelines applicable to all categories:

The purpose of the Maggie Award is to encourage, recognize, and reward the mastery of writing romantic fiction. For the purposes of this award, a work of fiction is defined as a novel that is made commercially available to the public. Projected minimum entry length is 40,000 words – except for Novella which must be between 20,000 and 40,000 words, and each entry must fit into one of the following categories:

Contemporary Single Title Romance – A longer novel (traditionally 70,000 + words) that focuses on the romantic relationship and is targeted for release as a standalone title. The romance should be central to the story development. Plots may include suspense, thriller or mystery elements as an integral part of the love story.

Category/Short Romance – A novel where the primary focus highlights the romantic relationship as the central part of the story and the novel length is between 40,000 and 70,000 words in length. Plots may include suspense, thriller or mystery elements as an integral part of the love story.

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements – Novels 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. This category was formerly known as the Inspirational Category and should not be confused with the Paranormal/Fantasy Romance category.

Historical Romance – A novel set in any time period and any location prior to 1945. The romance should be central to the story development. Suspense or mystery elements can be included within the plot as long as the historical setting remains uncompromised and the love story remains the central focus of the plot.

Paranormal/Fantasy Romance – A novel in which paranormal/fantasy elements are integral parts of the plot. The paranormal/fantasy elements should blend with the love story. Urban Fantasy Romances also fit into this category. Urban Fantasies might not have a Happily-Ever-After at the end but must elude to a potential one at the end of the series. Examples of such Urban Fantasies: Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series, Jeanine Frost’s Night Huntress series.

*Paranormal/Fantasy elements could include, but are not limited to, new worlds or universes, mysticism, angels and demons, ghosts/goblins/ghouls, vampires and zombies, or shapeshifters. Also, any story where science and its application or experimentation leads the story into fantastical and extraordinary events can be classified as having paranormal elements.

Young Adult Romance – A novel with romantic themes interwoven with young adult issues and concerns to form the central part of the story. Young adults between the ages of 12-19 should be the targeted audience. Plots can include, but are not limited to, elements such as, paranormal, suspense/thriller, or mystery.

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance – Mainstream Fiction novels 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. This was formerly known as the Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category where commercial fiction, literary fiction, suspense/mystery/thriller fiction, or novels with thematic or emotional elements, including women’s self-discovery or emotional life journey where romance is present in the story but not the central focus, can be considered in this category. Must include an HEA or happy for now ending.

Romantic Suspense – Novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

Romance Novella (Published Maggies, only) – Novellas are between 20,000 and 40,000 words.