Paper to Polished: Editing for Success

Paper to Polished: Editing for Success is a five-month immersive program that matches Guide pairs with a Partner Circle of unpublished Participants, helping them realize the next goal in their publishing journey: self-editing their first-draft manuscript. With a combination of written, audio, and visual materials and weekly discussion, critique sessions, writing sprints and special workshops, this program is an extraordinary value!

Please see the calendar for important Paper to Polished: Editing for Success dates.

Please read all the information provided before you enroll. If you have questions about the program, please email with your questions prior to enrolling.


Curious about enrolling in the Paper to Polished: Editing for Success program? Please join us for the informational session we are hosting on Saturday, October 21, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. CT.


Who Can Participate?

Paper to Polished: Editing for Success program is open to people who meet the following criteria:

  • Has completed a first-draft manuscript of a romance novel or novella for use in the program. 
  • Unpublished in novel- or novella-length romance fiction in a commercial market.
  • Not under contract or have an active pre-sale.
  • Prepared to meet the participation requirements, writing commitment, and assignment due dates for the program.
  • Agree to abide by the RWA Code of Ethics.

Can Non-members Participate?

Yes. Non-members can participate provided that they meet the criteria listed above. Non-member Participants agree to follow RWA's Code of Ethics for the duration of the program.

Non-members, we invite you to join RWA first, then register as a member at the lower rate once you receive an email that your membership is confirmed. RWA membership information may be found here. This is an opportunity to both save money and receive the benefits of being a RWA member.

How Are Participants Chosen?

Participants are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis, who meet the eligibility criteria. The number of Participants is contingent on the number of Guides available.

A wait-list will be established in case of additional availability during the first two weeks of the program.

What’s Expected of the Participants?

Participants should be prepared to commit to the entire five-month program.

  • Participants need to meet the entry requirements for the program, including having a completed first draft of a manuscript for a romance novel. A first draft is considered complete when it meets most or all of the following criteria:
    • Your draft meets the conventions of your genre.
    • Your draft meets the average word count length for your genre.
    • You’ve answered most of the story questions raised in the story’s premise.
    • Your story contains a beginning, middle, and end and includes an inciting incident, rising action, a climax, and a resolution.
    • Your protagonists have completed their external and internal arcs.
    • The Happy Ever After (HEA) or Happy For Now (HFN) has been achieved.
    • You’ve written those magical words “The End.”
  • Meet minimum attendance requirements (75%, or at least three live, online Partner Circle meetings per month) and complete assignments as outlined in the syllabus in order to remain in the program.
  • Commit to devoting approximately 8 hours or more per week to the program, including:
    • completing self-study assignments in preparation for Partner Circle meetings;
    • participating in weekly Partner Circle meetings;
    • meeting one-on-one with their Guides at least four times during the program,
    • writing their manuscript; and
    • critiquing peers’ work in progress.
  • Learn from experts in the romance universe via articles, audio recordings, live events, and exclusive videos developed for this program.
  • Engage weekly in six to eight person Partner Circles led by two published author Guides. This writing group will stick together throughout the program, creating that inner circle of allies and writing partners that could last long after the program ends.
  • Where applicable, give and receive valuable critiques that enhance Participant’s knowledge and apply writing techniques to meet reader’s expectations. All Participants are required to receive critiques on their manuscripts and are required to critique the work of other Participants, in the relevant sections of the course.
  • A Participant Liaison keeps in touch with Participants and helps them work through any challenges to ensure they get the most possible from the program. Participants will communicate issues or concerns to their Guide or Participant Liaison immediately.
  • At the end of each learning unit, Participants complete an evaluation, to provide immediate feedback that facilitates continuous improvement in the program.

Paper to Polished: Editing for Success will be available separately at an additional fee beginning in autumn 2023.

By participating in the Paper to Polished: Editing for Success program (“Program”), you agree to release, waive, and discharge the Romance Writers of America (“RWA”), including its directors, employees, and agents, from liability from any and all claims relating to your participation in the Program, including misappropriation or misuse of any intellectual property or breached expectations of confidentiality regarding your submitted works.

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