The Golden Heart Award

The purpose of RWA’s Golden Heart contest is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding manuscripts written by members who have not published a Novel or Novella. Golden Heart necklace


About the Contest

Approximately 500 romance manuscripts are entered in the Golden Heart each year by RWA members who have not accepted a publishing offer for, or self-published, a work of original fictional narrative prose of 20,000 words or more (by the contest entry deadline).

A writer may enter a romance manuscript in one of eight contest categories. In the preliminary round, the manuscripts are read and judged by General RWA members. Judges enter a numeric score (1-10) for each entry assigned.  Judges do not provide feedback, critiques, or reviews.  Entries meeting the qualifications to final will proceed to the final round of judging.

The final round of the contest is judged by acquiring editors from romance publishing houses. Many Golden Heart finalists sell their manuscripts to publishers as a result of the exposure from the contest.

Romance Writers of America reveals the Golden Heart winners at the Awards Ceremony at the RWA Annual Conference. Golden Heart winners receive a gold, heart-shaped necklace in recognition of their achievements.

The words Golden Heart® and the drawing of the Golden Heart emblem are registered service marks belonging to RWA. The design/emblem of the Golden Heart necklace may not be used in generic fashion as a logo or decorative motif for any purpose in any publication not explicitly authorized by RWA. Permission to use RITA and Golden Heart symbols and institutional marks of RWA for any publication in other than fair use, hard-news reporting must be obtained in writing from RWA.