The next big contest of the year for our Aspiring and Emerging members is the Emerald, which is open 31 October – 21 November. This special reader-judged contest offers the chance to have your full manuscript evaluated by your target audience.
Our judges are keen romance readers, found in libraries, bookstores, reader organisations like ARRA, trains, offices, couches and bedrooms all over the country—and we’d all love to know what they think of our books!
The first round of the Emerald is for the first 10,000 words (increased from 5,000 for last year) of your unpublished romantic manuscript (10K+). The top 15 entries will progress to the second round, where the full manuscript is judged by our readers.
Three well-deserving finalists will win a reading by our final judge: Rebecca Saunders, Fiction Publisher, Hachette Australia. So get your entries ready!
You’ll be able to enter via a link on the temporary RWA website.
FAQ: Does your manuscript need to be finished to enter the Emerald? Well, we recommend that it is finished, or very close to – because if you make the second round (which is typically announced early in the new year) you’ll be asked to submit the full with only a few days notice.
CHANGES TO THE EMERALD PRO for published authors
The Emerald Pro is also open 31 October – 21 November. This is our “Emerald for published authors”, available to our Emerging and Established members who already have works commercially available.
In response to feedback from members, we’re making a few changes for this year.
Originally the Pro was designed to give entrants reader feedback without the stress and risk of publishing – but members also want publishing pathways, as well as prize money, along with the kudos of winning a hard-fought contest. So for this year:
- We’re having a third round of judging, by an editor/agent final judge, just like the ‘unpublished’ Emerald. So in addition to getting valuable anonymous feedback from readers, our three finalists will have their full manuscript read by our final judge – Esi Sogah, Senior Editor, Kensington Books.
- To that end, we’ve removed the requirement that your entry be in a subgenre that you’re not published in. We know you’ll want to put your best work in front of the final judge. So enter whatever subgenre you like – as long as your entry remains unpublished and uncontracted for the duration of the contest.
- Prize money! We’ve included prize money for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, the same as for the ‘unpublished’ Emerald.
Your first round entry is the first 10,000 words of your unpublished/uncontracted manuscript. The top 15 who make the second round will submit their full manuscript.
As for the Emerald, you’ll be able to enter the Pro via a link on the temporary RWA website.