Preliminary Round

Two judges from the Toronto Romance Writers will score each entry and the scoresheets from each judge will be returned to the entrant.

All judges are RWA/TRW members who have received formal training. Judges will be a combination of published authors and romance writers.

Each entry will be scored using the Official Scoresheet.

The scores from both judges will be averaged for a final preliminary round score.

If the scores from the first two judges are more than 20 points apart, a third judge will be enlisted to score the entry. The scores of all three judges will then be used as follows: the lowest score will be dropped and the top two scores will be averaged for a final preliminary round score.


Finalist Round

Entries must score higher than 80% to advance to the finalist round. In the case of a tie, up to four entries may be forwarded to the editor and the agent who are judging the category.

The top three entries in each category will be forwarded to one editor and one agent who are familiar with the category. Individually, the editor and the agent will score the top three category finalists out of 10.

The scores from the editor and agent will be averaged and used to determine the ranking of the entries.

There will be one first place winner in each category. Each category winner will receive a published author critique before advancing to the Gold Ticket Round.


2017 Finalist Round Judges*

Click on the Editor or Agent’s name for more information.



Editor:  Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks

Agent:  Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein, McIntosh & Otis

Contemporary: Short

Editor: Piya Campana, Harlequin

Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Erotic Romance

Editor: Brenda Chin, Entangled Publishing 

Agent:  Courtney Miller-Callihan, Handspun Literary

Historical Romance

Editor:  Jennie Conway, St. Martin’s Press

Agent:  Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency

Romantic Suspense

Editor:  Elizabeth May, Kensington Publishing 

Agent:  Stacey Donaghy, Donaghy Literary Group

Paranormal Romance

Editor:  Angela James, Carina Press

Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourrett LLC

Young Adult

Editor:  Annie Berger, Sourcebooks

Agent:  Vanessa Robins, The Corvisiero Literary Agency

Mainstream Fiction with Romantic Elements

Editor: Allison Carroll, Graydon House Books

Agent:  Janna Bonikowski, The Knight Agency


Gold Ticket Round

The 2017 Gold Ticket Round Judge is Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency.*

The first place winner in each category will be automatically entered into the Gold Ticket Round. They will be given two weeks to make revisions after receiving their published author critiques. An overall winner and runner-up will be chosen by the Gold Ticket Judge.

The winner and runner-up will receive a 3-month Mentorship from a published author. For more details, see “What You Can Win!“.


*Note: TRW reserves the right to change the final round or

Gold Ticket round judge(s) without notifying the entrants.


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