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.

Entries must score higher than 80% in the Preliminary Round to advance to the Finalist round. Only the top three entries in each category with a score higher than 80% (160 points and above) will advance.


Finalist Round

The top three (highest-scoring) entries in each category will be forwarded to one editor and one agent who are familiar with the category. In the case of a tie in the Preliminary Round, up to four entries may be forwarded to the editor and the agent who are judging 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 first-place winner from each category will advance to the Gold Ticket Round. If there is a tie for first-place in any category in the Finalist Round, the tie will be broken using the scores from the preliminary round and only the entry with the highest score from the preliminary round will advance to the Gold Ticket Round.


2018 Finalist Round Judges*

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


Editor:  Lexi Smail, Forever, Grand Central Publishing

Agent:  Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary and Media

Contemporary: Short

Editor:  Stacy Boyd, Harlequin

Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Historical Romance

Editor:  Jennie Conway, St. Martin’s Press

Agent:  Jessica Watterson, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

Editor:  Brittany Lavery, Graydon House Books, HQN Books

Agent:  Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency

Paranormal Romance

Editor:  Cat Clyne, Sourcebooks

Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourrett LLC

Romantic Suspense

Editor: Tahra Seplowin, Graydon House Books, HQN Books

Agent:  Stacey Donaghy, Donaghy Literary Group

Wild Card:  Romantic Elements

Editor:  Vicki Lame, St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books

Agent:  Diana Fox, Fox Literary

Young Adult

Editor:  Annie Berger, Sourcebooks

Agent:  Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC


Gold Ticket Round

The 2018 Gold Ticket Round Judge is Joanna Mackenzie of the Nelson Literary Agency.*

The first-place winner in each category will be automatically entered into the Gold Ticket Round.  First, second and third place overall winners will be chosen by the Gold Ticket Judge.

The winner will receive a 3-month Mentorship from a TRW published author. The second and third-place winners will receive published author critiques. For more details, see “What You Can Win!“.


*Note: TRW reserves the right to change the Finalist Round or Gold Ticket round judge(s) without notifying the entrants.


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