Official Rules



Entries may be received as of December 1, 2017, 12:01 a.m. and must be received in their entirety by

February 1, 2018, 11:59 p.m.

Only the first 130 entries will be accepted~


Contest Eligibility

The Catherine is open to:

  1. ALL unpublished writers (you do not have to be a member of TRW or RWA). For the purpose of the 2018 contest, “unpublished” shall include authors who have not published in the last five years or more. If you are a published author, you may enter our published author contest
  2. Entrants who have not accepted a publishing offer for novel-length original fiction or self-published a novel-length work of original fiction on a platform where their work can be made commercially available before February 1, 2018. For example, entries appearing on Wattpad, in a newsletter or on social media are acceptable but work published on Amazon, or on other retail platforms, for free is not. Note: Authors who have not published in five years or more must not have accepted a publishing offer for novel-length original fiction or self-published a novel-length work of original fiction on a platform where their work can be made commercially available since February 1, 2012.
  3. Entrants must be 18 years of age at the time of entry.

Previously entered submissions may be entered again, but previous winning entries in any past contest sponsored by Toronto Romance Writers may not be entered again, even if revised; however, these authors may enter different manuscripts if they still meet the above criteria.

Previously entered submissions will be assigned new judges.

Entry Format

If an entry received does not adhere to the standards listed below, the category coordinator will return the submission to the entrant for correction. The entry will not be considered officially entered until the entry is returned to the category coordinator and they confirm the corrections are made.

  1. Entries must be the first twenty-five pages of a manuscript.  TIP:  Do not end in mid-sentence. End on a hook if possible!
  2. A synopsis is required and may be between two to five pages. The synopsis is in addition to the first twenty-five pages of your manuscript. The maximum number of pages accepted in an entry is thirty pages.
  3. The manuscript and synopsis must be combined together into ONE document. The synopsis must be placed at the end of the manuscript.
  4. Author’s name and any identifying information must NOT appear on the manuscript or synopsis or the entry will be disqualified.
  5. The file names of entries submitted should be formatted as Your Name_Title_ Category Entered  Example:  Jane Doe_Who Am I_Romantic Suspense
    Acceptable file extensions are .docx or .doc
  6.  Entries must be formatted as follows:
      • 8.5 x 11 inch page size (A4 accepted for entries from outside North America)
      • 1-inch margins all around and left-justified
      • Paragraph indents measuring 1.27 cm or 0.5 inch
      • Double-spaced throughout including synopsis
      • 12 pt. Times New Roman font. Other fonts are not accepted.
      • Header information on every page should include category entered, title, and page number only and be positioned on the top right of the page. For example, Romantic Suspense/SCARED  2. IMPORTANT:  Category entered must be one of The Catherine’s offered categories, i.e., Contemporary Romance, Contemporary: Short Romance, Historical Romance, Mainstream with a Central Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, Wild Card: Romantic Elements or Young Adult. If more than one category appears in the header or any qualifications to the category name appear in the header, such as “Mainstream with a Central Suspenseful Romance and Paranormal Elements,” the entry will be returned to the entrant for correction and will not be considered officially entered until the corrected entry is returned to the category coordinator.
      • No cover/title page
      • Chapter Breaks follow standard manuscript format, meaning chapter breaks start one-third of the way down, centred, on a new page.

Registration, Entry Fees and Deadline:

Entrants may enter more than once in multiple categories but no more than three entries per category are permitted. One entry may not be entered in more than one category. All entries must be entered on the registration form. Each entry requires a separate entry fee to be paid at time of registration. All entries must be emailed separate from the registration form to If an entry is not received within two days of payment, the payment will be refunded.

All entry forms and related entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on February 1, 2018.

A refund will not be granted if a contestant withdraws an entry after submission.

If an entry is discovered to violate the contest eligibility requirements, the entry will be disqualified and a refund will not be granted.

No refunds will be issued for entries disqualified for not following the submission guidelines or otherwise violating the rules of the contest.


Important Information

If fewer than ten entries are received in an individual category, the contest coordinator reserves the right to cancel the category. If the category is cancelled, contestants will be notified and allowed to choose an alternate category or receive a full refund.

Toronto Romance Writers reserves the right to limit the number of entries in any category to twenty-five entries.

All decisions regarding entries or clarification of any rules will be made by the Contest Coordinator and the Toronto Romance Writers Board of Directors, and will be considered final.

*All efforts will be made to ensure contest information is accurate. Toronto Romance Writers reserves the right to make changes to the contest as necessary. Any changes to the contest will be posted on the Toronto Romance Writers website at These changes may differ from information posted in the downloadable Official Rules and Information PDF.


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