The Carolyn Readers Choice Award

Payments ~ Entry Form ~ Judging Information ~ Scoresheet

PLEASE NOTE: Please make your payment first! The entry form asks for your PayPal transaction number. Thanks!


  • November 19, 2020 ~ contest open for registration and entries
  • November 19, 2020 through February 18, 2021 ~ receipt of entries
  • Mid-to-late January through March 20, 2021 ~ first round judging
  • March 27, 2021 through April 3, 2021 ~ finalists notified
    • Finalists will be notified via e-mail
  • April 4, 2021 ~ finalists officially announced
  • April 7, 2021 through May 2, 2021 ~ final round judging
    • Winners will be notified via e-mail
  • May 2, 2021 through May 7, 2021 ~ winners notified
  • May 7, 2021 ~ winners officially announced
  • June 2021 ~ ad will appear for two weeks starting the week of the RWA National Conference


  • Early Bird Fee, November 19, 2020-December 17, 2020 ~ $25
  • Regular Fee, December 18, 2020-February 18, 2021 ~ $30


  • The Carolyn Readers Choice Award contest is open to all authors of traditional, e-published, and self-published books.
    • Only the author or the publisher may submit an entry.
    • Entries must represent the author’s own original work.
  • No anthologies or story collections accepted. Individual shorts and anthology stories may be entered into one of the six categories. No anthology as a whole is eligible.
  • Authors or publishers may enter more than one book, but no more than two books per category.
  • Books may be entered in one category only.
  • Original copyright or first printing date must be between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
  • Membership in Romance Writers of America® is NOT required.


Please note: categories will be capped at 30 entries; if a category does not receive at least 10 entries by the deadline (02.18.21), authors will be notified and entries transferred to the secondary category.

Romances featuring characters of all races, creeds, ethnicities, genders, and sexualities or with disabilities or containing spiritual/religious elements are welcome to enter. Please enter the category that best suits your entry over all.

All lengths of stories will compete in these five categories. There are no additional categories.

  • Erotic Romance
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Historical Romance
  • Contemporary Romance
  • Specialized Romance: Alternate Earth Histories, Dystopian, Futuristic, Fantasy, Time Travel, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy


  • Early Bird entry fee: $25 per entry
    • available from Nov. 19 to Dec. 17
  • Regular entry fee: $30 per entry
    • available from Dec. 18 to Feb. 18
  • Requests for refunds (minus PayPal fees if applicable) will be considered on a case by case basis and will be discussed & determined by the NTRWA board.
  • Any cost associated with the distribution of the book to judges is the sole responsibility of the author or publisher.

The Prize

  • The winners of each of the five (5) categories will be featured (collectively, not individually) for two weeks on a site and at a time yet to be determined by the Contests Committee. The ad is a $550 value.
  • Each finalist and winner will receive an appropriate website medallion.


  • Entries will be judged by romance readers certifying they are not members of any professional writing organization or associated with the publishing industry in any way other than as a reader.
  • Entries will be judged by five (5) judges in the preliminary round as well as in the final round.
  • Entries receiving the top five (5) highest scores will proceed to the final round.
  • The entry with the highest score in each category will be the winner. In the case of a tie, the winner will be determined by the numerical value of the three tie-breaker questions on the scoresheet.

How to enter

  • Complete the entry form.
    • Each novel entered must have a separate entry form.
  • Pay the entry fee via PayPal.
    • Each entry must have a separate payment.
    • Please contact the contest coordinator if you do not wish to pay via PayPal.
    • Requests for refunds (minus PayPal fees if applicable) will be considered on a case by case basis and will be discussed & determined by the NTRWA board.
  • Submit your book.

Other Information

    • Only PDF copies of your entry will be accepted.
      • PDF version can be a finished PDF or a publisher approved Advanced Reader Copy.
      • The cover does not have to be included, but it’s recommended that you do.
      • Minimum 10-point font size.
    • By sending an electronic copy, the author or publisher acknowledges that up to twelve (12) copies may be sent out between the first and final rounds.
    • While NTRWA requires judges to agree to NOT re-distribute or share electronic documents, NTRWA has no way to enforce this policy.
      • The author accepts this risk when sending an electronic document.
    • Books of any length will compete against one another in any given category. A good story is a good story.
    • Minimum length: 10K
    • Maximum length: 110K
    • Entry in NTRWA’s The Carolyn Readers Choice Award contest constitutes agreement by the author to conform to all contest rules, abide by the decision of the judges, and hold blameless NTRWA, The Carolyn Readers Choice Award contest coordinators and all judges.
    • In entering, the author agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the chapter, its officers, members, contest chair people, and all judges of the contest from liability for its/their actions arising from or relating to judging and handling of the entry and conducting, sponsoring and advertising the event.

If you have any questions, please contact the Carolyn Coordinator.