THE 2016 CONTEST IS NOW OPEN FOR ENTRIES!
The Beacon is a romantic fiction writing contest designed to closely mimic the categories of Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart (c) contest. Judges provide feedback intended to assist authors in modifying their entries prior to the RWA Golden Heart deadline. In addition, agents and editors judging the finalists often request partials or full manuscripts, which can help an unpublished writer become published!
1. Read the category descriptions farther down this page to determine which category you wish to enter.
2. Format your manuscript as explained below:
- Double-spaced, no more than 20 pages (do not include a synopsis)
- One inch margins
- Include a header on each page (Title, Contest Category in upper left corner; page number in upper right corner)
- Do not include your name on the entry anywhere
- No more than 27 lines per page (including header)
- Use a 12 point or larger font, easily readable such as TNR or Courier
- Document should be in .RTF or .DOC or .DOCX file format
3. Once your manuscript is formatted and ready, and you know which category you are entering, then click the registration button. This will take you to the RWA website (Romance Writers of America). Be prepared with PayPal or a Credit Card.
Fee: $25 FCRW members, $30 RWA member (not FCRW), $35 non-RWA member.
More contest details follow, including category descriptions and final round judge information.
- All finalists and winners receive a certificate and BRAGGING RIGHTS!
- A GIF Beacon image to update the authors’ websites to denote that they are a finalist or a winner.
- Winners receive a Beacon Lapel Pin.
- All entrants receive constructive feedback from the judges to help them modify and improve their work.
- Finalists have their work seen by an editor and an agent, which could lead to an offer for publication.
- The Beacon is open to unpublished writers of romantic fiction.
- The Beacon is also open to published authors, provided they have not been published or contracted in book length fiction (40,000+ words) in the category which they are entering, in the past 3 years.
Contest Deadlines and Dates
- 08/01/2016 – Contest is open for entries
- 08/31/2016 – Contest closes to entries
- 10/15/2016 – Finalists announced and given chance to revise their entries
- 10/22/2016 – Finalists’ entries due to Final Round Judges
- 10/31/2016 – Scores and comments returned to entrants
- 12/15/2016 – Winners are announced on this website and various RWA loops
Rules and Submission Guidelines
- Electronic submissions only
- Choose the category that best fits your story (see category definitions below)
- Entry consists of a maximum of the first 20 pages of a manuscript (double-spaced). No synopsis required.
- Entrants can enter as many entries as they wish, in as many categories as they wish. However, each entry can only be entered in ONE category.
- A category must receive a minimum of 5 entries or it will be cancelled. Any entrants whose category is cancelled will be contacted and allowed to choose an alternate category.
- Contest is limited to the first 125 entries.
- The contest entry deadline will NOT be extended unless man-made or natural disasters are deemed by the FCRW Executive board to have interfered significantly with the ability of the contest to accept entries.
- All entries will be judged in the first round by two trained judges. When possible, one of the judges will be a published author.
- In the case of a discrepancy between two judges on an entry, where the point spread is 20+ points, a third judge will be brought in. The lowest score will be dropped.
- Each finalist will have their entry judged by one agent and one editor.
- Finalists will have an opportunity to revise the contest entry based on judges’ comments before the final round.
- Our Scoresheet provides a summary at a glance. In addition, judges are encouraged to offer detailed feedback/critiques within the entry itself.
- Final round judges are subject to change when unavoidable.
2016 BEACON CATEGORY DEFINITIONS AND FINAL ROUND JUDGES
Category or Series Romance (Short Contemporary Romance)
Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that are less than 65,000 words.
Agent: Scott Eagan-Greyhaus Literary Agency
Editor: Kathryn Lye-Harlequin
Contemporary Romance (Single Title)
Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that are 65,000+ words in length.
Agent: Rebecca Strauss–De Fiore & Co. Literary Agency
Editor: Elizabeth Poteet of St. Martin’s Press
Manuscripts in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These manuscripts may contain elements of other romance subgenres (such as paranormal, historical, etc.).
Agent: LaToya C. Smith, Lori Perkins Agency
Editor: Toni Kelley – Acquisitions Editor eXtasy Books
Historical Romance (Including Regency)
Manuscripts that are set prior to 1950.
Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan-Handspun Literary Agency
Editor: Elle Keck-HarperCollins (Avon)
Contains a strong romantic element, such that one or more romances contained in the story form an integral part of the story’s structure, but in which other themes or stories may also be significantly developed. Includes Chick Lit, Mainstream, and Women’s Fiction.
Agent: Shannon Hassan, The Marsal Lyon Agency
Editor: Susan Litman-Harlequin
Manuscripts in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.
Agent: Laurie McLean – Managing Partner; Fuse Literary Agency
Editor: Nicole Fischer-HarperCollins (Avon)
Manuscripts in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot.
Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger Agency
Editor: Tera Cuskaden, Editorial Director for Entangled’s Select Otherworld
Manuscripts in which young adult life is an integral part of the plot.
Agent: Jessica Errera of Jane Rotrosen Agency
Editor: KC Mead-Brewer, Developmental Editor for Bancroft Press
KC Mead-Brewer serves as an editor with Cleaver Magazine and as Developmental Editor and Literary Adapter for Bancroft Press. For more information, visit: kcmeadbrewer.com or follow her @meadwriter
Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may be set in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system of any culture.
Agent: Melissa Jeglinski-The Knight Agency
Editor: Shana Asaro-Harlequin Love Inspired
Questions? For more information, please contact the Beacon Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org
PREVIOUS BEACON WINNERS
Category Length Series
Contemporary Romance (Single Title)
Historical / Regency
Young Adult Romance