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2016 Great Beginnings Contest

Sponsored by the Utah Chapter of
Romance Writers of America®

Enter the opening five (5) pages of romance novels of all sub-genres (projected length of at least 50,000 words).
Eligibility: Contest is open to published and unpublished authors. Published authors may submit only unpublished, uncontracted manuscripts that will remain unpublished until the contest has concluded.
NOTE on Judging: Every entry will be judged 3 times, at least once by a PAN member.

Contest Timeline:

  • February 14, 2016 - **Entry Deadline**
  • March 31, 2016 - Finalists announced and all finalists entries sent to the final judges
  • April 30, 2016 - Winners announced and posted on website
  • May 31, 2016 - All score sheets returned to contest entrants


  • Contemporary: Single title, category, mainstream, or inspirational in a contemporary setting.
  • Historical: Single title, category, Regencies, suspense, mainstream, or inspirational in an historical setting.
  • Paranormal: Time travel, ghost, futuristic, inspirational in a paranormal setting, or paranormals of all other kinds.
  • Romantic Suspense: Single title, category.

*URWA reserves the right to combine categories if fewer than eight entries are received.*

Final Round Judges


An individual may enter more than one manuscript, may enter in more than one category and may enter more than once per category; however, each submission must have its own entry fee and completed entry form. The same entry may not be entered in more than one category.

  • The first place recipients their choice of one of three top prizes: A thirty page critique and edit by a multi-published author, a designed book cover (cover artist TBA), or a $20 Amazon gift card.
  • All finalists will be recognized in the Romance Writers Report.

Every first round entry will be judged 3 times, at least once by a RWA PAN member. All judges are encouraged to comment on entries.

(See Judge's Scoresheet)

Tips on the Judging Criteria:
Is this contest right for your manuscript?

  • Does your story make the reader want to keep turning the pages from the beginning?
  • Do you have a great opening line?
  • Is your manuscript easy to read? (i.e. free of major grammatical and spelling errors)

Submission Checklist:

  • Contest fee: URWA Members - $10. Non-URWA Members - $15. Paid via PayPal, check or money order, drawn on U.S. funds, made payable to Utah/Salt Lake Chapter RWA®. (Each entry must be accompanied by the entry fee.)
  • Each ELECTRONIC entry MUST include a completed entry form.
  • Up to the first five (5) pages of your manuscript. Do not submit more than five pages; only five pages will be judged.
  • Submissions should be in standard manuscript format.
  • 1" margins.
  • Double-spaced.
  • " Typed in an easily-read font, such as Times New Roman, that is acceptable for submission to publishing houses.
  • A maximum of 25 lines per page.
  • In the header on each page, include title, category, and page number.
  • Your name must ONLY appear on the entry form and not on any manuscript page. If authors name(s) appear on the entry pages, the entry will be disqualified and the entry fee will be forfeited.
  • Send all entries to: Jennifer Beckstrand at JenniferGBeckstrand [@]


For all questions and comments, please contact the contest coordinator, Jennifer Beckstrand at JenniferGBeckstrand [@]

[NOTE: If you wish to send thank you notes to judges after completion of contest, please e-mail them to the above address with the judge number.]

To Enter:  Please fill out the ELECTRONIC ENTRY FORM . After you complete and submit the entry form, return to this page to use our easy PayPal Cart to process your entry fee.

Click here for Electronic Entry Form

Utah RWA
2016 Great Beginnings
Contest Fee
URWA Member $10.00
Non-Member $15.00
Contest Fee

If you are mailing your entry fee, send to:
Utah RWA
Great Beginnings Contest
P.O.Box 59
Roy, UT 84067

Click here for Manual Entry Form to send with your check.

Previous Year's Winners
Click here to see the Winners of the 2014 Great Beginnings Contest

Click here to see the Winners of the 2013 Great Beginnings Contest

Click here to see the Winners of the 2012 Great Beginnings Contest
Click here to see the Winners of the 2011 Great Beginnings Contest
Click here to see the Winners of the 2010 Great Beginnings Contest
Click here to see the Winners of the 2009 Great Beginnings Contest

Updated 11/10/15