For many years, the Golden Palm writing contest has provided published and unpublished authors the opportunity to receive feedback from other romance writers as other judges and as well as the chance to win a cash price.

Hundreds of romance manuscripts have been entered into the competition within seven different categories. 

“The Golden Palm was the contest that gave me the feedback and the confidence to keep writing. The judges provided valuable insight, making my story and my writing process stronger. It was clear they’d taken the time to read and invest in my submission-that they truly wanted me to succeed. To any author looking for a worthwhile contest, this is one I highly recommend”. – Sasha Summers, Best Selling Author.

The Florida Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America, is proud to announce the Golden Palm Contest for published and unpublished writers. 

You can be the next winner!

At least one published author will judge each entry in the first round.  Participating published authors, editors and agents will judge the final round.  All submissions will remain anonymous to the judges. 

For a non-published author, this is the perfect opportunity to avoid the slush pile and get your work critiqued by an editor or agent.  Previously, finalists sold because of the Golden Palm Contest.

Final round judges include:

Marsha Zinberg, Editor

Charles Greimsman, Harlequin,

Sharon Mergl Belcastro, Agent

Kathryn Falk owner of Romantic Times

Carly Byrne, UK Harlequin Historical

Susan Litman Harlequin Special Edition

Elizabeth May Editor Kensington, Historical, Sci Fi/Fantasy, Women’s Fiction, Romance

and more to come…


  • Contemporary
  • Historical
  • Young Adult
  • New Adult
  • Paranormal
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Multicultural
  • Inspirational


The purpose of the FRW Golden Palm Contest is to challenge and inspire published and unpublished authors of romance. In addition, it is to help these authors prepare for the process of sending proposals to editors, to bring their careers to a higher level.


The author must enter new, original work that has not been published by a traditional publisher, self- published, or contracted to be published. The entry is for a story with a projected length of over 40,000 words.  You may enter as many entries as you like, but EACH ENTRY cannot be entered in more than ONE CATEGORY.  Any manuscript that has previously been a finalist or won in the Golden Palm is not eligible for
entry. Entries must meet all contest criteria.

Entry Procedure

1. Email Entry Form and Entry to appropriate category Email Address listed below.  (Electronic Entries only, no paper entries accepted.)

2. We accept two forms of Payment:

  • By mail: Send a check/money order payable to Florida Romance Writers ($25 for FRW member/$35 for non-members). Mail to: Florida Romance Writers, P. O. Box 260296,  Pembroke Pines, FL 33026.

Include your name, title of entry, category, phone number and email address with the check.

  •  By PayPal: For your convenience, you can pay on the FRW website (

Please include in the PayPal Notes your name, title of entry, category, phone number, and email address.

3. Entrants will be notified of receipt of entry and payment.

Entry Fees

The entry fee for FRW Members is $25, and for non-members the entry fee is $35.00.

Please fill out the entry form and click submit before paying for the contest fees.

Entry Deadline

To qualify, all entry forms with entries, checks, and PayPal payments must be received by Tuesday, September 15, 2020, midnight EST.  Mailed checks must be postmarked by September 15, 2020 midnight EST.  Any entry and monies received after that time will be returned and the entry disqualified.

FRW reserves the right to return all entries and fees if the minimum entry number of ten (10) for each category is not received.  FRW reserves the right to cap the contest at150, and to change final judges if necessary.  Entrants will be contacted and will have the option to place their entry in another category.

Entry Details / Checklist

Entries will be accepted in electronic (e-mail) transmissions ONLY.  See below for the formatting guidelines.  If you have problems sending your entry electronically, email Contest Coordinator, Virginia Martin, at for assistance.

Each emailed Entry should include two attachments and be sent to the appropriate category email address below:

  • Each entry with a minimum of 30 pages, a maximum of 50 pages, double-spaced.
  • One (1) completed “Entry Form” for each entry.
  • Author’s name, Manuscript Title, Category must be listed in the subject line of the e-mail entry. (Example:  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Contemporary)
  • You will receive an email confirmation of the arrival of entry and payment. If you do not receive a confirmation within five days of sending, please e-mail the Contest Coordinator to check on the status.
  • Entries should be received in RTF (rich text format) format only and should be formatted in standard manuscript format, ready for printing. This includes the header and page number (please, no names in header).
  • Should you advance to the final round, you will have seven (7) days to make noted changes and e-mail your entry back to the Category Coordinator. The Category Coordinator will then forward your entry onto the appropriate editor/agent/author for final judging.
  • All judged entries will be returned by e-mail after the finalists are announced.

Entry Format

1. Entry must be presented in proper standard manuscript format (double-spaced, approximately 1” margins, size 12-pt font, Courier or Times New Roman).  Hard to read fonts will be disqualified.

2. The header on the manuscript should contain title and category in the upper left corner and the page number in the right corner. (For combined categories, i.e.: Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Time Travel), please also specify which sub-category your entry fits into.

3. The name of the author must NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript or the entry will be disqualified!

4. The same manuscript may NOT be entered into more than one category.  Pick the category that best fits your manuscript entry. Any entry that has won or placed as a final in the contest previously will
not be eligible for reentry.

5. Judges:  If you are a contestant, you may not judge the same category in which you are entered.

If the above rules aren’t met, the entry may be disqualified, and the entry fee may not be refunded.


First Round:  The first round will be judged by experienced judges and published authors. Each entry will be judged by (3) judges with at least one (1) being a published author.  The lowest score will be dropped. The final round contestants will be chosen by the average of the final two scores.  The top three entries in each category will advance to the final round. (In the event of a tie, a discrepancy judge will be used.)

Judges are encouraged to type comments directly on the manuscript and on the score sheet.

Final Round:  The finalists in each category will be ranked by an editor/agent/published author, and the editor/agent/published author will be encouraged to give a brief evaluation.

Notification and Announcement of Winners

Notification: First round finalists will be notified by approximately, October 20, 2020.

Announcement of the Winners will be made at the January 2021 Florida Romance Writers meeting. Announcement to those winners who aren’t attending will be made by phone and/or email.


First Place in each category will receive $100, along with a Certificate and a Golden Palm pin. 

Second and third in each category will receive a certificate. 

An announcement will be made in the RWR.

Emails by Category and Entry Form:

Any questions about this contest may be directed to: Virginia Martin, Contest Coordinator for the Golden Palm – Florida Romance Writers, at

Entry Fees Payment Form

Golden Palm Contest