Touch Of Magic ~ Official Contest Rules & Guidelines

Central Florida Romance Writers

2014 Touch of Magic Contest

Who Can Enter

The contest is open to writers not published in book-length fiction during the past five years. For the purposes of this contest, “book-length fiction” is defined as 40,000 words or more and “published” means having fully executed a contract with an RWA-recognized publisher. Self-publishing does not disqualify the entrant. No entrant may submit a manuscript for which a publication offer is pending, or under contract by any other publisher (recognized or not). Previous Touch of Magic winners may not re-enter the same manuscript. No entrant may submit a manuscript to a category s/he is judging or coordinating. If the entry is authored by more than one person in partnership, both authors must meet all entry requirements.

Submission Guidelines

Our mission with Touch of Magic is you give you, the writer, useful feedback to assist you in achieving your goal of publication. The following guidelines are in place to that end:

  • Entries are not judged on marketability. Please note that judges are readers as well, and judging is very subjective.  We recognize that the definition of romance novels is broadening widely and rapidly, and will do our best to ensure that your entry is being judged by judges who are familiar with the genre you are writing.
  • Your entry must fit into one of the six official categories recognized by RWA:
    • Contemporary Series Romance: Romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship, are between 40,000–80,000 words in length, and are issued under a common category line/series name with publisher predetermined word counts and basic content guidelines. These books are often numbered sequentially and released at regular intervals.
    • Contemporary-Single Title Romance: Romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship, released as individual titles, and set in the current time period.
    • Historical Romance: Romance novels set in any historical time period.
    • Inspirational Romance: Romance novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are a major part of the romantic relationship.
    • Paranormal Romance: Romance novels in which the future, a fantasy world, or paranormal elements are an integral part of the plot.
    • Romantic Suspense: Romance novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.
    • Contestants may enter more than one manuscript, but each entry must be submitted separately, and each submission may be entered in only one contest category. Each entry must have a separate online entry form.
    • Steampunk, urban fantasy, or other novels with anachronistic elements should be entered in paranormal. Do not enter them into the historical category.

Entry Fee

Fees are paid by PayPal and each entry requires a separate fee. Fee for each entry:

  • $25.00 CFRW members
  • $30.00 Non-members

Please note this is a non-refundable fee. CFRW reserves the right to cancel any contest categories due to low participation. This is the only instance where a refund will be issued, and the author will be notified and funds returned via PayPal.

Entry Deadline

Complete entries and fees must be received by the contest coordinator no later than midnight  EST  March 15th, 2014. The contest deadline is firm and late entries will not be accepted. Contest entries will be capped at a total of 125.

Manuscript Requirements

A complete submission will include an .rtf file of the beginning of a manuscript (including prologue, if applicable) not to exceed 25 pages total. Optionally, entrants may include a synopsis at the end of the manuscript, not to exceed 3 pages (meaning an entry that includes a synopsis cannot exceed 28 pages total). If included, the synopsis is for judge reference only and will not be scored.

The contest entry must be double-spaced in an appropriate 12-point font, such as Times New Roman or Courier New. Margins are to be 1” all around, not to exceed 25 lines per page. Entries that include script fonts, reduced margins, and 1.5 spacing or less will be disqualified. Page headers must include the manuscript title and contest category on the left, and page number on the right. As an example:

Name of Manuscript/Category                                                                                                        Page 12

To ensure confidentiality and fairness, the entrant’s name(s) must not appear on the document. Entries with names may be disqualified.

Once you have completed registration on the CFRW website and made payment via PayPal, please email your manuscript and optional synopsis to In the e-mail, please include your PayPal email address so the coordinator can confirm your payment was received.

Entries and payments must be received no later than midnight EST March 15th, 2014.


Each entry will be judged in the initial round by three judges. CFRW will make every effort to provide experienced contest judges, including one published judge, per entry. The top three entries will become finalists (four in case of a tie).

Finalists will proceed to a second round of judging by editors from RWA recognized publishers. Finalists will be notified of their status by telephone or email in late April. Finalists will receive their judged entries and will have ten days to make any corrections if they desire. All entrants will receive their judged entries and score sheets.


Finalists will be notified and their status posted on the CFRW website ( in May. Final round results will be posted in June. A list of all winners and finalists will be submitted for inclusion in the monthly RWR magazine.

All finalists will receive a certificate suitable for framing. The first place winner in each category will receive a Touch of Magic charm.

Entrant Agreement

By completing the registration form and submitting payment, entrants acknowledge that they have read and understand the official rules of CFRW’s 2014 Touch of Magic Contest; that they realize and accept that manuscript judging is subjective; that they agree to abide by the decisions of any judge and/or contest official, and  that they shall hold harmless CFRW, its contest personnel, and its judges for any and all disputes arising from contest rulings, decisions, or circumstances beyond the control of contest officials.


Please forward any questions to

Thank you for entering the 2014 Touch of Magic Contest.

We wish you luck!