Joyce Henderson Contest Rules

Southwest Florida Romance Writers
26th Annual Writing Contest

The Joyce Henderson Contest 2016




Contemporary (including Women’s Fiction)
Editor: Sue Grimshaw, Penguin Random House
Agent: Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Associates

Editor: Lee Lawless, Tor/Forge Publishing
Agent: Dawn Dowdle, Blue Ridge Literary Agency

Paranormal/Science Fiction/Fantasy
Editor: Georgia Woods, Hartwood Publishing
Agent: Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency

Young Adult
Editor: Mary Altman, Sourcebooks
Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary Agency

Romantic Suspense
Editor: Junessa Viloria, Penguin Random House
Agent: Jessica Waterson, Dijkstra Agency

*NEW* Inspirational
Editor: Susan Brower, Gilead Publishing
Agent: Julie Gwinn, The Seymour Agency


  • The chance to get your manuscript in front of a top industry editor AND agent!
  • All winners announced in the Romance Writers Report.
  • Within each category, winners will receive:
    • 1st place: $50 and a Certificate of Achievement
    • 2nd place: $20 and a Certificate of Achievement
    • 3rd place: Certificate of Achievement

FIRST-ROUND JUDGES are members of Southwest Florida Romance Writers. Each entry will be evaluated by two first-round judges, at least one a published author. We encourage our judges to make comments, both on the score sheets and within the manuscript.



Contest opens September 1. Entries must be submitted and payment received by 11:59 p.m. on October 9, 2016.


  • Unpublished authors
  • Traditional or self-published authors who have not published in the category they’re entering within the past 5 years
  • Entries must be the author’s original work that has not been published or contracted to be published.
  • Entrants need not be members of RWA.
  • All English-language entries are welcome.


The first 20 pages of an unpublished manuscript featuring romantic elements, PLUS a brief synopsis (up to one page, single-spaced). Synopsis is not judged.

Contestants may submit as many entries as they like, but each entry may be entered in only one category.


All entries are electronic. Files will be accepted in *.doc, *.docx, or *.rtf formats.

Manuscripts must be in standard manuscript format:

  • Double-spaced
  • One-inch margins, with text aligned to the left margin
  • Times New Roman or Courier 12-point font
  • Page numbers
  • Headers including manuscript title
  • Author’s name must not appear anywhere on the document

Entries that do not meet these formatting requirements will be returned for corrections.


$25 per submission via PayPal

SWFRW Members only: $20

You will be notified when your submission/payment is complete.