Joyce Henderson Contest Rules

Southwest Florida Romance Writers
27th Annual Writing Contest

The Joyce Henderson Contest 2018

Joyce Henderson SWFL Romance Writers Contest


JOYCE HENDERSON was one of SWFRW’s founding members and a true testament to perseverance… writing, rewriting, and submitting for years before making the first of many sales in her 60s. As a girl, she and her mother fled Texas for California to escape an abusive relationship. Joyce married young, raised three children, pursued a successful modeling career, owned and operated an avocado farm, and followed her dream to publication, embodying all the best characteristics of our heroines. Never too busy for a fellow writer, her candor and professionalism balanced her warmth and willingness to help others. As she inspired our chapter members in life, we honor her in hopes of showing every hard-working writer that they too can
make their dreams come true!



Contemporary (including Women’s Fiction)
Editor: Sue Grimshaw, Penguin Random House
Agent: Scott Eagan, Greyhaus Literary Agency

Editor: Robin Haseltine, Entangled Publishing
Agent: Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency

Paranormal/Science Fiction/Fantasy
Editor: Nancy Schumacher, Melange Books
Agent: Kat Enright, The Seymour Agency

Young Adult
Editor: Jennie Conway, St. Martin’s Press
Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

Romantic Suspense
Editor: Georgia Woods, Hartwood Publishing
Agent: Dawn Dowdle, Blue Ridge Literary 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 and other chapters of Romance Writers of America. 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.


DEADLINE and other important dates:

Contest opens August 1. Entries must be submitted and payment received by 11:59 p.m. on OCTOBER 8, 2018. Finalists will be notified on or about December 18, and we expect to announce winners at the end of January 2019.


  • Unpublished authors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. If self-publishing, we ask that you not release until (a) you learn you are not a finalist, or (b) if you ARE a finalist, until the winner is announced. If first-round or final judges should look up a title and find ratings or reviews, that could throw off the contest results (and your own placement, for better OR for worse).
  • All English-language entries are welcome.


The first 20 pages of an unpublished manuscript featuring romantic elements.

Contestants may submit as many entries as they like, but a separate entry must be completed for each title and category entered.


All entries are electronic. Files will be accepted in *.doc or *.rtf formats. For the time being, *.docx is NOT permitted.

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
  • Paragraphs indented, with no extra space between paragraphs
  • Page numbers
  • Headers including manuscript title
  • Author’s name must not appear anywhere in the document

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


$30 per submission via PayPal

SWFRW Members only: $25

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


Finalists will be announced December 18