What makes Great Expectations special?

We believe in email and stay in touch with our contestants. Our final round editors agree and are encouraged to complete the score sheet for a more detailed evaluation of entries.

Each entrant receives:

  • an email confirmation when their entry form is received,
  • an email confirmation when their payment is received,
  • notification when packets are mailed to judges,
  • notification of their category’s finalists, and
  • notification of all winners.

Do finalists get to revise before editors see entries?

Yes. All finalists have the opportunity to update their entry and are encouraged to submit a non-judged short synopsis. If a revised entry is not received by the required date, the original entry will be submitted for final round rankings.

Why different category score sheets?

We believe that each contest category deserves its own specific score sheet and have developed questions pertaining to individual romance sub-genres. Example score sheets are available year round.

The GE Scoresheets

My story does not focus on romance. Can I still enter?

We encourage all contestants to take a look at our score sheets. Since we are a romance genre writing organization, our contest focuses on romance as part of the story. The decision is ultimately yours, but the critiques from our judges will also focus on romance.

Do you train your first round judges?

Informal training is available. We have a judging page where training files are available. When a question is asked about a particular genre, we ask published authors within that genre for their opinion and advice. PLEASE NOTE: Our on-line training is available not only for judges, but also contestants. These helpful judging tips can help writers prepare for what judges look for, but also how to get better words on the page. Feel free to take a look. Here’s a statement from a first-time judge:

“This is my first time judging for your contest, and I have to say that, truly, this was the most positive judging experience I’ve had. Your resources and blog training were so helpful, and the emphasis on positivity and constructive criticism nearly brought tears to my eyes. In particular, seeing your post on all the judge comments you’ve received – for a book that was bought by Harlequin with no edits – really helped me as a writer. I enter a lot of contests, too, and there have been several where the judges forgot that I was a human being. One most recently was rough, but judging in this contest really vindicated that experience. Thanks for doing such a great job organizing, training, and encouraging both entrants and judges.” ~Brandi S.

Is electronic entry only for international participants?

Electronic entry is for ALL contestants. The GE no longer has a print option for entries.

How should I title my entry?

Save entry with the following file name as a Word Document, replacing YourName with the name listed on the entry form and replacing YourManuscriptTitle with the actual title of your personal manuscript:

YourName-YourManuscriptTitle-HeatLevel.doc or YourName-YourManuscriptTitle-HeatLevel.docx

EX: AngiMorgan-TheMarinesLastDefense-WARM.docx

When receiving 200 titles, it gets rather confusing if they’re all labeled: GEentry.docx

If you do not receive confirmation within three days that we have your file, please EMAIL the coordinator (

  • Should I send all my files separately?
  • Entries should be attached to the electronic entry form which is automatically sent to the contest chairperson(s).
  • My entry is an erotic romance, but there’s not a category. Can I still enter?
  • Yes. We have discontinued the erotic romance category, but are accepting all heat levels in all categories. Please refer to the “heat level” instructions when entering.
  • Is Great Expectations a first chapter contest or can I send my prologue and / or part of my second chapter?
  • The Great Expectations contest will accept the first 5,000 words of your manuscript, including the prologue or part of your second chapter. Please make certain your entry ends with a completed sentence and on a great “hook.” Entries over 5,000 words will be sent back to the contestant for resubmission at 5,000 words or less.
  • I have a 25,000-word manuscript. May I enter it in the Great Expectations contest?
  • The Great Expectations contest does not include a category for projected word counts of less than 40,000 words. No novellas, please.
  • I’m writing a romantic suspense. Which category should I enter (single title or romantic suspense)?
  • If our Romantic Suspense final round editor is from a single title publisher and you’re targeting Harlequin/Silhouette, take a look at the Contemporary Series category score sheet and make certain it will benefit you to enter the Contemporary Series category. If not, we encourage you to enter the Romantic Suspense category.
  • What is RWA®? And do I really have to be a member?
  • No, you do not need to be a member of Romance Writers of America® to enter the Great Expectations Contest. North Texas Romance Writers of America is a chapter of RWA®. For more information on RWA®, visit the national website.


Contact the coordinator.