New Jersey Romance Writers 2014 Golden Leaf Contest for Published Authors

RWA Region 1 Excellence in Published Romance

The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romance fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA) Region One. Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference held October 17-18, 2014.

Registration April 1 - June 15, 2014


  1. All NJRW members (regardless of where they live) and current RWA members living in Region One* published in novel-length romance fiction who are eligible to enter the RWA RITA contest.
  2. *RWA Region One Boundaries: CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT. In Canada: New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec
  3. Romance novels with a first copyright date or first North American printing date of July 2013 through June 2014 are eligible for entry.
  4. There must be a minimum of five entries per category in order for judging to take place. If the minimum in a category is not reached, entrants will be notified by the coordinator, and books returned, unless an alternate category is provided.
  5. There is a maximum of twenty-five entries per category. The category will be closed after twenty-five entries have been received.
  6. Only one award per category. The decision of the judges is final.
  7. Failure to comply with the rules will result in disqualification. Disqualified books will not be returned except as stated in #4 above. Decisions of the contest coordinator are final.


  • Best First Book: any romance novel from a first-time author not previously published in book length romantic fiction, regardless of publishing medium.
  • Short Contemporary: Novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and are less than 65,000 words in length.
  • Contemporary: Novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and are greater than 65,000 words in length.
  • Historical: Short Contemporary and Contemporary length romances set before 1945. Includes Regency romances. 40,000 word minimum.
  • Novella: Short pieces of romantic fiction between 20-40,000 words. (Trade magazines do not normally fall under the proper word count; however, if your novella does, the acceptability of such work will be the decision of the contest chairperson.)
  • Paranormal: Any romance novel in which either time travel, futuristic, fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are a major element of the plot. 40,000 word minimum.
  • Romantic Suspense: Short Contemporary and Contemporary length romance novel in which suspense is a major element of the plot, not as part of a series. 40,000 word minimum.
  • Romantic Elements: A work of fiction in which a romance plays a significant part in the story, but other themes or elements take the plot beyond the traditional romance boundaries. 40,000 word minimum.
  • Young Adult: Novels with a strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers. 40,000 word minimum.

Submission Rules

  1. You may enter more than one eligible book in a category, but the same book cannot be entered in more than one category. (Exception: A first book may be entered in both the Best First Book category and the regular category, which counts as two separate entries/categories).
  2. Electronic books may be entered provided they are presented in print book format, complete with copyright page produced by the publisher, with perfect or case binding and print on both sides of the page.
  3. A collection of novels/novellas is not one entry; rather each work must be entered separately. In the novella category, an RWA member need not write every story in a collection, only the work entered.
  4. Please send 4 autographed copies of the books to the Contest Category Coordinator located on the confirmation email. Books must be postmarked by June 20, 2014 and received by June 25, 2014. Coordinators are not responsible for packages requiring signatures or for picking up packages from mail carriers.
  5. Please be sure to mark the section on the entry form if your book is considered a sexy romance or erotic romance (i.e. Blaze, Brava, Ellora's Cave). Failure to do so could have a negative impact at judging.
  6. Entry Fees:
    • NJRW Member: $25 fee (first entry), $15 (subsequent entries)
    • Non-NJRW Members: $30 (first entry), $25 (subsequent entries).
    • Submission postage is supplied by the entrant.
  7. Books which arrive late or do not meet the criteria cannot be returned.

Registration Instructions

Registration and payment will take place through MyRWA. Directions are below. Please refer to the NJRW website for detailed instructions with screen shots.

  1. Register and Pay via Click ‘Register for this Event’.
  2. Complete the requested information. If you are an NJRW member, you will have received a special key code in your author letter, which will be emailed on April 1, 2014. You will need to enter this code below during registration in order to pay the special NJRW rate. If you are not an NJRW member but are part of RWA Region 1, select the 'NON-NJRW/Region 1 Member' radio button and hit 'update price'. Click 'Ok' to continue.
  3. Complete the entry form and select “Next” to continue.
  4. Additional entries: If you are entering more than 1 book, or are entering the same book in the Best First Book category, you’ll need to select an Add-on. If you are not entering more than 1 book, click 'Next'.
  5. Complete the requested information for your subsequent entry. If you’ve chosen the Additional Entry for an NJRW Member, you will be prompted to re-enter the key code. When finished, select 'Ok'.
  6. You will now see the additional entry added at the bottom of the screen under the heading 'Selected Items'. You can edit, view, or delete the additional entry from here as well. You can enter up to five additional entries. If more are needed, please contact the coordinators at and we’ll assist you. When finished adding additional entries, click ‘Next’ to continue.
  7. You will now be brought to the Confirmation page. You can select the 'Back' button to return to the previous screens and make changes, including adding or removing additional entries. Otherwise, select 'Pay' to be brought to the payment page or 'Cancel' to cancel your submission.
  8. On the payment page, you’ll see a summarized total of your invoice. You can still cancel your entry by selecting 'Cancel'. Otherwise, choose a payment option.
    • 'Pay With Credit Card' will take you to a screen to enter your PayPal password and complete the payment.
    • 'Pay by Check' will provide you instructions for where to send a check.
  9. Once receipt of your payment has been confirmed through PayPal or when the check is received, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for mailing your books. Please DO NOT mail your books until you receive this confirmation, which could take several days.


  • Top three finalists in each category will be notified by phone in early September, 2014 as soon as the judging is complete.
  • The winner in each category will be announced at the Golden Leaf Awards Ceremony and Reception on Friday evening, October 17, 2014 at the Put Your Heart in a Book Conference.

For more information, please contact the Contest Chair at or visit our web site at

To register or for more information:

Register Now

Join Us

Interested in joining the New Jersey Romance Writers? Pre-published or published writers of any genre from any geographic area are invited to join NJRW. We welcome individuals with a serious interest in improving their writing skills or marketability, meeting other writers and editors, or becoming part of our impressive networking system.

Join Us Today!

Our Next Meeting

Topic: Real History and Research – How, How Much, When and When Not to Use It! with Terri Brisbin
When: May 17, 2014
Where: The Woodbridge Hilton, 120 Wood Ave., Iselin, NJ 08830

Terri Brisbin How much research do you need to be accurate or do you need to be accurate at all? Come find out from Terri, who will discuss the basics of research and the process of using it, or ignoring it, when you write.

More information...