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 Official Rules

Email the contest coordinator

Email Pam Trader, the MORWA Contest Coordinator:

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Gateway to the Best Contest?

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Gateway to the Best Contest 2016

Entries are now closed!

Contest Information

Please read the Official Rules for complete eligibility and entry information.


All authors of the entry are unpublished and not contracted in novel-length fiction (over 40,000 words) within the last 3 years from July 30, 2016. Self-published authors will be considered eligible to enter the Gateway Contest with any unpublished work. MORWA will consider any work available for purchase online or in print at any time to be published and ineligible.


Entries to the Gateway are up to the first 7000 words of the manuscript. No synopsis is required. Formatting requirements are included in the Official Rules.

Categories and Final Judges

The Gateway accepts entries for the following categories:

  • Contemporary Single Title/Series

    • Final Judge:  Diana Steger, Editor, Evernight Publishing

  • Historical

    • Final Judge:  Kathryn Chesire, Editor, Historical Team, Mills Boon/Harlequin

  • Paranormal/Fantasy/Futuristic/Time Travel/Alternate Reality

    • Final Judge:  Stephanie Doig, Assistant Editor, Carina Press

  • Women's Fiction with strong romantic elements

    • Final Judge:  Kristine Swartz, Editor, Berkley

  • Romantic Suspense

    • Tera Cuskaden, Editorial Director, Entangled Publishing

  • Young or New Adult

    • Final Judge:  Megha Parekh, Editor, Grand Central Publishing


The contest opens for entries on August 1, 2016.
Entry and payment must be received not later than 11:59 p.m. CDT, September 9, 2016.
Grand Prize and First Round Finalists will be announced on approximately October 31, 2016.
Final Winners will be announced on approximately November 30, 2016.


In the first round, each entry will be judged by three published, experienced, or trained judges. The entry with the highest total score from all three judges in all categories will win the Grand Prize. The three finalists in each category will be determined by taking the sum of the top two scores from the three judges. The lowest score is dropped. A sample of the score sheet judges will use is linked to the left-hand side of this web page.



The Grand Prize winner will receive a 2-hour coaching session with writing coach Michael Hauge (valued at $700), the Gateway Charm, and a certificate of achievement.

First, second, and third places are awarded in each category. 

First and second place winners in each category will receive:

  • A certificate of achievement
  • A one-year membership to MoRWA

Third place winners in each category will receive:

  • A certificate of achievement

How to Enter the Contest

  • Read the Official Rules on the left-hand side of this page to make sure you qualify and understand the fine print.
  • Format your manuscript according to the Official Rules and make sure it is ready to upload.
  • Then enter using our easy Entry Form link (available after July 31, 2016).

We accept PayPal, checks, and money orders.

Good luck!


** All information on this web page is subject to the Official Rules of this contest.