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Administered and awarded by the Romantic Novelists’ Association

The awards are open for entry from 5th June 2023 and will close no later than 30th September 2023




1. The reader-judged Romantic Novel Awards are open to members and non-members of the RNA and are given for the nine categories (see rule 17 below) which will be judged by our panel of readers. The winners of each category will be announced at an awards event in May 2024.  Entries may be submitted by a publisher, agent, editor or author.

Admission fees are as follows:

Member/Publisher/Agent fee - £25 (Publishers and agents still pay £25 even if their entrants are non-members).

Non-member fee, entering independently - £80.

Non-members who do not meet these criteria are welcome to enter the awards (provided they meet the conditions of rule 8), but if entering directly rather than via a publisher or agent, they will still be required to pay the full non-member fee of £80.

2. Entries must have been written by the author named on the entry. Where a book is ghost-written or co-written, all authors with significant input into the writing of the work must be listed as entrants.

3. Entries must be published by a traditional publisher (see rule 9) or where self-published or author subsidised a novel is only eligible if the author is currently a Full or Independent Author member of the RNA.

4. All entries must have been first published in the English language. 

5. With the exception of rule 3 above, entries are eligible only if first publication in English in any market takes place within the qualifying period, which is the twelve month period between 1st January 2022 and 31st December 2022 inclusive. Entrants will be required to provide the date of the first published edition. (For serials, the final extract must be published within the qualifying period).  Entrants will be required to provide the date of the first published edition (or final extract).

6. Entries may be submitted as PDF files only (no paper copies) provided that first publication falls within the qualifying period (See rule 5 above.) Serials may be submitted in electronic (digital) format. Any electronic entries that are not submitted in PDF format will be disqualified. This is because many of our readers find other formats difficult to access.

7. No entry for the awards may be submitted more than once (e.g. after previous entry in a different format or under a different imprint or publisher (including self-publishers) or with a different title or a different author name). See also rule 12 below.

8.1  Entries are only eligible if the author is living and/or working in the UK or Ireland at the time of submission, is a Commonwealth citizen living outside the UK, or if first publication of the work is by a UK based publisher and takes place in the UK. If first publication is global eg. through Amazon or other international platforms, entrants must also satisfy the conditions of living and/or working in the UK or Ireland or being a Commonwealth citizen living outside the UK. 

8.2  RNA members who do not meet the criteria of rule 8.1 may enter so long as their work was published originally in English and is available to purchase in the U.K. Authors entering the awards under the criteria of rule 8.2 must be established members of the RNA and have joined the Association prior to June 1st, 2023. Entrants may be asked to prove citizenship and/or domicile. Authors living outside the UK must be contactable by email.

9. For the purposes of these rules a traditional publisher shall mean one who meets the criteria on which eligibility for membership of the RNA is determined. These criteria include the following:

The publisher must be properly established as a bona fide business and have a significant number of recently published authors on its lists (normally at least ten), and/or a significant publishing track record (normally spanning at least two years), and must not have required the author to bear any part of the cost of pre production or production of any submitted book, and must not have tasked the author with editing, copy editing, typesetting, cover design, commercial distribution, or any other publication process, and must not have required the author to buy any copies. Publishers should inform authors that their book has been entered for an award. Equally, authors or agents should advise the publisher if they make an individual entry to avoid duplication. No refunds are possible if a book is entered twice.

10. On all questions of eligibility of entries the organisers’ decision shall be final.

11. Authors may submit a maximum of two entries and publishers a maximum of twenty entries (no more than 2 per author). The total number of entries over the eight award categories is capped at 500.

12. Each title may only be submitted to one of the Romantic Novel Award categories and must meet the criteria for that category as described below under rule 17.

13. Entries should be made on the online entry system as early as possible before midnight on 30th September 2023. If the PDF/EPUB of the completed manuscript or book cover are not available when making an entry, they may be uploaded later provided an entry has been made before the 30th September cut off date.

PLEASE NOTE the entry cap of 500 entries for the awards. If this cap is reached prior to 30th September 2023, entries for the awards will be closed and no further entries will be accepted.

14. Each entry will go to a team of three readers, and a shortlist of potential winners for each category will be identified from the results of this assessment. The shortlists for each category will be announced early in 2023. The winner of each category will be announced at the Romantic Novel Awards event to be held on May 13th 2023.

15. Shortlisted authors are requested to be available for publicity purposes and to attend the awards event. Please note that the RNA does not undertake to pay for entrants, publishers, agents or individual authors to attend the awards event. It is the responsibility of the shortlisted authors and their agents/publishers to make sure they book tickets for the awards in plenty of time.

16. Publishers or authors of shortlisted titles will be expected to supply details of a publicity contact (if available) for each author, together with an author photograph, large digital image of the book cover, press release and any other relevant information. Publishers or authors should also be prepared to provide a reasonable number of additional copies of each shortlisted title for PR purposes.

17. Each book submitted must meet the relevant description for the category in which the book is entered:

PLEASE NOTE: Romantic fiction is a broad genre and the aim of these awards is to recognise excellence across all aspects of that genre and to encourage and promote diversity in romance. In order to be eligible for the awards, entries should have an exploration of romantic love as an overarching theme of the story. Eligible books can therefore range from a romance novel that focuses primarily on the developing relationship between two or more protagonists to novels that tackle a number of different themes but have a love story as one of their prime elements. We welcome entries from writers of all ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, religions, disability statuses and income backgrounds. If you have any queries about whether a book you would like to enter is eligible for the awards, please contact the Awards Organiser. Dual timeline stories should be entered in the category that most closely applies to the largest part of the narrative.

The nine categories for the Romantic Novel Awards to be presented in May 2024 for books published in 2023 will be:

  • The Fantasy Romantic Novel Award: For romantic novels with elements where the reader needs to suspend disbelief, including magical realism, fantasy, science fiction, the paranormal, timeslip (in which a character moves between time periods) time travel novels and books with ‘ghostly’ elements.


  • The Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award: For stories featuring a substantial thriller, suspense, mystery or crime story, alongside or fully entwined with a romantic story. The romantic element should still be very strong throughout but the main storyline may be less of a traditional love story.  Novels set in any time period can be entered for this category.


  • The Debut Romantic Novel Award: For the best romantic novel by a first-time author. Entries may represent any aspect of the romantic genre. This is an excellent category for new writers or unestablished to shine amongst their peers.


  • The Christmas/Festive Holiday Romantic Novel Award: For the best romantic novel set in the winter festive season featuring Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Yule/New Year etc.


  • The Shorter Romantic Novel Award: For shorter romantic novels, serials or novellas. These may range from magazine serials, short stories of no less than 30,000 words to shorter novels of no more than 70,000 words approximately. Entries may represent any aspect of the romantic genre and can be set in any time period.


  • The Romantic Saga Award: For novels predominantly set in the past (pre 1970), usually featuring characters overcoming social pressures or hardships alongside or fully entwined with a romantic story thread. These may be part of a series but must be able to stand alone for readers who won’t have read the ones that went before.


  • The Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy: For romantic novels which are consistently funny. Can be set in any time period.


  • The Historical Romantic Novel Award: For stories set in the past showing historic worlds, where romance forms a substantive and crucial part of the story. Romantic novels predominantly set pre-1980.


  • The Contemporary Romantic Novel Award: For stories about the here and now, where romance forms a substantive part of the story; any novel set predominantly in the last 50 years. Please also consider the following categories to see if the book you are entering might fit into another more suitable one.


The winners and shortlists will be selected by our panel of volunteer readers.

Stories which feature sexual abuse, rape, or child abuse depicted in a romanticised fashion, or for the purposes of titillation, are not eligible for these awards.

Entries will be judged in the category for which they have been entered so please make sure to choose the right one! If you would like to discuss the suitability of a book for a particular category, please contact the Awards Organiser.

The awards open on 5th June 2023 and close at midnight on 30th September 2023, or when the 500 entry limit is reached, if that comes before the closing date.