The Golden Leaf is awarded annually for excellence in romantic fiction by authors who are NJRW members or in Romance Writers of America (RWA). Winners will be announced during the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference being held October 19-20, 2018.
Registration Opens: April 1, 2018 Registration Closes: June 1, 2018 Books to be Received by: June 5, 2018 Finalists Notified by: August 31, 2018 Winners Announced at the NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference on October 19-20, 2018
Best First Book: any romance novel from a first-time author not previously published in book length romantic fiction, regardless of publishing medium.
Contemporary Romance: Short: Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are between 40,000 and 56,000 words in length.
Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length: Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are between 56,000 and 84,000 words in length.
Contemporary Romance: Long: Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and that are 84,000 or more words.
Historical Romance: Novels set prior to 1950. 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 Romance: 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: Any romance novel in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute a major part of the plot. 40,000 word minimum.
Erotic Romance: Novels in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may contain elements of other romance subgenres (such as paranormal, historical, etc.).
Best Book by a New Jersey Romance Author: Open to any entrant (regardless of whether they’re an NJRW member) who is a current, full-time resident of New Jersey. The book must be entered in another category. Scores from that category will be used to determine the winner and finalists in the Best Book by a NJ Romance Author category. If the entrant is entering multiple books in the contest, only one may also be entered in the Best Book by a NJ Romance Author category. There is no additional fee to have a book considered for Best Book by a NJ Romance Author, but you must enter the book in that category during registration. It will not automatically be entered. No additional books need to be sent.