2016 Rules and Entry Instructions

RMFW Colorado Gold Writing Contest
2016 Official Rules and Entry Instructions

Opening Date and Deadline
Contest opens April 1, 2016 and closes May 31, 2016, 11:59 p.m, MST. Entries are limited to the first 200 received. All entries are submitted electronically through the website.

Entry Fee: $30.
Critique Fee: an additional $25. (A critique by an RMFW judge evaluates a submission’s strengths and weaknesses, with suggestions for improvement (average length: 1½ - 3 single-spaced pages).

Fees are not refundable.


This contest is for writers of commercial, novel-length fiction. Some restrictions apply. Unpublished writers are eligible, as well as independently published (self-published) writers and traditionally published writers under limited circumstances. (See below for details.)
1. This contest focuses on commercial, novel-length fiction. Literary fiction is discouraged. Poetry, short stories and non-fiction are not eligible.
2. Entries that have previously won first place in this contest are not eligible. Entries that have won 2nd, or 3rd place, or that have finaled are okay.
3. Any writer who has earned $250 from the sales of novel-length fiction in the last 10 years is not eligible to enter the Colorado Gold Contest.
4. If you're an agented writer, you may not enter your manuscript in a category judged by that agent.
5. Previously published manuscripts in any form are not eligible.
6. Entrants must acknowledge their acceptance of the contest Terms and Conditions before their entries will be accepted.
7. The above guidelines apply to your status at the time you enter the contest. If you should acquire an agent or secure a book contract after you've entered, your book will still be eligible.

The above are general guidelines. All questions of eligibility will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Please email the Contest Chairs at contest@rmfw.org with questions.


Two RMFW judges evaluate each entry. The five highest-scoring submissions (over 130 points) in each of six categories become the finalists. Authors of entries that make the final round will be notified by email in early August 2016. Finalists will be judged by an agent or editor who is attending the Colorado Gold conference.

If you don't get a notification email, your entry did not make the final round. Your judged submission, scoresheets, and critique (if requested) will be returned to you by the middle of August.

Winners are announced and prizes given out at the Saturday night banquet, September 10, 2016 at the Renaissance Hotel. Final judges will select a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner. For finalists unable to attend the conference, awards and prize money will be mailed to you shortly after.
1st place: $150
2nd place: $100
3rd place: $75
2 remaining finalists: $30

Action/Thriller (Judge: Peter Joseph of St. Martin's Press)
Mystery/Suspense (Judge: Amy Stapp from Tor Books)
Romance ( Judge: Elizabeth Poteet from St. Martin's Press)
Speculative Fiction (Judge: Diana Pho from Tor Books)
Young Adult/Middle Grade (Judge: Shannon Hassan from Marsal Lyon Literary Agency)
Mainstream and Other Genres (Judge: Rachelle Gardner from Books&Such)

Entering the contest
Enter as many submissions as you'd like, but you may not enter the same submission in more than one category, nor may you enter two versions of the same manuscript. You must pay an entry fee for each submission.
Enter the FIRST 4,000 words of your novel. Include a synopsis of 750 words. (To find word count in Microsoft Word, Review>Word Count. In Open Office for Mac, File>Properties>Statistics.)
Do not send your complete manuscript.
Optional: We invite you to include a short pitch for your novel such as you might open with at a pitch session or when telling someone in passing what your book is about. (An "elevator pitch.") This should be no more than 50 words and won't count in the word count. This pitch won't be judged and won't affect your score. The judge may or may not comment on it. Put it on the first page of your manuscript before the story starts.

Format - Manuscript and Synopsis
(Note: Even though we've gone to a word count, we ask that every entry be formatted the same.)
1. Use standard submission format: double-spaced, 1-inch margins all around with a ragged right margin, Times New Roman 12-point font, 24 to 25 lines per page. Start the first page of each chapter and the synopsis 1/3 of the way down the page.
2. Submit a MS Word file in .doc format only.  Do not send files in .docx format.
3. Add a section or page break and then copy/paste your 750-word synopsis on the next page (at the end of your submission).
4. Create a header with the title on the left and page numbers on the right on every page.
5. Make sure your name doesn't appear anywhere on the submission or the synopsis, only on the electronic entry form.

Submit your entry
1. Click on the Contest page on the website at rmfw.org.
2. Click on the “Enter the 2016 Contest” link. (This link is only active during the submission period, April 1 – May 31.)
3. Fill in the information fields: Name, Email, Address, City, State, Zip, Phone, and Title. Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required. Make sure your email address is one anyone can reply to or we might not be able to send your notification of entry.
4. Select your category and subgenre. If your subgenre isn’t listed in the drop-down menu, select “other” and type it in the space provided. Please indicate both category and subgenre to ensure you get the proper judge.
5. Read the contest Terms and Conditions. Click on the “Agree” button. NOTE: Your submission will not be sent to us if you do not check this box.
6. Submit your entry information by clicking on the “PAY FOR ENTRY” button. You’ll then be taken to the secure payment webpage. Select either the Contest Entry $30 button or the Contest Entry With Critique $55 button. Fill in your credit card and billing address information, click the “Confirm” button and follow the prompts.
If for any reason you cannot use the online payment service, please email contest@rmfw.org to make other payment arrangements.
7. You’re done. Congratulations and best of luck.

Entrants and judges may not correspond with each other except through the contest via contest@rmfw.org.

Questions? Email all inquiries to: