2017 Melody of Love Rules

*** Categories and Final Round Judges ***

Contemporary - Jennie Conway (Editor, St. Martin's Press), Janna Bonikowski (Agent, the Knight Agency)

Paranormal - Sarah Blumenstock (Editor, Penguin Random House), Victoria Lea (Agent/Editor, Aponte Literary/Aponte-Burns Publishing)

Historical - Jennie Conway (Editor, St. Martin's Press), Amanda Jain (Agent, Inklings Literary)

Young Adult - Annette Pollert -Morgan (Editor, Sourcebooks), Elizabeth Poteet (Agent, The Seymour Agency)

“Wild Card” Novel with Romantic Elements - Victoria Lea (Agent/Editor, Aponte Literary/Aponte-Burns Publishing), Latoya Smith (Agent, L. Perkins Agency)

*** Entry Fees and Eligibility ***

* Entry fee for MCRW Members: $20
* Entry fee for non-MCRW Members: $25
* Entry fee for additional blurb critique: $10 (###)

* Entries accepted starting August 15, 2017. All entries must be received by September 15, 2017 (a Friday).

* Author can be published, including in the category entered.

* Manuscript being entered cannot have been published and cannot be currently contracted to be published via any means at any time, including self or subsidy publishing.

* Manuscript should be a romance or romantic elements novel of 50,000 words or more.

* Questions? Contest Coordinator Dana Brantley-Sieders: contest@mcrw.com 

### The optional blurb critique will be an assessment of your blurb/pitch, including the effectiveness of the hook, clarity, conciseness, and suggestions on how to effectively capture reader interest. The blurb critique is intended to help you strengthen your query or improve what may become your back cover copy! 

*** How To Submit ***

Your entry must have the following three elements:

1) Payment via PayPal. Contact contest coordinator for other payment options.

You will need your PayPal transaction number to fill out the entry form!

If you want the additional $10 Blurb Critique for use in future submissions and self-publishing:

2) A completed entry form (link here).

3) Your manuscript’s first 15 (or fewer) pages plus an optional 200 word blurb (unjudged but eligible for critique for $10), emailed to contest coordinator as an attachment. We recommend but do not require that you omit prologues and end your partial at a cliffhanger, even if it means you don't send 15 whole pages.

Send your entry attachment to contest coordinator Dana Brantley-Sieders at: contest@mcrw.com by September 15, 2017.

*** Entry Specifics ***

1) All entries must be electronic and in standard manuscript format: 12 point standard font (Times New Roman, Courier New), double-spaced, indented paragraphs (i.e. not block style), 1-inch margins. Pages should be numbered and include a header which states title and category of manuscript. For a sample of a "properly formatted" manuscript, please contact the coordinator.

Optional 200 word blurb may be included on a separate page with your entry. Your name should not appear on the entry.

2) Coordinator will send emails to confirm receipt of entries. Please allow 5 working days (i.e., not weekends or holidays) before you ask the coordinator whether the entry has been received. Email address for questions is contest@mcrw.com and the contest coordinator is Dana Brantley-Sieders.

3) Contest limited to 60 total entries, in order of receipt of all three parts. The optional subgenres (e.g. Sweet/Inspirational, Erotic, Romantic Suspense, Mystery, etc.) on the entry form are used only to determine the best judges for your work and do not affect scoring or final round editor assignment.

4) While it is acceptable to submit the entry form and payment before you submit your pages, all three parts (pages, entry form, payment) must be received by September 15, 2017, or your entry will not be counted in the contest. Your entry fee will be reimbursed if this happens. The entry form alone is insufficient to "reserve your spot" should the contest fill up; payment must be included as well. 

5) Scoresheets and/or critiques will be emailed to contestants. You will be asked on the entry form if judges may employ Microsoft Word's "Comments" feature on your manuscript. Agreement is not required. The scoresheet is extensive and designed to provide a valuable, in-depth assessment of your opening chapter(s), including the hook, plot and conflict, characterization, writing style & technique, dialogue, setting, professional presentation, and overall impression. If you would like to see the scoresheet before committing to the contest, just email the coordinator.

 *** Document Formatting Tidbits ***

* Your chapter should be in .rtf or .doc format.
* Be aware that your name may be in the document properties as the document's creator because of software settings. If you don't know how to change it, the coordinator can delete this for you with your permission.
* Do not paste the chapter into the body of the email.
* Use a standard font and standard formatting, as described above.
* Your entry will be test-opened upon receipt; if there are issues, you will be notified. If you do not respond to the notification before the contest deadline and work with the coordinator to rectify the issues, your manuscript may be disqualified. With your permission, the coordinator can standardize the format of the manuscript for you.

 *** Judging Specifics ***

1) First round judged by trained judges. Final round judged by editors and agents. All judges’ decisions are final.

2) Barring unforeseen circumstances, finalists will be announced around November 1. Finalists will be notified via e-mail and posted on the MCRW website, www.mcrw.com. First round scores of finalists will be mailed or emailed as soon as possible.

3) Other scores will be released within 30 days after the finalists are announced. Winners will be announced shortly after all final round judges return their scores, hopefully by December 1, 2017. Finalists in each category will receive a certificate and announcement in RWR and the MCRW website. #1 Finalist in each category will also receive a $25 cash prize. Each entry has a chance to win a 50 page professional critique. Winner selected by random drawing.

*** Fine print: (left in 12 pt font for ease of reading) ***

Entries received that are found to have been published by any means will be disqualified. No entry may be withdrawn after being submitted to the contest with one exception (see below). Entry fees from disqualified entrants will not be refunded. Entrants who finaled in our contest previously may enter again, but don't re-enter the finaling manuscript. For the purpose of this contest, published is defined as available for sale by any means or as a free download via retail sites such as Smashwords and Amazon. Entry fees will be refunded to entrants in any category that does not receive the minimum number of entries unless they request placement in another category. Any entries over the contest limit of 60, or those received after the due date, will be returned along with the entry fees.