The Molly Contest

2017 Molly Information and Rules

The Molly opens for entries April 1st, 2017.


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Purpose: The purpose of THE MOLLY is to inspire, motivate, and reward unpublished authors of romance fiction.

Eligibility: Participation is open to all unpublished authors of novel length romance fiction and those who have not published within three years prior to contest deadline. Previous Molly FIRST PLACE winning entries are not eligible to re-enter that winning manuscript.  Reformatting and/or title changes of previous winning entries will result in disqualification and forfeiture of entry fees. All work must be the author’s original work that has not been contracted for publication prior to the contest entry deadline.   Entry form and entry fee must accompany each submission. Entries are to be up to the first 25 pages (including prologue) PLUS up to 5 pages of a synopsis.  (The synopsis is not judged, but is helpful. Judges will often give comments on the synopsis.)


Molly Entry Form



Contemporary Romance: Long
Set from 1950 to the present that are greater than 65,000 words.


Contemporary Romance: Short

Set from 1950 to the present that are more than 40,000 words, and less than 65,000 words in length.


Historical Romance

Set prior to 1950. 50K +


Paranormal Romance
Stories with fantasy worlds, paranormal, or science fiction elements. 50K +


Romantic Suspense
Stories with suspense, mystery, or thriller elements as an integral part of the plot. 50K +


Young Adult Romance

Stories with a young adult protagonist(s). 50K +


HODRW reserves the right to return all entries and fees if the minimum entry number for each category is not received. Entrants will be contacted to see if they wish to place their entry in another category before entries are returned.


We accept only Electronic entries


Entry Deadline:    May 31, 2017.

All entries must be received by 11:59 pm MDT May 31, 2017.  Please factor in that your ISP may not deliver in mere seconds and time zones.


Entry Fees:   Payment can made from the end of the entry form, or you may mail a check to the address listed on the form.  $30 for all HODRW members, $35 for all other RWA members, and $40 for all non-RWA members. There is a $5 early-bird discount if we receive your entry by May 1, 2016.

International entries must use the PayPal method and be paid in US Dollars.

Payments by check or money order should be made out to HODRW and be marked for Molly.


EARLY BIRD Deadline –

DEDUCT $5 FROM FEE IF e-mailed BY May 1, 2017


Entries should be in a .doc file format, not a .docx. The manuscript and synopsis should be one document, with the synopsis following the manuscript. Headers should contain the title and category in the upper left corner and the page number in the upper right.  Author’s name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript or synopsis, or the entry will be disqualified. Please name your entry Category_MSTitle.doc For example, Historical_PrideandPrejudice.doc

Entries must be in New Times Roman 12 or in Courier 12 with one inch margins, double spaced, for the manuscript and the synopsis.  Every attempt should be taken to maintain proper formatting and readiness for printing.  Final round judges may ask for print for the finalist’s entries.

Payment is encouraged through PayPal.  Payment by check for electronic entries must be received by the HOD treasurer prior to the entries being sent for the first round – with a printed entry form for proper tracking – by May 31, 2017.

An automated verification of receipt of entry will be made by email address included on the entry form. If you do NOT receive a verification email within 72 hours, please notify the coordinator. The responses sometimes get caught in your spam filter, but it is good to check with us. Do feel free to contact the coordinator with any questions you may have.





_____ Payment by PayPal is encouraged.  Or One (1) check or money order made out to “HODRW” for the applicable entry fee for each entry sent to the proper address (see entry form).

­­­­­ _____ One (1) completed Molly Entry Form and agreement for each entry.

_____ First pages (up to twenty-five (25)) of your manuscript.  This can be a combination of Prologue plus Chapter One. Try to stop on a cliff-hanger. Remember it is 30 pages maximum, including up to five (5) page max of your synopsis. The synopsis is not judged, but is helpful in helping the judges score the entry since the synopsis will show the whole character/story arc. Synopsis should be added to the end of the same file as the manuscript.



First Round:  Four trained judges will judge the first round, at least one of whom is a published author. The lowest score will be dropped.

Judges are encouraged to comment within the manuscript using track changes on entries and also on the score sheets. Click here to see a copy of the Molly-Score-Sheets rev 1.

Three finalists will be chosen in each category.

Final Round Judges:  

Contemporary Romance: Long

Agent: Liz Parker, Inkwell Management

Editor: Lexi Small, Assistant Editor, Grand Central Publishing


Contemporary Romance: Short

Agent: Jessica Alvarez, BookEnds Literary Agency

Editor: Penny Barber, Editor, Lyrical Press, Carina Press


Historical Romance

Agent: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Editor: Kate Dresser, Simon & Schuster


Paranormal Romance

Agent: Amanda Leuck, Spencerhill Associates

Editor: Tera Cuskaden, Editorial Director Entangled Select Otherworld/Acquiring Editor Kensington


Romantic Suspense

Agent: Nikki Terpilowski Agent, Holloway Literary  

Editor: Alex Logan, Associate Editor, Grand Central Publishing


Young Adult Romance

Agent: Jennifer Wills, The Seymour Agency

Editor: Stephen Morgan, Entangled Publishers



Notification:  Finalists will be notified the first week of July, and will receive a Molly Finalist name tag ribbon for RWA.

Winners will be notified at our October conference.


Molly Award for each category:   New this year: Finalists will receive a name tag ribbon for RWA. The first place winner in each category will receive the Molly Award Plaque and a pin.  Other finalists will receive certificates.  Results will be publicized on website, loops and in the RWR.

The Unsinkable Heroine Award: Each entry will be judged for “The Unsinkable Heroine” award.  This award is separate from the regular contest scoring and in no way reflects adversely or advantageously to the general scoring system.  The heroine in each entry will be judged for Spunk, Imagination & Creativity, and Unsinkability.

The Heart of Molly Award: Only Heart of Denver Romance Writers (HODRW) members (as of January 31, 2017) are eligible for this special award at no additional charge and in addition to the Molly and/or Unsinkable Heroine Awards. An agent or editor will select the winner for the Heart of Molly Award.

General Questions?  Email Molly.



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