2016 Molly Information and Rules

Purpose: The purpose of THE MOLLY is to inspire, motivate, and reward unpublished authors of romance fiction.

Eligibility: Participation is open to all unpublished authors of novel length romance fiction and those who have not published within three years prior to contest deadline.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 in helping the judges score the entry, and judges will often give comments on the synopsis.)

Molly Entry Form


Contemporary – Romantic novels, which may also include sensuality that may or may not be intense. Projected word count: More than 40,000 words.

Single Title / Mainstream – Romantic novels released as individual titles.  Projected word count: over 70,000 words.

Romantic Suspense / Mystery – Romance novels in which suspense/mystery may constitute a strong element in the romance plot. Projected word count: over 70,000 words.

Historical - Novels that have a strong romantic element throughout. This includes Regency and gothic romances. Settings should be pre-1950. Word count: over 40,000.

Paranormal / Time-Travel / Futuristic - Romantic novels with any time setting (past, present, or future) that contain elements such as time-travel, mystical and/or paranormal themes. Word Count: over 40,000 words.

Young Adult – Novels with a romantic element aimed at teen and young adult readers. Word Count: More than 40,000 words.

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, 2016.

All entries must be received by 11:59 pm MDT May 31, 2016.  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, 2016


New this year, entries should be in a .doc file format. Header on manuscript and synopsis pages should contain title and category in the upper left corner and the page number in the upper right. A category subgenre (i.e. “Historical,” “Time Travel,” “Young Adult,” etc. ) may, but need not be  included in the header.  Author’s name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript or synopsis, or the entry will be disqualified. Please do not name your file Molly entry. The best naming convention is to use the name of your manuscript.doc.

Entries must be in New Times Roman 12 or 14 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, 2016.

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 appropriate coordinator immediately. 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:  Three qualified judges will judge the first round. Around the top 30 percent of entries in each category will move into the second round.

Second Round: The second round will be judged by two published authors. After the five scores from first and second round are received, the lowest of the five scores will be dropped. The three entries with the highest total of the four remaining scores will advance to the finals. Additional finalists will be added in the event of a tie.

Judges for both rounds 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.

Final Round: An editor/agent will select a winner from the finalists.

Final Round Judges:


Editor: Stephanie Doig, Carina Press

Agent: Stephany Evans, Fine Print Literary Management


Editor: Erin Molta, Entangled Publishing

Agent: Kristy Hunter, The Knight Agency


Editor:  Chris Keeslar, Boroughs Publishing Group

Agent: Tricia Skinner, Fuse Literary Agency

Young Adult: 

Editor:  Lauren Smulski, Harlequin

Agent: Elaine Spencer, The Knight Agency

Single Title/ Mainstream: 

Editor: Heather Howland , Entangled Publishing

Agent:  Jessica Watterson, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency

Romantic Suspense: 

Editor:   Tara Gavin, Kensington

Agent:    Courtney Miller-Callihan, Handspun Literary Agency

Unsinkable Heroine: Erin C. Niumata, FOLIO Literary Management, LLC

Heart of Molly (Member-Only Award): Amanda Leuck, Spencerhill Associates Literary Agency

 Notification:   First Round entries moving to the Second Round will be notified by APPROXIMATELY late July 2016.

Second Round finalists will be notified by APPROXIMATELY late August 2016.

Winners will be notified at or following our October conference. Please let us know if you are able to attend.

Molly Award for each category:  The first place winner in each category will receive the “Molly Award Plaque.”  All 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, 2016) 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.