Finalists Information

Thank you for entering our contest and congratulations on finalizing!

We’ve requested that the editor judges return the entries with their comments and placements by October 18, 2020. They are busy people and may not be able to send the entries by that date. Please have patience with the editors and the contest chair-people.

Romance Category Acquiring Editors
Publishing House
Category (Series Contemporary) Deb Werksman Sourcebooks
Single Title Contemporary Melanie Billings The Wild Rose Press
Kate Richards Decadent Publishing
Historical Brenda Chin Independent Editor
Inspirational Dina Davis Harlequin
Romantic Suspense Nine Bruhns Entangled Publishing
Women’s Fiction Kaycee John The Wild Rose Press

Prizes: First-place winners in each category receive a pendant and a website graphic for their achievement. All other finalists receive a website graphic.

Please email any questions and/or concerns to


The TARA contest will be replaced next year with the Florida West Coast Writers, Inc. contest. FWCW is no longer associated with Romance Writers of America (RWA.) We are an independent non-profit organization that promotes Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and access in our contest. We maintain the highest degree of anonymity, therefore every entry is judged solely on the fundamentals of writing regardless of an author’s race, color, gender, gender expression, religion/creed, age, disability, or sexual orientation.

Agreement and Waiver: Entry in the TARA Contest constitutes an agreement by the author to abide by all contest rules and decisions of the contest officials. The entrant agrees to hold harmless the Tampa Area Romance Authors, Inc. and / or Florida West Coast Writers, Inc., the Board of Directors, officers, members, the TARA Contest, all contest judges, personnel and volunteers, heirs and assigns, et al., in any and all disputes arising from her/his entry(s) in the contest.

We must receive your revised entry and the required synopsis on or before 12:00 pm (noon) EDT, Monday, August 31, 2020. We will submit your original version of your entry and synopsis to the editor if we do not receive a revision by the allotted date. 

Editor Judges’ Requirements:

  • Entry – up to the first 4,500 words (4,500 maximum words.) The words in the synopsis are not included in the entry’s 4,500-word count.
  • Synopsis – up to five pages of the full manuscript (5-page maximum synopsis.)

Submission format for entry and synopsis (summary:)

  • At least 1″ margins on the top, bottom, and both sides of entry and synopsis
  • Minimum 12 point font. Times New Roman preferred.
  • Manuscript title in the upper left-hand corner of the header on the entry and synopsis.
  • Page number in the upper right-hand corner of the header on the entry and synopsis.
  • The first line of each chapter in the manuscript must start approximately three (3) inches from the top of the page. The synopsis may start one inch from the top.
  • Text must be double-spaced, aligned left, and unjustified on the right in the entry and synopsis.
  • Paragraphs should be inset one-half inch (.5) on the entry and synopsis.
  • The author’s name may be placed in the header on the manuscript or synopsis.
  • The manuscript and synopsis must be sent in ONE (1) Word doc or docx file with the synopsis placed at the end of the entry. Please use a page break between the manuscript and synopsis.

All submissions must be uploaded electronically to The entrant agrees to hold TARA harmless in the event of the transmission of any unwanted files, viruses, trojans, worms or any other destructive entities currently in existence or not yet discovered.

Finalists: The top three (3) finalists in each category are determined by averaging each entrants’ scores. To be considered a finalist, an entry must have a minimum average score of at least 40 points. All finalists will be notified by email and will have approximately one (1) week to review the judges’ feedback and make changes to their manuscript before it’s sent to a final-round editor judge. The finalists must submit a synopsis with their entry. The synopsis cannot exceed five (5) pages. Any finalist who does not submit a synopsis in the final round will be disqualified. The finalists may submit a revised version of their contest entry and/or their synopsis. The final manuscript and synopsis must be sent in ONE (1) Word doc or docx file to