The Contest Coordinator reserves the right to combine categories if a minimum of five entries are not received per category.
- Contemporary: Novels or sagas set in any location with a contemporary setting. This category includes literary fiction, women’s fiction, time-slip, and mainstream fiction. Stories in this category may have romance elements but are not central to the plot.
- Contemporary Romance: In Contemporary Romance, the love story is the main focus of the novel. These stories in this category can be dramatic or comedic and will have an emotionally satisfying ending for the hero and heroine.
- Historical/Historical Romance/Historical Romantic Suspense (through the Vietnam era): Novels or sagas set in any location, in which the time frame of the majority of the story is historical rather than contemporary. The time period can be up to and including the Vietnam era. If the entry is Historical Romance, the love story should be a central focus of the novel, and the end of the story is emotionally satisfying for the hero and heroine.
- Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense: Novels set in any contemporary location in which suspense or mystery is an integral part of the plot, including those with a strong romance element. Historical romantic suspense stories should be entered in the Historical category.
- Speculative: Novels in which the science fiction, the future, other planets, a fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are a major element of the plot or setting. This category includes science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, futuristic, allegory, and alternate history fiction. Stories targeted primarily at young adult readers should be entered in the Young Adult category.
- Young Adult/Middle Grade: Novels targeted toward young adult readers ages 12 through 18. The stories in this category can be dramatic, comedic, romantic, or non-romantic. Science Fiction/Fantasy/Allegory stories targeted primarily at young adult readers can be entered in this category. Stories targeted at Middle-Grade readers are included in this category.
Under no circumstances should comments provided by a judge be used for publicity purposes without the express consent of the judge.
During the first round, judges (published authors or experienced writers trained in judging The Crown) will score each entry, up to a maximum of 100 points per entry. Judges will use a scoresheet to evaluate entries. The use of track changes to leave comments for contestants is strongly encouraged but not required. The scores will be averaged. Discrepancy judges will NOT be used due to the logistics of the contest.
The top three (3) finalists in each category will continue to the final round.
Final round judges consist of industry professionals (agents, editors, and influential book bloggers). During this round, a minimum of two judges will score each entry, and the scores will be averaged. Discrepancy judges will NOT be used. In each category, the entry receiving the top final round score becomes the category winner. In the event of a tie, the previous round scores of the tied entries will be used to break the tie. If any category winner is disqualified or withdraws for any reason, the next highest-scoring finalist will be moved up to become category winner.
Final round judges will not utilize the score sheet used in the first round of judging. Instead, judges in this round will assign each entry a score between one (1) and ten (10), with one (1) being a low score and ten (10) being a high score. Final round judges have the option of giving comments on the final round entries but are not required to do so. All scores will be averaged.
Contestants who do not advance to the final round will receive their manuscripts via e-mail by October 15, 2021. Entrants are asked to please be patient as coordinators return entries, due to the sheer volume of entries and emails.
All judging is blind. Entrants’ names are only known by the coordinator.