The 2018 STAR AWARD for Published Women’s Fiction

This contest is designed exclusively for the published women’s fiction author. First round judging is by readers of Women’s Fiction, the final round by librarians.

This contest is designed exclusively for the published women’s fiction author. First round judging is by readers of Women’s Fiction, the final round by librarians.

The Star Award has only two categories.  The first category is a general category. It’s open to all women’s fiction books*, from contemporary to historical, commercial to literary, with romance or without, as long as the story’s focus is the main character’s emotional journey.

The second category is ‘Outstanding Debut’. To be eligible, the entry must be the author’s debut novel (in any genre, including published Novellas). A debut novel may be entered in the general category as well (entry fee paid twice).

*Not sure if your manuscript fits under the women’s fiction umbrella? See below under “Contest Eligibility”

The Star Award Contest is limited to the first 50 entries, in each of the two categories.  The entries with the top three (3) scores in each category will be declared finalists and will advance to the second and final round, to be judged by librarians who enjoy reading Women’s Fiction.

Important Dates

Contest Opens for WFWA members: January 2, 2018

Contest Opens for non-WFWA members (providing the entry limit has not been reached): January 16, 2018

Contest closes to entries: January 31, 2018

All entries must be received by the coordinator: February 15, 2018

Finalists Announced: May 14, 2018

Finalists' books must be received by the coordinator for final judging: May 31, 2018

Winners Announced: during the 2018 WFWA Retreat (Awards Dinner: September 28, 2018)

Entry Submission Details

Preliminary Round: Complete the entry form, pay registration fee, and mail three (3) copies of the printed book to the Star Award Contest, P.O. Box 31434, Flagstaff, AZ 86003-1434

Final Round: Mail three (3) copies of the printed book to the Star Award Contest, P.O. Box 31434, Flagstaff, AZ 86003-1434.

Entry Fee

$40 WFWA Members**
$50 non-WFWA Members

**Member entrants who agree to be judges for WFWA’s 2018 Rising Star Contest for unpublished Women’s Fiction, will receive a $10 discount on their entry

Rules and FAQ's

Contest Eligibility

Contest Rules and Definitions

Announcement of Finalists and Final Round


Contest Eligibility

Open to all authors of book-length women’s fiction (60k words or more). All work must have an ISBN, and have a copyright page with a copyright date in the calendar year 2017. 

My book is available online as an ebook only. May I enter?
Yes. But for The Star Award, all entries must be submitted as printed books.

I’ve self-published my book. Can I still enter?
Yes. Providing it has an ISBN and is available at retailers, either physical stores or online.

I’m published in another genre, but this is my first work of Women’s Fiction. Can I enter as a debut author?
No, sorry. The novel entered in this category must be a true debut – your first published in any genre. Novellas count as being published.

How do I determine if my manuscript fits the Women’s Fiction definition?
WFWA defines women’s fiction as “stories that are driven by the main character’s emotional journey.” If, in other contests, your manuscript would best fit under another category such as Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, New Adult, or Young Adult, it is not women’s fiction and, therefore, not eligible for the Star Award Contest.

Contest Rules and Definitions

The Star Award is open to the first fifty (50) entries in each category only. Only one entry per person (unless you are entering the same novel in the General and Debut Categories).

You need not be a member of WFWA to enter, but contest opens first to members only. There is no guarantee that there will be slots open for non-members.

Entry fee: $40 for WFWA members. $50 for non-members. Member entrants who agree to judge the Rising Star Contest for unpublished manuscripts will receive $10 off their entry fee. Entrants outside the U.S.: registration will be a bit different. You will need to pay via PayPal. Go through the registration process (fill out questions, etc.) When you are taken to the payment screen, select to pay by check. This will allow you to finish registration, and reserve your spot. Then contact the Contest Coordinator at She will send you a Paypal invoice for your entry fee.

Entry: The Star Award accepts paperback and hardcover entries only. If your novel is only available in e-book format, that’s fine, but you must submit a physical book for the contest (Traditionally bound as a hardcover, trade or paperback. No unprofessionally printed manuscripts will be accepted.)

Entries must be submitted to WFWA’s Entries Coordinator by February 15, 2018. Entrants who fail to meet this deadline will be disqualified, and the entry fee will be forfeited.

First round: Every entry will be judged by three (3) readers of Women’s Fiction. They will judge on a scale of 1-10 (1 is lowest, 10, highest) on quality and enjoyment of the book. Fractions are encouraged to lower the incidence of ties.

Final round: Will be judged by three librarians who enjoy Women’s Fiction. The scale remains the same.

There will be two winners – one in the Debut category, one in the general category. It is feasible those two winners could be from one entry.

Announcement of Finalists and the Final Round

The three (3) finalists will be notified via email and the official finalist list will be posted on the WFWA website on May 14, 2018. Finalists' entries (3 copies) must be received by the coordinator no later than May 31, 2018 for final judging.

Winners will be announced during the WFWA Retreat (Awards Dinner to be held September 28, 2018, in Albuquerque, New Mexico).


The winner of each category will receive a Star Award trophy. All Finalists will receive a certificate.

The first and finalist entries will receive a badge to put on their website and stickers to put on their book covers that dub the book Star Award Winner or Star Award Finalist.

There may be additional prizes, at the discretion of the Board.

Questions? Contact the Star Award coordinator at


Register here.

*Even if your book is available in e-version only, you’ll need a traditionally bound, printed version in order to enter the contest.