2019 STAR Award for Published Women’s Fiction


The STAR Award is designed exclusively for the published Women's Fiction author.

The STAR Award has only two categories. 

The first is a General Category for all published Women's Fiction, regardless of time period of the premise or additional plot element.*

The second is ‘Outstanding Debut’. To be eligible, the entry must be the author’s debut published work in any genre. A novel may be entered in both the debut and general categories. In this case, the entry fee is required to be paid for both categories.

*Not sure if your novel is eligible? Guidelines below.

The STAR Award Contest is limited to the first 50 entries in each of the two categories.  

First round judging is by readers of Women's Fiction, the final round by librarians with an interest in Women's Fiction.

Entries are judged 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. 

Entries with the top three scores in each category will be declared finalists and advance to the final round.

Important Dates

Entry Opens: January 2, 2019 (8:00 am EST) for WFWA members; January 15, 2019 (8:00 am EST) for non-WFWA members, space permitting.

Entry Closes: January 30, 2019, midnight, EST.

Deadline for Entered Books to be Received by the Award Coordinator: Within 24 hours of submission of entry form. *Note: first round judging is electronic, and .mobi is the only file format accepted.*

Finalists Announced: April 30, 2019

Deadline for Finalists' Books to be Received by the Award Coordinator (paperback or hardcover book, NOT electronic)May 15, 2019

Final scores due: August 26, 2019

Winners Announced: September 27, 2019 at the Annual WFWA Retreat

Entry Submission Details

Preliminary Round: Complete the entry form, including uploading a .mobi file of your book, and pay the registration fee. If entrant is unable to provide a .mobi file for upload to the entry form, entrant must send 3 separate 'gift copies' of the Kindle book from Amazon to [email protected] WITHIN 24 hours of submitting the registration form. 

Final Round: Mail three (3) copies of the printed book to the STAR Award Contest Coordinator. Finalists' books must be received by the coordinator by May 15, 2019.

Entries will be disqualified and entry fees forfeited if files or printed books (as applicable) are not received by the award coordinator by the specified deadlines.

Entry Fee

$40 WFWA Members
$50 non-WFWA Members

Paid electronically only – no mailed checks.





Frequently Asked Questions


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 date in the calendar year 2018. If an entry doesn’t meet these requirements, it will be disqualified and entry fees will not be forfeited.

My book is available online as an eBook only. May I enter?
Yes. But for the final round, 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 novel is Women's Fiction?

Women's Fiction may include romance, or it may not. It could be contemporary or historical and have magical, mystery, thriller, or other elements. What defines a novel as Women's Fiction is that the plot's driving force is the protagonist's journey toward a more fulfilled self. The driving force of a romance novel is a love story, a mystery's is the exposure of an event, a thriller's is a fear-inducing chase or escape, etc.

If your manuscript's driving force best fits another genre, such as romance, science fiction, thriller, etc. it is not eligible for the STAR Award.


The STAR Award accepts published .mobi format entries only. If your novel finals, and is only available in e-book format, you must submit a physical book (Traditionally bound as a hardcover, trade or paperback. No unprofessionally printed manuscripts will be accepted.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I enter more than one of my novels?

No. One novel per entrant. However, if the entered novel is a debut, it may be entered into both categories - general and debut.

Can the same novel win both the general and debut categories?

That is possible.

How many finalists are there?

There are three finalists in each of the two categories.

How will I be notified if I final or win?

The finalists will be notified via email, and the official finalist list will be posted on the WFWA website. Winners are announced at the Annual Retreat. WFWA will also issue press releases to the industry with the results of each round.

What is the prize for winning?

The winner of each category will receive a STAR Award trophy. All Finalists will receive a certificate. Winners and finalists will also receive a digital badge for 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.

Additional Questions? Contact the STAR Award coordinator at [email protected].