I Heart Indie Contest

Welcome to the I Heart Indie Contest!

The 2018 I Heart Indie Contest is closed for submissions. Please check back in October, 2018, to see the winners. The I Heart Indie Contest will open for submissions once again in Spring 2019.


In the world of electronic publishing, a book’s cover and the back cover copy are often what make—or break—a sale. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how effectively these elements are selling your book? We devised this contest to pair up indie books with (to the extent possible) genre-specific book clubs to determine what readers prefer and to give your book more exposure to possible readers. Additionally, even indie authors might consider using an agent to help them negotiate foreign sales, film rights, and a host of other things that are beyond the original publication of their work. We have arranged for several of these agents to judge the final round of the contest.


The contest is open to any independently published book, as well as those published by small presses.

You may enter as many books as you like, so long as they meet the entry requirements. Each category is limited to 50 entries. The contest categories are as follows:

  • Contemporary Romance: Novels that take place now or within the last 30 years.
  • Historical: Novels set in any historical time period, with the exception of those that meet the requirements of the Western category.
  • Erotic Romance: Novels in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the story, character growth, and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline.
  • Inspirational: Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are a major part of the romantic relationship.
  • Paranormal: Novels in which paranormal elements are an integral part of the plot.
  • Suspense: Novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.
  • Young Adult: Novels that focus on the romantic relationship between teenagers.
  • New Adult: Novels that focus on the romantic relationship between adults between the ages of 18 and 25.
  • Novella: A work of fiction between 18,000 to 40,000 words.
  • Western: Novels that take place in any time or place where the central theme involves cowboys, ranchers, lawmen, etc. and their lives on ranches, farms, frontier towns, homesteads, etc.
  • Sci-Fi/Fantasy: Novels in which the future, space or fantasy elements play an integral part of the plot.


  • April 1, 2018: The I Heart Indie contest opens for submissions.
  • June 1, 2018: The I Heart Indie contest closes for submissions. All submissions must be received no later than 11:59 p.m., Pacific Standard Time.
  • August 1, 2018: Finalists will be notified via email or telephone call.  All others will be notified via email.
  • October 20, 2018: Winners will be announced at the Vegas Valley Book Festival. All finalists are invited to attend. Winners will also be announced on the LVRWA.org website, Twitter, and Facebook using #IHeartIndie.


All the entries in a category will be judged by at least one book club and every effort will be made to use book club(s) that are genre-specific. The top five entries in each category will then be judged by literary agents experienced in working with indie authors. The agents will rank the entries and the top entry will be the winner of the category. The book clubs will be provided with the winners from each category and will judge and determine the “Best of the Best” winner. All decisions of the judges are final and without recourse.

Winner Notification

Finalists and winners will be notified via email and/or telephone.


The winners for each category will be featured in an ad similar to those on the RT Book Review website. They will also be announced in the Romance Writers Report. The winner of “The Best of The Best” will be awarded a cash prize of $125.

Contact Information

If you have any questions, please contact us via email at: contest@lvrwa.org or reach us through our contact page.

How to Enter

An entry consists of a completed entry form, the text of the back cover copy, an upload of the book’s cover (in JPG, JPEG, or PNG format), and the entrance fee of $15.00 USD. Only electronic entries are permitted. If any of the essential parts are missing at the close of submission, the entry may be disqualified, at our discretion. A confirming email will be sent to you at the email address provided once we have received all necessary parts. Payment may be made via PayPal or by sending a certified check or a money order (no personal checks allowed).