Are you a PRO?

We’ve made a big change to the Stiletto Contest for 2019, and it could mean a big change for you.

New this year, all entrants for the Stiletto Contest are required to judge. Most contests require their entrants to judge, and Contemporary Romance Writers made the change this year. If you’re already PAN, PRO, or a General member, that won’t change things for you. If you’re not, you have an application to fill out!

If you’re entering a published entry, you are already PAN or Provisional-PAN, or eligible. If you haven’t applied, you can do so by logging in to RWA.organd selecting PAN/PRO under GET INVOLVED of the menu bar. If you’re entering an unpublished entry, and you’re unpublished as a romance author, you need to apply for PRO.

Why should you become PRO?

First, it’ll allow you to enter the Stiletto Contest. That’s what we’re talking about here, but there’s a lot more to go with being PRO. Becoming PRO gives you access to a community of RWA members who are at the same place in their career. Other authors who’ve yet to publish their first novel or accept their first contract. Those connections alone are worth applying for PRO!

PRO members also have a PRO Retreat at every national conference full of sessions exclusively for PRO members to help advance their careers. The final schedule for the PRO Retreat at RWA19 is not available yet, but you can bet it’ll be a great one. And it’s included with your conference registration.

How to apply to PRO

In order to apply for PRO, you can not be PAN-eligible and must have “one complete original work of romance fiction of at least 20,000 words, or multiple complete original works of romance fiction which combine for a total of at least 20,000 words.” If you’re submitting to the Stiletto Contest, you *should* qualify. Unpublished entries should be completed manuscripts even though the first 7000 words is all that’s required. And since you need to be PRO (or PAN or General) to judge, and therefore enter, finish that entry and send in your application today!

Go here ( to find out more information about becoming PRO. The application process won’t take long, and you should have your PRO designation within two weeks!

The Stiletto Contest opens one week from today, so get those applications for PRO in now! If you have questions or need help, our new PRO Liaison, Michelle Orloff, is here to help. Thanks, Michelle!


Mary E. Thompson is an author of more than 40 contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. Her curvy heroines and sexy heroes steal the hearts of her readers and make them wish her characters were real. Mary is also the co-chair (with Liza Keogh) of the 2019 Stiletto Contest. Read more about Mary and her books at, where it’s a curvy road to happily ever after.

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