9th Annual Killer Nashville
Silver Falchion Award™


Entry Deadline: April 30, 2016
Enter the Silver Falchion Award™


Since 2006, Killer Nashville has been an advocate for beginning and mid-list writers, as well as a resource for platform-building for established authors. It is a community of genre and non-genre writers whose work contains elements of mystery, thriller, or suspense.

The Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award™ is committed to discovering new writers, as well as superlative books by established authors and, upon discovery, sharing those writers and their works with new readers.


The Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards began in 2008 as a way to honor attending writers at Killer Nashville.

Alumni of Killer Nashville then asked if we could open the awards to them, which we did.

Non-alumni then asked if we could open the awards to them. We did.

Then, alumni from other countries asked if we could open the award to them. We listened there, as well.

And now the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards are open—fiction and nonfiction, anthologies, essays, collections, and more—to self-published and traditionally published writers throughout the world.


In addition to the bragging rights that come with joining great company (look at the book covers on this page), Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award winners, finalists, and nominees experience great success in finding new audiences.

In an industry where 2,740 books on average are published every day in the United States alone (and where most don’t sell over 250 copies in their entire publishing history), it’s one more way a writer—especially a beginning writer—can say, “look at me” in the minds of both readers and booksellers.

The Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award sets winners and nominees apart in booksellers’ minds from other similar books on a subject, including the actual placement of the book in the brick-and-mortar bookstore itself.

Killer Nashville also gives a shout-out to our qualifying entered books via our Tweets (22,000 exposures a day), our Facebook, our Killer Nashville Blog, Killer Nashville Magazine, and our Killer Nashville Books of the Day Book Reviews.


The cost for entry depends upon how many categories and subcategories are chosen.

The first entry is FREE to registered attendees of Killer Nashville, but attendance at Killer Nashville is NOT required.

Each entry entitles qualifying books to be promoted at no additional cost via our Tweets (22,000 exposures a day), our Facebook page, our Killer Nashville Blog, Killer Nashville Magazine, and/or our Killer Nashville Books of the Day Book Reviews.


Because one of our four mission statements is to connect writers with new readers.

Entry also entitles books to be eligible for the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Readers’ Choice Award, voted on electronically by audiences around the world.

Entries from registered Killer Nashville attendees are also eligible for winning the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Best Attending Author Award, voted on by the attendees at Killer Nashville.


Fiction stories can be of any genre, but must at least have sub-elements of mystery, thriller, or suspense.

How does this translate? Whether on this planet or another, something must have happened that the reader and protagonist(s) need to figure out (mystery), or something is about to happen that we dread (suspense), or something is indeed happening and our protagonist must escape or save the day (thriller).

Fiction can be written for any age group (usually denoted by the age of the protagonist). Works are not limited to full-length traditional novels; short story anthologies and collections and graphic novels are also included.

Fiction categories include:

Sample of Previous Fiction Winners

  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Best Fiction Adult Book
  • Best Fiction Young Adult Book (ages 14 and up)
  • Best Fiction Tween Adult Book (ages 10-14)
  • Best Fiction Short Story Anthology
  • Best Fiction Short Story Collection
  • Best Graphic Novel / Poetry

Enter Fiction Into the
Silver Falchion Award™


Children’s books for all ages are of special interest to Killer Nashville.

Books for young people serve multiple purposes:

  • They help children begin to explore the world around them;
  • They get children into the habit and normalcy of reading;
  • They create new experiences beyond the child’s daily reality;
  • They foster imagination and the general love of learning and growing;
  • They give children a sense of reference and identity in history, time, place, and family;
  • They provide problem solving and future “detective” skills through the safe and voyeuristic advantage of another character;
  • They encourage early development in learning, resulting in lifelong learners; and
  • They create the readers of tomorrow.

Children’s books—whether board books, picture books, first books, or chapter books—are vital for the total development of the child and the reader.

And don’t be fooled: a book for a child can be just as exciting, wonderful, revealing, thrilling, suspenseful, and mysterious as more hardened books for adults, even if the main character is the Number 7, the day’s color is Blue, or the main character is an orphaned son whose deceased parents were wizards. All can produce a series of unfortunate events…and problem-solving hope and analytical skills for every child’s future.

This category includes fiction AND nonfiction books and graphic novels for Young Readers, birth through developing readers of age 10.

Sample of Previous Children’s Winners

  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Best Children’s Board Book – Fiction, Nonfiction, or Silly (Newborn to age 3)
  • Best Children’s Picture Book – Fiction, Nonfiction, or Silly (ages 3-8)
  • Best Children’s First Reader Book – Fiction, Nonfiction, or Silly (ages 5-8)
  • Best Children’s First Chapter Book – Fiction, Nonfiction, or Silly (ages 7-10)

Enter A Children's Book Into the Silver Falchion Award™


Entries for the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Nonfiction Awards must answer this question: Would a writer want to read your book to gain some sort of benefit, idea generation, information, research, reference, and/or entertainment?

This category is wide open.

Nonfiction books in this category are not only True Crime, but are also any books that could be used for reference or inspiration by writers when writing their own respective works —including biographies, industry profiles, social injustices, gun catalogues, reference works, travelogues.

Believe it or not, most writers buy more nonfiction books than they do fiction! Not only does the Silver Falchion Award set nonfiction authors apart in the minds of readers and booksellers, it also generates a new niche market of researching writers.

One wouldn’t expect a fiction author to necessarily buy a book on antique glass bottles, but cozy antique shop mystery writers would love that resource. A valuable glass bottle provides great motivation to do wrong from the perspective of a mystery writer. And an additional sale is a great thing from the perspective of the nonfiction author who writes about glass bottles!

Have you written a biography on a baseball player or any other nonfiction subject? That will provide a valuable inside look into your world for the writer writing a fiction story within his or her fictional world.

Written a book on desktop publishing or self-help motivation? Bookstores and authors both would be very interested in learning from and selling your book for you.

Explore our categories and see how your books can find a new audience, and bookstore validation, through the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Nonfiction Awards honoring the best resource, information, and essay books from the previous year.

Sample of Previous Nonfiction Winners

  • "The Skelton Crew" by Deborah Halber
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award
  • Best Nonfiction Adult Book
  • Best Nonfiction Young Adult Book (ages 14 and up)
  • Best Nonfiction Tween Adult Book (ages 10-14)
  • Best Nonfiction Essay Anthology
  • Best Nonfiction Essay Collection

Enter Nonfiction Into the
Silver Falchion Award™


Killer Nashville loves first-time authors. Our Killer Nashville Conference attests to our success stories, catapulting the unpublished into rewarding careers.

If this is your first fiction or nonfiction work, please note that in the sub-categories. Special consideration is given to first-timers. (We love first-time writers.)

If you are a published fiction author can you enter as a first-time nonfiction author? Yes. Different field, different skill-set. Same with an established children’s fiction author who might write her first Young Adult or Adult Mystery Novel.

Self-published works are eligible for entry.


Your first choice will let us know the type of work you are entering: fiction, nonfiction, children’s (up to age 10). We’ve gone over those above. The second is your overall genre. The third choices are subgenres that will make your entry distinct from other entries.

Known subgenres for various genres have been included. If you are not familiar with a particular subgenre, it is likely that your work is not right for it anyway. Look for genres for which you know your work qualifies. Entries will be judged based upon the criteria of the entry. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Why are there so many categories? Because a novel may be a historical romance, but it also might be an historical mystery or even an historical thriller. The three categories might not be comparable and thus require a different set of judges. (You don’t want someone who loves historical mysteries judging your bodice ripper. It’s not fair to you.)

When making your selection, you might select adult fiction>romance>historical>regency to truly define your books category and increase your chances for winning as the judges compare the proverbial apples against apples. Or, you can certainly leave it at adult fiction, but realizing you are in competition against all adult fiction.

Will entering more entries give a greater chance of winning? Maybe.

Fine-tuning your entry will reduce the competition, but only if your entry really is the best in the particular niche for which you have defined it.

Don’t just enter to enter; if your work is not right for that category that will not increase your chances.

An actual example: If you choose a 9th Century AD category as the setting of your novel or nonfiction reference work, you will increase your chances of winning in that category by separating yourself from other time periods, but you will also be held to the higher standard of historical accuracy based upon your 9th Century AD selection.


How do you choose your categories? Let’s say you live in London, your book is published in the U.K., and your book is directed at children less than three years old who are expected to hold the book themselves, and it is a story about a family that goes on an adventure in the woods.

Because it is written for a child under 3 and they are expected to hold it, it is probably a Board Book. That’s your first choice.

If it is a book not available in the U.S. (in this case, it is only published in the U.K.), you would check International Entry.

Is it more about the adventure or the family, as both options are available? In this case, it is the family. So the next choice would be “family”.

Then your last choice is “Action & Adventure” because it plays a more minor role to what goes on in the family, which is what is important to this young listener about this story.

But what if your character is a young princess, it is set in 1870 England, a period story, and it is your first book for children?

In that case, in addition to “Action & Adventure”, you could also check “Royalty” and “Historical Europe”. And by all means, you would also check, “First Book”!

What if it is “The Berenstain Bears and the Missing Honey”?

This would be a First Reader Book. It was published in the U.S., so we skip the International Entry. There are detective elements here and the characters are bears, but the story (as are all Berenstain Bears books) are about “Family” (as opposed to the Hardy Boys, which are all about the “Mystery”, or specifically “Amateur Detectives”). “Family” would be the next choice. The sub-elements would be “Detective Mystery”, “Animals Bears”, “Comedy”, and—because this one is in meter and also rhymes—we could even select “Verse.”

Why are we so specific about the categories and subcategories? Because we want to ensure that the best readers—the ones who like your type of book—are the ones who judge it.


Judges only interested in that particular genre will do judging of each genre.

Elements that fiction judges will consider include intro/hook, characters, narrative voice, exposition, entertainment value, quality of language, dialog, marketability, plot structure, and story arc.

For nonfiction judges, they will be looking at the storytelling, the appeal to the general market, and—if applicable—the weight of the researched or referenced works, and the value of the book to an author or reader looking to read True Crime or to develop a mystery, thriller, or suspense novel.

Judges for children’s books will search for identifiable characters, life lessons, teachable moments, cleverness, and—most of all—fun.

Let’s make sure you find yourself in the correct category.

Physical or electronic submissions are allowed.

All awards must be from previous calendar year.

International entries will be awarded by country in which work was published.

Anthology award is given to the editor. An anthology is considered a new publication when the content of the anthology has never been previously assembled in a specific order.


E-books are eligible for all categories. You can upload your book in the submission form. PDFs are recommended, however we accept other file formats. Of course, if you have physical copies of your e-book you may submit two (2) copies instead of uploading the book.


If you wish to enter a book for the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award™ you will need to submit the appropriate form, and mail the email confirmation with two (2) physical copies of your book to the entry address. An electronic upload option is in the form if the book is available as an e-book (otherwise, please send the printed copy).

Mailing Address:
Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award™
P.O. Box 680759
Franklin, TN 37068-0759

DO NOT send your books in such a way that a signature is required. Books that require a signature will not be accepted.

If you are mailing multiple packages of books and have filled out one form with additional entries, please make sure a copy of that form is in each package of books.

If you would like confirmation that your books were received, please include a stamped, self-addressed postcard with your books. You can also verify delivery through the tracking number provided by the post office by mailing it Priority Mail and adding delivery confirmation.


Following the close of the contest, books will be donated to needy libraries, universities, and charities. Copies will not be returned to submitter.


The purpose of the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award™ is to honor the best books readily available to an audience in any format within the past given year.  Killer Nashville reserves the right to modify these guidelines at any time and at the discretion and determination of the Board without notice based upon unforeseen issues relating to the equity (or inequity) of the given awards. Categories may be expanded or reduced based upon the number of quality submissions and the preliminary judges’ recommendations to allow a more accurate judging process for submitted books; for example, where there is an abundance of both excellent cozies and paranormal romances, logic would dictate these be judged against only those within their own category because the demographics, interest, and criteria for each genre would be completely different. In the judges’ determination of an absence of quality books during a particular year, certain categories or subcategories may also be eliminated and no award will be given for that category. When, in the judges’ opinion, a certain excellent book would stand a better chance of being recognized in a different category than the one in which it was entered (e.g., an entry entered as a children’s book might be better served in the young adult category), the judges are free to make that determination citing the best interest of the entry. When a book is moved into a more appropriate category or established sub-category other than that in which it was entered, an attempt will be made to notify the person nominating the book, but not required. The decisions of the judges and the voters are final.

Enter the Silver Falchion Award™

Good Luck!
We Wish You All the Best!