Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award™ Category Guidelines

Silver Falchion Award Winners

Nominate your work for the Silver Falchion AwardThe purpose of the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award™ is to honor the best books readily available to a North American audience in any format within the past year. The categories include both fiction and nonfiction.

Click on any category below to learn specific submission requirements.

Best Novel

Any genres that are driven either by a thriller, mystery, or suspense element of this world or another, a horrific theme, a crime in this world or another, the solving of a crime (detection) in this world or another, or the possibility that a crime (not necessarily murder) will be committed (suspense) are all eligible. Examples include crime, mystery, thriller, spy, action, suspense, adventure, romantic suspense, and all subcategories including, but not limited to, comedy, cozy, gangster, historical, horror, legal, steampunk, paranormal, private eye, police procedural, political thriller, sci-fi/fantasy, westerns, as examples. For academic purposes, non-genre fiction titles (considered literary) are also eligible if there is a specific stellar elemental aspect associated with the writing, e.g., character arcs, surprise twists, exemplary plotting, use of theme, etc., that writers of genre/mystery/thriller fiction could be inspired by. This category is considered for adult readers. Entries must be readily available in English to a North American readership for the first time in the year previous to the award in any format: hardbound, paperback, or e-book original. Foreign books may have an earlier copyright, but the year previous to the award must be their first publication in English in North America. If there are sufficient submissions of quality, and to honor more books of merit, this award may be broken into new categories or subgenres at the discretion of Killer Nashville with attempted notification to nominee. Entries may not be withdrawn or categories changed after an announcement is made to the public.

Best First Novel

Only first-time authors are eligible for this award, however, first time authors are not required to be in this category; they may enter in Best Novel instead. If an author has previously published a novel in any format and of any type (even if it was published using a different pen name at that time), he/she is ineligible for the Best First Novel category. When there is more than one author, both authors must meet the previously non-published criteria. Entries must be readily available in English to a North American readership for the first time in the year previous to the award in any format: hardbound, paperback, or e-book original. Foreign books may have an earlier copyright, but the year previous to the award must be their first publication in English in North America. Any genres that are driven either by a thriller, mystery, or suspense element of this world or another, a horrific theme, a crime in this world or another, the solving of a crime (detection) in this world or another, or the possibility that a crime (not necessarily murder) will be committed (suspense) are all eligible. Examples include crime, mystery, thriller, spy, action, suspense, adventure, romantic suspense, and all subcategories including, but not limited to, comedy, cozy, gangster, historical, horror, legal, steampunk, paranormal, private eye, police procedural, political thriller, sci-fi/fantasy, westerns, as examples. For academic purposes, non-genre titles (considered literary) are also eligible if there is a specific stellar aspect associated with the writing, e.g., character arcs, surprise twists, exemplary plotting, use of theme, etc., that writers of genre/mystery/thriller fiction could be inspired by. This category is considered for adult readers. If there are sufficient submissions of quality, and to honor more books of merit, this award may be broken into new categories or subgenres at the discretion of Killer Nashville with attempted notification to nominee. Entries may not be withdrawn or categories changed after an announcement is made to the public.

Best Young Adult

The target audience for these works of fiction would be teens and young adults, approximate ages 12-20, probably sixth grade through early college, though adults could certainly be included. Think All the Truth That’s in Me (Berry), Far Far Away (McNeal), Criminal (McVoy), How to Lead a Life of Crime (Miller), or Ketchup Clouds (Pitcher). This category is for single work fiction only. Nonfiction works should be listed in the nonfiction category. Collections or anthologies should be entered in Best Anthology or Collection. Entries must be readily available in English to a North American readership for the first time in the year previous to the award in any format: hardbound, paperback, or e-book original. Foreign books may have an earlier copyright, but the year previous to the award must be their first publication in English in North America. Any genres that are driven either by a thriller, mystery, or suspense element of this world or another, a horrific theme, a crime in this world or another, the solving of a crime (detection) in this world or another, or the possibility that a crime (not necessarily murder) will be committed (suspense) are all eligible. Examples include crime, mystery, thriller, spy, action, suspense, adventure, romantic suspense, and all subcategories including, but not limited to, comedy, cozy, gangster, historical, horror, legal, steampunk, paranormal, private eye, police procedural, political thriller, sci-fi/fantasy, westerns, as examples. For academic purposes, non-genre titles (considered literary) are also eligible if there is a specific stellar aspect associated with the writing, e.g., character arcs, surprise twists, exemplary plotting, use of theme, etc., that authors of genre/mystery/thriller young adult fiction could be inspired by. If there are sufficient submissions of quality, and to honor more books of merit, this award may be broken into new categories or subgenres at the discretion of Killer Nashville with attempted notification to nominee. Entries may not be withdrawn or categories changed after an announcement is made to the public.

Best Children’s

The target audience for these works of fiction would be children ages 9-12, probably third through sixth grade, though teens and adults could certainly be included. Think Harry Potter (Rowling), Guardians of Ga'Hoole (Lasky), or House of Secrets (Columbus). This category is for single work fiction only. Nonfiction works should be listed in the nonfiction category. Collections or anthologies should be entered in Best Anthology or Collection. Entries must be readily available in English to a North American readership for the first time in the year previous to the award in any format: hardbound, paperback, or e-book original. Foreign books may have an earlier copyright, but the year previous to the award must be their first publication in English in North America. Any genres that are driven either by a thriller, mystery, or suspense element of this world or another, a horrific theme, a crime in this world or another, the solving of a crime (detection) in this world or another, or the possibility that a crime (not necessarily murder) will be committed (suspense) are all eligible. Examples include crime, mystery, thriller, spy, action, suspense, adventure, romantic suspense, and all subcategories including, but not limited to, comedy, cozy, gangster, historical, horror, legal, steampunk, paranormal, private eye, police procedural, political thriller, sci-fi/fantasy, westerns, as examples. For academic purposes, non-genre books are also eligible if there is a specific stellar element associated with the writing, e.g., character arcs, surprise twists, exemplary plotting, use of theme, pictures, etc. that writers of genre/mystery/thriller children’s fiction could be inspired by. Entries may not be withdrawn or categories changed after an announcement is made to the public.

Best Young Readers

The target audience for these works of fiction would be children ages 6-8, probably kindergarten through second grade. This category is for children learning to love books. Judged on combination of originality and telling of the story and the accompanying illustrations, the goal of this category is to identify exciting books to inspire young readers of the next generation. There is rarely a murder here or a really scary monster, but there is always a mystery to solve. Think Geronimo Stilton (Stilton), Ivy and Bean Take the Case (Barrows), Where the Wild Things Are (Sendak), October Ogre (Roy), or Scooby-Doo: Dino Destruction (Howard). This category is for single work fiction only. Nonfiction works relating to this age group should be listed in the nonfiction category. Collections or anthologies should be entered in Best Anthology or Collection. Entries must be readily available in English to a North American readership for the first time in the year previous to the award in any format: hardbound, paperback, or e-book original. Foreign books may have an earlier copyright, but the year previous to the award must be their first publication in English in North America. Entries will be judged on originality, character arcs, surprise twists, exemplary plotting, use of theme, pictures, but – mostly – at this age level: fun. Entries may not be withdrawn or categories changed after an announcement is made to the public.

Best Preschool

The target audience for these works of fiction would be preschool children up to age 5. This category has lots of pictures, but also lots of puzzles to get those little brains active. Judged on combination of originality and telling of the story and the accompanying illustrations, the goal of this category is to identify exciting books to inspire young readers of the next generation. Think Madeline and the Old House in Paris (Marciano), Minnie the Case of the Missing Sparkle-izer (Scollon), Bug Patrol (Mortensen), or The Case of the Missing Donut (McGhee). This category is for single work fiction only. Nonfiction works relating to this age group should be listed in the nonfiction category. Collections or anthologies should be entered in Best Anthology or Collection. Entries must be readily available in English to a North American readership for the first time in the year previous to the award in any format: hardbound, paperback, or e-book original. Foreign books may have an earlier copyright, but the year previous to the award must be their first publication in English in North America. Entries will be judged on originality, character arcs, surprise twists, exemplary plotting, use of theme, pictures, but – mostly – at this age level: fun. Entries may not be withdrawn or categories changed after an announcement is made to the public.

Best Anthology or Collection

This is a fiction category exclusively for collected short stories and includes one author who has collected his/her own stories into a single volume, an editor(s) who has collected several stories by one or various authors, or an editor(s) who has collected stories by one or various authors around a particular theme, e.g., a study of American Gothic Short Fiction by one or more authors. Examples would include Trouble in Mind (Deaver), Just After Sunset (King), Best American Mystery Stories, The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries (Penzler), American Fantastic Tales (Straub). Award will be given to a single author or singular author partnership or the editor(s) responsible for the story collection being assembled into this respective singular format at the discretion of the Killer Nashville judges. In cases where the collection is the result of an editor(s) rather than a living author (say a collection of short stories from a reclusive and not-publishing Salinger), the award will be given to the editor(s) regardless of whether the author is alive or dead. These cases are usually denoted by Edited By credit on the face or spine of the collection or anthology. This category also includes important previously published works assembled in a new and noteworthy way. In this case, the award would go to the editor based upon scholarly merit of the assembled volume. Collections of essays or other nonfiction should be included in Best Nonfiction. In cases where the collection is part-fiction/part-essay, Best Anthology or Collection would be the appropriate category (not Best Nonfiction). Collections or anthologies can be genres that are driven either by a thriller or adventure element of this world or another, a horrific theme, a crime in this world or another, the solving of a crime (detection) in this world or another, or the possibility that a crime (not necessarily murder) will be committed (suspense). Examples include crime, mystery, thriller, spy, action, suspense, adventure, romantic suspense, and all subcategories including, but not limited to, comedy, cozy, gangster, historical, horror, children's, legal, steampunk, paranormal, private eye, police procedural, political thriller, sci-fi/fantasy, westerns, young adults, as examples. For academic purposes, non-genre fiction collections (considered literary) are also eligible if there is a specific stellar aspect associated with the writing, e.g., character arcs, surprise twists, exemplary plotting, use of theme, etc., that writers of short genre/mystery/thriller fiction could be inspired by. This category is considered for children through adult readers. Entries must be readily available in English to a North American readership for the first time in the year previous to the award in any format: hardbound, paperback, or e-book original. Foreign books may have an earlier copyright, but the year previous to the award must be their first publication in English in North America. The collected stories can be from any year; this award is for the collection itself, not the individual stories or essays. If there are sufficient submissions of quality, and to honor more books of merit, this award may be broken into new categories or subgenres at the discretion of Killer Nashville with attempted notification to nominee. Entries may not be withdrawn or categories changed after an announcement is made to the public.

Best Nonfiction

This category includes all hardbound, paperback or e-book originals and encompasses any topics or studies that might be featured in a nonfiction panel or presentation at Killer Nashville including, but not limited to, scholarly works, case studies, true crime, reference books, historical crime, genre studies, essay collections, "inside" stories, applicable biographies, forensic overviews, academic topics, or works that writers or readers of mystery, suspense, thriller, or crime would read in pursuit of general or specific interest. Mixed collections containing any fiction short stories should be entered in Best Anthology or Collection. If a series of shorter essays, this award will be given to the author or the editor responsible for the collection being assembled. Biographies of authors or serial killers, an academic study of horror or mystery, essays from writers on writing, or writer how-to books for authors of adult to children's literature are obvious choices.  Less obvious, but just as valid, would be an autobiography detailing gambling inside the world of baseball or a reference work of 14th Century furniture, all of which could be of interest to a writer of fiction and a contender for a panel at Killer Nashville. Self-help books are also eligible if the topic or suggestions are immediately transferrable to writers. Books not likely to be considered would be those with no relevance to Killer Nashville writers, readers, or research, such as cookbooks (unless there are recipes for killing characters, or the recipes are from the kitchens of mystery/thriller authors), exercise books, new weight loss programs, and books detailing how to improve one's golf game. Litmus is: would a writer or reader at Killer Nashville find this book of value as a Killer Nashville panel? This category is considered for adult readers. Entries must be readily available in English to a North American readership for the first time in the year previous to the award in any format: hardbound, paperback, or e-book original. Foreign books may have an earlier copyright, but the year previous to the award must be their first publication in English in North America. In cases of books in the field of science and technology, subsequent published editions are allowed if changes were made to reflect current scientific understanding and development. If there are sufficient submissions of quality, and to honor more books of merit, this award may be broken into new sub-categories at the discretion of Killer Nashville with attempted notification to nominee. Entries may not be withdrawn or categories changed after an announcement is made to the public.

Best Book by a Conference Attendee

This is the only category in which a book may be entered twice and in which the deadline for entry is extended. Authors attending Killer Nashville are automatically eligible for consideration in the “Best Book by a Conference Attendee” category, as well as also in their chosen category above if they met the appropriate deadline for entry. However, entry is not automatic. Authors must indicate desire to have book entered into this category when registering (or post-registering) for Killer Nashville. Books can be on any subject, fiction or nonfiction, collection or anthology, and for any age demographic. Only criteria for entry is that the author(s) or editor(s) be registered as a full-attendee at Killer Nashville. (Yes, even eat-all-the-carbs-you-want weight loss books are eligible, though it is unlikely that they will win.) In cases of multiple authors or editors, at least one author or editor must be registered as a full-attendee (day passes not accepted). Entries must be readily available in English or attendee’s native language for the first time in the year previous to the award in any territory in any format (hardbound, paperback, or e-book original) or first-time publication in English to a North American readership for the first time in the year previous to the award in any format (hardbound, paperback, or e-book original). In other words, a book published is Swahili in the year previous to the award is eligible as is the same book published in Swahili in 1994, but just recently published in English in the year previous to the award as long as at least one author or editor is an attendee of Killer Nashville in the year of the award. If there are sufficient submissions of quality, and to honor more books of merit, this award may be broken into new categories or subgenres at the discretion of Killer Nashville with attempted notification to nominee. Entries may not be withdrawn or categories changed after an announcement is made to the public.
facebooktwittermailfacebooktwittermail