Previous Killer Nashville Claymore Award winners who are now published.

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    Previous winners who are now published.

The Killer Nashville Claymore Award is presented at the annual Killer Nashville Awards Dinner.

Every year, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award assists new and rebranding English-language fiction authors to get published, including possible agent representation, book advances, editor deals, and movie and television sales. Over $3,000 worth of prizes are given away each year, but to us, the publishing and movie deals—and the careers they build—are the end game.

What can be entered?
9E0FEF39BA19459ABD20384EAA7C3EC4The contest is limited to only the first 50 double-spaced pages of unpublished English-language manuscripts containing elements of thriller, mystery, crime, or suspense NOT currently under contract.

These can include Action, Adventure, Alternate History, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Suspense, Thriller, and Western manuscripts, and any of their derivatives. (Self-published manuscripts are considered already published and are not eligible.)

How Much Does It Cost?
Entry fee is $40 per entry.

Critiques of a 50-page manuscript by industry peers is an additional $100. Critiques are only available to paid entrants.

Authors are welcome to resubmit new drafts of altered entries up until the deadline of April 1, 2019. A separate charge will be assessed for each entry.

Authors may submit more than one manuscript. All manuscripts are to be submitted as .doc or .docx files. and should be double-spaced with 12pt Times New Roman font and standard margins. All submitted files should be named in the following format:

YearMonthDay__Title of Manuscript

Example: 20191012_My Great Book

Please do not include any contact information on the manuscript itself, as entries are judged blindly. You may include contact information on a cover page, should you choose to include one (cover pages are not required). 

Failure to adhere to the guidelines above may result in disqualification from the competition.

Who Judges?
A jury of publishing and writing peers within each genre chooses the Top 20 Finalists through a blind judging process. Almost all Top 20 Finalists will usually land a publishing contract within the next year, most through contacts made at Killer Nashville.

Finalist manuscripts will be sent to a committee of editors and publicists at Kensington Books and they will select the Top 3 Finalists. The Top 3 Killer Nashville Claymore Award Winners will be announced at the annual Killer Nashville Awards Dinner during the Killer Nashville Conference.


What Do I Win?
Probably a traditional publishing contract with a Mystery Writers of America and/or International Thriller Writers’ approved publisher. But there’s more…

The Top 3 finalists receive heavily discounted admission (a $285 value!) to that year’s Killer Nashville where the winners will be announced and introductions will be made to agents and/or editors to kick-start their publishing careers. Critiques of work will be given. Breakouts will be attended. Pitching sessions will be set up. The Top 3 who are already registered as Killer Nashville attendees will be refunded a portion of their registration fees for that year. Top 3 Finalists do not have to be present to win but will miss out on all networking opportunities.

Any manuscripts considered of exceptional merit above the Top 20 will also be forwarded to agents and/or editors.

We assist all Finalists in getting an agent to best represent their interests and become lifetime mentors to those writers. Winnings are not transferable and must be redeemed in the year they are won. All entries remain eligible as long as they were not under contract at the time of submission. There are no refunds for any reason.