Claymore Award Now Open For Submissions

Dear Killer Nashville Friends,

It’s time to take a brief break from our interviews and give a Killer Nashville News Update instead. We’ll be back with a new interview and discussion question next Monday.

First, our new venue will be the beautiful Hutton Hotel in downtown Nashville. The Hutton Hotel staff is thrilled to be hosting Killer Nashville, and they’re giving us a fantastic rate–only $111 dollars a night with all kinds of perks–including free wifi for all conference attendees who stay at the hotel.

Second, Killer Nashville is now open for Claymore Award submissions. In four easy steps, you could win Killer Nashville’s prestigious Claymore Award and a possible publishing contract from Five Star Press.

This is the 3rd year for the Killer Nashville’s Claymore Award and already several previous Claymore participants have received publishing contracts and other authors are in negotiations with Five Star and others as a result of Killer Nashville’s ongoing all-volunteer efforts to help new authors.


The winner will receive consideration for publication by partnering publisher Five Star/Tekno Books. Please see the complete list of prizes below. At their discretion, Five Star may also consider any of the other entrants for publication.

KILLER NASHVILLE’S CLAYMORE AWARD WINNER – $500 worth of prizes, plus a possible publishing contract, plus a possible agent

• All Finalist prizes, plus the following:

• The coveted Killer Nashville Claymore Award

• $250 worth of downloads or tuition from Killer Nashville 2011 – your choice (a $250 value)

• The right to use the “Killer Nashville Claymore Winner” logo on your website, publicity materials, and published book (if applicable)

TOP 3 FINALISTS – $300 worth of prizes, plus a possible publishing contract, plus a possible agent

• All Top 10 Finalist prizes, plus the following:

• Free admission to Killer Nashville 2011 (a $170 value)

• Free admission to Killer Nashville 2011 Award Dinner (an $80 value)

TOP 10 FINALISTS – $50 worth of prizes, plus a possible publishing contract, plus a possible agent

• A possible publishing contract

• $50 worth of downloads or tuition from Killer Nashville 2011 – your choice (a $50 value)

• Introduction to Killer Nashville approved agents and editors

• The right to use the “Killer Nashville Claymore Finalist” logo on your website, publicity materials, and published book (if applicable)

*If a Claymore finalist has already purchased admission to Killer Nashville or to the Awards Dinner, cost of winning items will be reimbursed based on winning level, if desired.

Please remember that the conference is limited to 500 attendees in 2011.


An author does NOT have to meet publication guidelines of Five Star in order to win the Killer Nashville Claymore Award.


Judges will consider any subgenre of mystery or thriller, including political thriller, cozy, hard-boiled/private eye, police procedurals, suspense, romantic suspense, historical mystery, and paranormal mystery.


Although the Killer Nashville Claymore Award would be most helpful to unpublished writers, published authors who are “between publishers” and would like to create buzz about their new works would also benefit, as would published authors seeking award accolades. For authors who already have a publisher, you do not have to be published by Five Star if you win.


Judges are authors and qualified readers who have volunteered their time to Killer Nashville to help new, upcoming authors.


Not only does the winner receive Killer Nashville’s prestigious Claymore Award, but Five Star can offer publishing contracts to any Killer Nashville Claymore Award finalist. Not just the winner. Killer Nashville is the facilitator and not involved at all in the publishing or the offering of publishing contracts. If offered a contract by Five Star Teckno, the author is encouraged to procure their own agent or representative to broker the deal. If the author does not have an agent, Killer Nashville can give a list of recommendations. By winning, you also do NOT have to accept the publishing contract from Five Star, if offered, but you still win the award and can add the Killer Nashville Claymore to your other award credits. Publishers love it when manuscripts have won awards.


Five Star, an imprint of Gale, part of Cengage Learning, began the Five Star Mystery line in November of 1998. Since then, Five Star has earned many starred reviews, as well as Edgar Award and Anthony Award nominations. Many Five Star titles have been listed on regional bestseller lists.


Killer Nashville was founded in 2006 by writer/filmmaker Clay Stafford with the purpose of providing a networking and educational forum for those in the publishing industry and for helping writers and readers to connect. Numerous authors have found publication and a new fan base through the all-volunteer effort of the Killer Nashville organization. Over the years, grant money has been given to Killer Nashville from Clay Stafford and American Blackguard Entertainment principally, as well as Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and others, as well as numerous author sponsors.


Submissions must be received no later than May 20, 2011 to be considered for the 2011 competition and will be evaluated through a blind judging process to ensure fairness. Entry fees are charged to help defray the individual cost of copying and mailing each manuscript to the volunteer judges.

Please note that the judging process is highly subjective, dictated by the personal interests of each reader (which is why each manuscript is read by different readers and rated by several rather than relying on one reader) and the large number of quality entries vying for the top honors. Though we are unable to provide specific feedback on each individual manuscript, please do not hesitate to contact us with any general questions regarding the selection process.

The winner will be announced at Killer Nashville 2011, held on August 26-28 at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The author need not be present to win and is under no obligation to accept a publishing contract should he/she be offered one by Five Star. Winner will be determined at the sole discretion of editors of Five Star from the top ten submissions as chosen by Killer Nashville judges in a blind submission process. All decisions are final.

Read all the rules here. (


We look forward to adding you to the Killer Nashville success stories!


Clay Stafford, Founder, Killer Nashville

Beth Terrell, Executive Director, Killer Nashville

Tracy Bunch, Office Manager, Killer Nashville


1. Prepare the manuscript of your unpublished thriller, suspense, or mystery manuscript

2. Fill out the registration form and a check for $35 to help defray copying and mailing costs of your manuscript to judges (judges are volunteers and are not compensated)

3. Mail payment and registration form with the first 50 pages of your manuscript to the Killer Nashville Claymore Award, and

4. You could win!


For more information regarding Killer Nashville’s Claymore Award:

For more information of Killer Nashville Awards:

To learn more about Killer Nashville:

To contact us with questions:

To register for Killer Nashville 2011:

Our Killer Nashville Blog:

Killer Nashville

P.O. Box 680686

Franklin, TN 37068-0686

United States


About Clay Stafford

Clay Stafford is an author / filmmaker ( and founder of Killer Nashville ( As a writer himself, he has over 1.5 million copies of his own books in print in over 14 languages. Stafford’s latest projects are the feature documentary “One of the Miracles” ( and the music CD “XO” ( A champion of writers, Publishers Weekly has identified Stafford as playing “an essential role in defining which books become bestsellers” throughout “the nation’s book culture.” (PW 6/10/13)
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