Edgar Award Category Information

Information About 2025 Edgar® Awards
For Works Published in 2024

Guidelines and Entry Forms

All books, short stories and television shows in the mystery, crime, suspense, and intrigue fields are eligible for Edgar® Awards in their respective category if they were published or produced for the first time in the U.S. during the 2024 calendar year. Books from non-U.S. publishers are eligible if they are widely distributed in the U.S. and are readily available on the shelves in brick-and-mortar stores for the first time during 2024 (“Special order” titles do not qualify).

It is the ultimate responsibility of the publisher/author to ensure that works are submitted to the correct category. A regularly updated list of works submitted by category can be found here. Submission of a work to the wrong category will result in that work’s disqualification from Edgar consideration. If you have a question about your submission, please write to us using the Contact MWA form.

Here is an overview on Edgar Judging.

  1. The work must be published for the first time in the United States in 2024. Previously self-published works are ineligible, even if later (edited and) re-published by an approved publisher. Only a work with a copyright date of 2024 will be eligible for consideration in 2024 (with the following exception; see the note below). A self-published book (whether it is in print, in electronic format or offered for free on a blog or a website) that is republished by an Approved Publisher is a reprint, not a new work, and while it would qualify a writer for Active Status membership, it does not qualify for Edgar Award consideration.
  2. Foreign books may have an earlier copyright but the year of consideration must be the year of its first publication in the United States.
  3. Television episodes must have been shown for the first time in the United States in 2024.
  4. A work may be submitted to only one committee except in the case of the Robert L. Fish Award, the Mary Higgins Clark Award, the Lilian Jackson Braun Award, and the Sue Grafton Memorial Award.

Copyright date shall prevail over publication date in determining the year of eligibility. However, MWA recognizes that problems beyond the control of the author can cause a work with a copyright of one year to be published in the following year, thereby preventing submission of the work even in galley or page proof form to the Edgar® committee during the copyright year. In such cases, a work may be submitted to the committee in the year of publication provided the work was not submitted in any form to the committee during copyright year. To prevent confusion or rejection, the author must petition the General Awards Chair and the chair of the appropriate awards committee and send a statement from the publisher stating that the work was not available during the copyright year. No work can be submitted in both the copyright year and the publication year.


All works submitted for consideration must meet the following requirements. (At this time, self-published work is not eligible for Edgar Award consideration).

  • The work must be published by a publisher on MWA’s approved publisher list. (If a qualified publisher would like to request to be added to that list, they must contact the MWA national office to begin the vetting process. All requests must be approved by the national board before the final Edgars submission deadline for a work to be eligible.)
  • While the author does not need to be a member of MWA, the work itself must pay enough to make the author eligible for Active Status or count toward earning that status. (For details on Active Status eligibility see the Membership Guidelines.)
  • The author must have received payment from the publisher or its designated agent by the time of the submission deadline.

For example, to be eligible for submission, a short story must be published by an MWA-approved publisher and the author must have received at least $25 from that publisher in advance money or royalties before the story is submitted to MWA for award consideration.

Eligibility for Specific Categories

Best Novel Hardbound only. First novels by U.S. citizens are not eligible for this category and must be submitted under Best First Novel.

Best First Novel (that is also a mystery) by an American Author  Hardbound, paperback or e-book original. Only books by first-time novelists holding U.S. citizenship are eligible to be submitted for this award. This is the sole Edgar® Awards category that excludes those who are not American citizens. If an American author publishing his or her first mystery has previously published a novel of any type (except if it is self-published), even if using a different name at the time, then he or she is ineligible for the Best First Edgar. An American author failing the above test can still submit that novel for consideration to either the Best Novel or Best PBO/E-Book category. Similarly, while a non-American writer is ineligible for the Best First Edgar, he or she can still submit that novel in the Best Novel or Best PBO/E-Book category..

Best Paperback/E-Book Original  Paperback or E-Book first novels by U.S.-born authors are not eligible for this category and must be submitted under Best First Novel. Foreign authors may submit a paperback or e-book first novel in this category, however. (See above). E-Book publishers must be on MWA’s Approved E-Book publishers list.

Best Fact Crime Nonfiction only. Hardbound paperback or e-book. (Note: This category includes books about actual crimes as well as those detailing how to solve actual crimes.)

Best Critical/Biographical Hardbound, paperback or e-book. “Biographical” refers to biographies of mystery writers or other notable practitioners of the genre, not to criminals. Those books should be submitted to the Best Fact Crime committee.

Best Short Story  From magazines, periodicals, e-zines, or book-length anthologies, 1,000 to 22,000 words.  Stories under 1,000 words (mini- or flash fiction) do not qualify for this category.  Stories over 22,000 words should be submitted to Best Novel, Best First Novel, or Best Paperback Original/Ebook category.  This committee also selects the winner of the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award for the best published mystery short story by a previously unpublished American author.  When submitting a story for the Fish Award, please note this in the category section of the entry form.

Best Juvenile Mystery Hardbound or paperback. Fiction only. Preschool up to Grade 7: ages 5-12, but not including, Young Adult.

Best Young Adult Mystery Hardbound, paperback. Fiction only. Grades 8 – 12: ages 13 -18.

Best Television Series Episode Teleplay Submit a pdf  (no watermarks) of the final script of episodes that have actually aired.

The Penguin Random House – G.P. Putnam’s Son’s Sue Grafton Memorial Award The winner will be selected by a Special MWA Committee for the book that most closely fits the following: The book must be at least the second in a series; the main character has to feature a female protagonist that also has the hallmarks of Sue’s writing and Kinsey’s character: a woman with quirks but also with a sense of herself, with empathy but also with savvy, intelligence, and wit.

Recognizing that the original criteria were too restrictive to take in all of the strong female protagonists who are carrying on the legacy of Sue Grafton and Kinsey Milhone, MWA has opened the Sue Grafton Memorial Award to any book featuring a strong, independent woman who is a professional investigator.  Private eyes are eligible – but so are crime-beat journalists, attorneys, and law enforcement professionals.

The Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award The winner will be selected by a Special MWA Committee for the book most closely written in the Mary Higgins Clark tradition according to guidelines set forth by Mary Higgins Clark. Award is given by Simon & Schuster.

  • The protagonist is a nice young woman whose life is suddenly invaded.
  • She’s self-made and independent, with primarily good family relationships.
  • She has an interesting job.
  • She is not looking for trouble–she is doing exactly what she should be doing and something cuts across her bow.
  • She solves her problem by her own courage and intelligence.
  • The story has no on-scene violence
  • The story has no strong four-letter words or explicit sex scenes.

The Lilian Jackson Braun Award includes a $2000 prize awarded annually for the best full-length, contemporary cozy mystery as submitted to and selected by a special MWA committee. To be considered for the award, submissions must meet the following criteria (full list here):

  • The book must be a full-length (65K words or more) novel (hardcover, paperback original, or e-book original) first published by an MWA-approved publisher during the calendar year prior to the award being presented. Reprints are not eligible.
  • Honoring Braun’s legacy and work, the book must be a contemporary cozy mystery with a current-day setting and the story emphasis on solving a crime, usually a murder. Historical mysteries, even if cozy in tone, do not qualify. However, the book may contain some historical elements (flashbacks, journal entries, etc.) as long as the emphasis is on the contemporary investigation of the mystery.
  • The story is light in tone, often humorous. While the book may reference serious themes or subject matter, it does so in a non-heavy-handed manner.
  • The crime must be solved in a satisfactory manner by the end of the story.
  • Additional qualifying criteria are listed here.

Guidelines and Entry Forms