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The Christy Award® | Program Rules

Submission Period for 2020 program is March 1-April 30, 2020

(Extended submission period provided in response to COVID-19).
Books entered must have publication date from March 2019 to March 2020






Article I - General Rules of Eligibility

1)  Submitting Companies

Any traditional* publisher, imprint, or division of a larger publishing house may enter as many titles in each category.  

Independently** published novels are admissible under the following conditions:

  • Author has previously published a novel by a traditional publisher; or
  • The submitted novel, or one previously independently published, has sold at least $2,000 at retail in one year. Sales must be proven by sending an online report of verifiable sales to

Traditionally published means author did not expend financial resources toward the publication.

** Independently published means author did expend financial resources (including publishing, printing  and distribution) in this process.

2)  Publication Date and Distribution

Books must be published for the first time from March 2019 through March 2020 or be re-published by a new publisher within same timeframe. (Note: novels that are published by a new publisher but were entered in The Christy Award™ program by a previous publisher are not eligible for entry again.)

3)  Language

Books must be published in English and distributed in the United States. Translations into English of works originally published in another language are eligible if a publisher first published them in English  from March 2019 through March 2020. 

4)  Book Formats

A full-length work of fiction, including a novella published as a freestanding entry, is eligible. Books may be bound volumes or may be digital-first or digital-only works (nonbound) with watermarked pdf submitted by publisher for program entry.

5)  Author History 

Submissions must be written by contemporary novelists, not classic writers of the past. Novels written by an author who has won four or more Christy Awards are not eligible for entry.

6)  Certification

An authorized representative of the publisher (or author of a qualified indie book) will certify that all information on the entry form is correct and complies with all rules.

7)  Category and Eligibility Review

The Christy Award™Advisory Board has final and binding responsibility for determining the eligibility and correct classification of all entries. If a title is determined to be ineligible, ECPA will notify the publisher (or indie author) accordingly.

If fewer than ten books are submitted in any one category, that category will not be considered viable for The Christy Award™ of that cycle.

8)  Content 

Entry content must be consistent with a Christian worldview and the historic Christian tradition reflected in the Apostle's Creed.


Article II - Categories

1)  General (includes Women’s Fiction and non-genre)

2)  Contemporary Romance

3)  Historical Romance

4)  Historical

5)  Mystery/ Suspense/ Thriller

6)  Visionary (includes fantasy and apocalyptic)

7)  Short-format (anything shorter than a full-length novel, including novellas and series)

8)  Young Adult

9)  First Novel

Category descriptions available here.

Article III - Entry Process

1)  Number of entries
Eligible submitting companies may enter as many titles in each category as it wishes.

2)  Entry fee
There is a $175 fee for each title submitted in each category. Online payment will be accepted. The entry fee is not refundable, even if novel is deemed ineligible.  (If a title is submitted to both a genre category and the First Novel category, the entry fee will be assessed for both.)

3)  Entry submission

  • Entry Forms are online here March 1-31, 2020.
  • Entry submission and payment is to be completed online in two separate steps. You will receive automatic confirmation upon completion. 
  • Online payment (or invoice with special arrangement) will be requested following processing of entry form.
  • Entry forms and payment must be received by ECPA no later than March 31, 2020.
  • One (1) copy of each novel entered must be mailed to the ECPA offices immediately upon completion of the entry process for arrival by March 31 at:
    ECPA / The Christy Award™
    5801 S McClintock Dr., Suite 104
    Tempe, AZ 85283
  • For digital-first or digital-only entries, a watermarked pdf must be emailed to the program manager ( for distribution to the judges.
  • Seven (7) copies of each entered title will be used for judging. Ingram/Spring Arbor, our program distributor, has agreed to drop ship copies of each entry to program judges.  They will pull these copies from their inventory and invoice you directly for these copies. You will not need to send copies to our distributor.  If you do not have an account with Spring Arbor, special arrangements will be made.

4)  Entry form

  • The Entry Form requires title, author, ISBN, and publication date (month and year).
  • Please do not abbreviate. The exact format in which the title and author is submitted will be the format used in all publicity regarding The Christy Award™ finalists and winners.
  • Finalist publishers will be asked to digitally submit their company logo and finalist book cover for promotion and recognition.  Additional book copies for the celebration will also be requested for each finalist.

Article IV - Judging Process

1)  Evaluation Criteria
Judges will be given a each novel in a particular category and asked to evaluate each title based on The Christy Award™ Novel Evaluation Form: Characterization | Point-of-View | Plot | Theme | Setting | Style Passion | Writing Quality | Genre | Orthodoxy

2)  Tabulation
A shortlist of three finalists in each category will be announced on September 23, 2020. A winner in each category will be announced on November 11, 2020.

3)  Judge Selection
Judges will be selected from recommendations from publishers and other interested parties. Judges will include book reviewers, industry leaders, librarians, professors and experienced readers of fiction.

4)  Judging Process
Each group of judges will score their group of submitted titles according to the category's evaluation criteria. The score for each title will be tallied and the top five (5) scorers in each of the six (6) sections will be named as finalists for that program category. The top scorer in each category will be announced as the winner for that category. The Christian Book of the Year™ will be awarded to the finalist with the top sales figures. 


The Christy Award™ 2020 Program Schedule:

  • March 1- April 30 -- Submission period
  • May through August --Judging process
  • September 23  -- Finalists announced
  • November 11 -- Winners announced at The Christy Award™ Celebration in Nashville

If you have any questions, please contact


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