Hereafter Joins Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off Competition
Hereafter Has Joined the Ranks of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off 2017 Entrants
Writer Mark Lawrence has, for three years, run the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off, a contest to bring attention to the number of high quality self-published fantasy books. As Lawrence noted in his introduction to the first SPFBO, the greatest challenge for self-published authors is discoverability. With so many books published daily/weekly/annually (through both “traditional publishing” and self-publishing) it’s incredibly hard for authors to get the word out about their books.
To that end, Mark created the SPFBO. Ten bloggers, most of whom don’t usually review self-published books, each agree to act as the judges. 300 books are accepted into the content and then randomly assigned to the ten bloggers (30 books each) to be reviewed.
Each blogger/judge selects ONE of their thirty assigned books to move forward to the semi-finals. Then, the ten bloggers review the 10 semi-finalists and select ONE winner of the prize, which is bragging rights.
The real prize of the SPFBO is the publicity for the 300 books selected. With ten high-profile blogger judges, numerous other bloggers who participate unofficially, and countless readers checking out the entrants, the SPFBO raises the profile for all entrants.
The contest has just kicked off, with the first round, which is cover judging, in progress. Three of the judges have already submitted their top three favorite book covers from their entrants. Meanwhile, other bloggers and readers are getting in on the action by posting their own cover picks, reading and posting reviews of many of the entries, and voting for their favorites on Goodreads.
This is my first year participating; I wasn’t sure what to expect when I entered. While the contest is open to all fantasy genres, it’s definitely epic fantasy heavy. Mark made a Worldle from the words used in the books’ titles and you can see there’s a lot of common themes (my husband joked that I should title my next book War of the Blood Dragons). Being different can be good, since it can make a book stand out. On the other hand, in publishing, being too different can be bad, because readers often tend to like books that fall in predicable patterns and tropes.
If you want to get in on the SPFBO action, here’s some things you can do. Feel free to do as few or as many as you want.
- Learn more about the SPFBO and see a list of entrants here
- Read all the SPFBO-related blog posts from the judges (index page/news feed of all related posts here)
- Keep track of what's happening/which books are advanced here
- Post about the SPFBO and help bring attention to it and the participating books (there are even banners you can use here)
- Add SPFBO entries to your summer reading list
- Follow the #SPFBO hashtag on Twitter
- Join the SPFBO Facebook group to follow all he action, chat with the authors and judgees, get in on side betting, and link up your blog posts.
- Write a blog post sharing your cover picks (most people post their top three favorites from each group, but you could put yourself in the judge’s seat and pick one from each group and then the one overall finalist
- Write a blog post sharing your top three book picks (based on description and/or a reading of the free samples on Amazon) from each group
- Vote for your top book picks on the SPFBO Goodreads list (found here)
- Read the SPFBO entries and post reviews of the books (you can add links to your reviews in the SPFBO Facebook group)