Tuesday 14 July 2015

The Great Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, 75%

The Great Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, 75%


So, we're 75% of the way through phase 1 of the Great Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off and I've taken the opportunity to check in with our ten bloggers / teams to see how things stand. I wanted to see if everyone was happy that they were on course to pick their single champion for phase 2 by September 1st, or if not 'on course' still confident that they could meet that deadline. I offered to ask one or more of our reserve bloggers to help share the load if anyone was under too much pressure - real life happens, and 26 books is a lot.

The TL:DR is:  Everyone except Sarah of Bookworm Blues is fine, no help needed, they'll be done by September or before. Sarah is somewhat behind due to a health crisis and advancing pregnancy but hopes to catch up. If she needs help it's on offer.

To contrast the level of attention our 260 authors are getting in this exercise to what they might expect from a real agent ... I questioned such a beast. A successful one.

He typically spends 6 minutes with a manuscript and given a pile of 26 would expect to be mailing out 26 "no thank you's" within 5 hours.

He gets 30 submissions a week (cover letter, synopsis, first few chapters) and calls for around 6 full manuscripts a year. That's 0.4% of submissions leading to a full read. In those cases he will get back to the author within a week. Most of those guys he doesn't take onto his books.

That's how tough it is and that's how quickly he goes through the slush making decisions. The rest of his time is spent pitching the work of and dealing with the needs of his existing clients.

[Edit] My own agent, Ian Drury receives 50-60 submissions a week and if he were to focus on a pile of 26 submissions would expect to be finished with them in a day's work, many rejected very early on for poor prose, some few read to the end of the submitted three chapters. Most batches of 26 would not have elicit a single request for the whole manuscript. About 1 submission in 1000 lead to Ian signing a new writer up.

The specific state-of-the-nation breakdown runs thusly:

1. Sarah Chorn of Bookworm Blues

Has ten books read and reviewed and will have another five done by next Friday. Falling behind but hopes to catch up..

2. Steve Diamond &co at the twice Hugo nominated Elitist Book Reviews

Well on track with only 4 books left in the running.

3. Mark Aplin &co of the award winning Fantasy-Faction

Have selected their final 9 and assigned two readers to read each cover to cover.

4. Mihir Wanchoo of Fantasy Book Critic

Is down to his last 6 books and is sure he can complete by September.

5. Lynn Williams of Lynn's Books

Is definitely on track for a September finish. 15 books eliminated, 5 possibles, 5 left to read.

On track and confident. 

7. Bob Milne of Beauty in Ruins

10 left - plans to read 5 this month, five next.

8. Ria of Bibliotropic

Definitely on course - thinks she has her champion!

9. Tyson Mauermann of The Speculative Book Review

10. The guys at Fantasy Book Review

Are down to their last five books and consider that they have ample time to give each a full read and reach their decision before September.

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