Saturday, 16 June 2018

SPFBO 2018 - A call to authors.

This is the call for authors wanting to enter books for the fourth Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off.

The contest will be open for entries until August 1st or when 300 titles have been entered, whichever comes first.

If 250+ titles are not gathered by August 1st the contest will be deferred for a year. I have no idea if there is a limit to how many years we can gather 250+ new self-published fantasy book 1s.

Please spread the word on whatever forums/groups you are on. We will only proceed if we get to 250 entries.

So far we have:

254 entries
The contest is OPEN
I am starting to list the entries at the end of this post.

The rules are:

i) No book that was entered in a previous SPFBO can be reentered into SPFBO4.
ii) The book must be #1 in a series or a stand-alone.
iii) The book must actually be self-published by the start date, not something you're considering self-publishing in future.
iv) It must be a fantasy book. (If you say it's fantasy then it is. But if it isn't really it won't get far.)
v) Multiple books can be accepted from the same author, subject to rule (ii).
vi) No anthologies.
vii) No short stories.
viii) No updates after submission - that just makes things too complicated.

Not a rule, an observation: It doesn't matter how long your book has been published, Ten years? Fine.

Not a rule, a guideline: The blogger you are assigned to shouldn't know you or have already reviewed you. If you are assigned to a blogger you "know" (have met, chatted to online etc) let me know.

The bloggers who will consider the entries, and the duties they have volunteered for are given HERE.

The winner will receive the prestigious Selfie Award but the true prize is the publicity of being the winner, plus the bonus of being reviewed on the blogs of 10 highly respected fantasy bloggers.

Frankly you can't buy better publicity than that. The winning book will have been selected as the best from a field of 250+ self-published works.

All you have to do is email me the electronic manuscript ready for kindle/PC reading or (if one exists) the link to the FREE version on Amazon. You're welcome to include a cover letter, blurb, synopsis etc as you would for an agent - but it's not compulsory. These guys are bloggers, they're used to making up their mind by starting to read and seeing if they feel any compulsion to continue.

Email me at with the SUBJECT: Book Contest

Try to avoid massive cover files. Resolutions in the 100s x 100s rather than 
1000s x 1000s.

You may find other interesting links by Googling SPFBO or searching for the hash tag on twitter & join us on Facebook too!

Entries so far.
List as of 8pm GMT 17th of June. If you should be on it and are not ... let me know!

Brian D. Anderson - The Vale
Watson Davis - The Shepherd Girl's Necklace
Cameron Smith - The Holtur Curse
Megan Mackie - The Finder of the Lucky Devil
Watson Davis - The Snow Tiger's Trail
Devin Madson - We Ride the Storm
William Ray - The Great Restoration
Benedict Patrick - Those Brave, Foolish Souls from the City of Swords
Craig Aird - Truth or Darkness
Mitchell Edward Bell - The Kingdom of Thieves
Gwendolyn Pendraig - Dancing in the Dust
Rosalyn Kelly - Melokai
Brian O'Sullivan - Liath Luachra: The Swallowed
Carol A. Park - Banebringer
David Oliver - The Great Hearts
M.M Perry - Enchanted Legacy
Nicholas Kotar - The Song of the Sirin
Mike Shel - Aching God
Kayliegh Nicole - Sorcerous Rivalry
Justan Henner - Death's Merchant
Travis M. Riddle - Balam, Spring
Travis M. Riddle - Wondrous
Russell Cullison - The Hidden Ones
Richard Nell - Kings of Paradise
Jeramy Goble - Coven Queen
Richard Gallipeau - A Host of Ills
Steven Boivie - The Pendant Path
Vivian Lane - Never Trust a Vampire
J.A Andrews - A Keeper's Tale
Kieth McArdle - Fallen Empire
Andy Peloquin - Darkblade Assassin
Scott Kaelen - The Blighted City
Steve McKinnon - Symphony of the Wind
L.L McNeil - Moroda
Kay Ling - Wards and Wonders
Steve Rodgers - City of Shards
Jesse Teller - Song
C.J Erick - A Season of Pure Light
Craig A. Price Jr - Dragonia: Rise of the Wyverns
M.L Spencer - Darkmage
A.Z Anthony - Servant of Rage
J.C Kang - Songs of Insurrection
Eric Kent Edstrom - Thief of Sparks
Cristelle Comby - Hostile Takeover
Aaron Hodges - Oathbreaker
Tim Doyle - Faces in the Mist
Lee French - The Fallen
L.S Johnson - Harkworth Hall
J. Elizabeth Vincent - Raven Thrall
T.L Branson - Soul Render
Ashley Capes - The Red Hourglass
Gaja J. Kos & Boris Kos - Forged in Flames
Frank Gross - Wolfgang
Matthew Olney - The First Fear
T. Cook - Spinning Silk
Michael Baker - The Thousand Scars
Marianne Ratcliffe - Realm of Mindweavers
Thaddeus White - Sir Edric's Kingdom
Keith Ward - The Annointed
Richard Lucas - The Crushed Peak
J.A Alexsoo - The Knight's Order
Sarah Wilson - Dragon School
Matthew Ward - Spectre of the Spheres
Dorothy Dreyer - Phoenix Descending
T.J Muir - On Borrowed Luck
Raymond St Elmo - Quest of the Five Clans
G.D Talbot - The First Warrior's Code
Raymond St Elmo - Letters from a Shipwreck in the Sea of Suns and Moons
Ryan Mueller - Sunweaver
Sandell Wall - The Tenth Reaver
Alan Brenik - Rogue Arcanist
Jeffery L. Kohanek - A Warden's Purpose
Alex Marks - City of Crows
J.D Hart - The Chronicles of Nartesis Shazarack
Jonathan J. Bowerman - The Secret Realms of the Hidden Elves
David Macpherson - Here be Dragons
Dominic Watson - The Boy Who Walked Too Far
Amy McNulty - Fangs & Fins
Philip Tucker - Death March
Nerine Dorman - The Firebird
Janelle Garrett - Rift in the Deep
Kristen M. Corby - Daughter of Atlas
Phil Parker - The Bastard from Fairyland
K.D Wloch - Paragon
Christopher Percy - Dark of Winter
David Joel Stevenson - Victor Boone Will Save Us
Jacob Sannox - Dark Oak
Melika Dannese Lux - Deadmarsh Fay
Tim Marquitz - An Empire of Tears
Craig Schaefer - Sworn to the Night
Alex Lidell - Air and Ash
D.P Woolliscroft - Kingshold
Rene Sears - Strangehold
Viel Nast - Savage SwordsPhil Williams - Under Ordshaw
A.M Justice - A Wizard's Forge
Mike Sliter - Solace Lost
Kent Corlain - Heart of the DestroyerMarcy Kennedy - Cursed Wishes
Suzanne Rogerson - The Lost Sentinel
Steve Thomas - The Sangrook Saga
Ty Arthur - Light Dawning
Frost Kay - Rebel's Blade
Megan Hurst - When the Kingdom Falls
Heide Goody & Iain Grant - A Spell in the Country
Alice Sabo - High Barrens
Sandy Frediani - The Binding
R. Medhurst - Magically Bound
Matt Larkin - Apples of Idunn
C.C Aune - The Ill-Kept Oath
Randal Doering - The Necromancer of Peach Valley Orchard
E.D.E Bell - Diamondsong
E.D.E Bell - The Banished Craft
Kevin Wright - Lords of Asylum
Casey White - Chosen
Edward M. Erdelac - Merkabah Rider
Matthew Thompson - Hunters of Life and all that Matters
Lorri Moulton - Magic's Betrayal
David Mullin - The Tempest Guild
Patrick LeClerc - Out of Nowhere
Aaron Cross - Robocopter Ski Patrol
Kal S. Davian - Casting Rights
S.K Randolph - Dimensioner's Revenge
Nick Smith - The Carnival of the Night
Richard Fierce - Dragon Sphere
Angie Grigaliunas - Sowing
Dean Rencraft - Voices
Chris Weston - Fragile Nights
Jordan C. Robinson - The Last Whisperer
Jeffrey Collyer - Dreams and Shadows
Philip Dickens - From the Hill of Meggido
Domino Finn - Reboot
Aldrea Alien - In Pain and Blood
Lehua Parker - One Boy, No Water
Mitchell Hogan - Revenant Winds
Dee Dickens - I Woke Up Early
Lorri Moulton - Moonlight, Roses & Murder
Jonathan Green - Scrooge and Marley (Deceased)
Steven Smith - Dragon's Reclaim
O.L Eggert - Vincent, Survivor
Dean Rencraft - Mabus
Anthony Mitchell - The Ember Child
Reece Dinn - The Exile's Redemption
Jeff Russell - The Lost Temple of Ssis'sythyss
Ben Myatt - Clockworld
Andrew Einspruch - The Purple Haze
Donna Maree Hanson - Argenterra
Saffron Bryant - Shadow of a Slave
Andrea Domanski - Crossfire
Douglas Todd - How to go to Hell in 10,000 Easy Steps
D.P Prior - Sorcerers' Isle
Andrew Lynch - Sanctuary's Fiend
J.R Rasmussen - Forsaken Kingdom
Hannah Sullivan - Thunder
Anaya MacLeod - In the Moon's Shadow
Chad Ballard - Sentinel
Valery Keith - The Necromancer Princess
A. Woodley - Witch Spelling
Melanie Cellier - A Dance of Silver and Shadow
Miranda Honfleur - Blade & Rose
Michael Awadalla - Reign of the Walrus Witch
Fiona Tarr - The Jericho Prophecy
Tyler Kalarchian - Rucaern Orb
Christina Ochs - Shield of Kings
D.P Prior - Carnifex: A Portent of Blood
Janeal Falor - Mother of the Chosen
T. Norman - Ascent Archives
Jenn Gott - The Private Life of Jane Maxwell
Rhiannon Held - Hound and Key
Rhiannon Held - Mirror Bound
William C. Tracy - The Seeds of Dissolution
Sherry Perkins - At the end of the Rainbow
Roh Morgon - Watcher
Samuel Gately - The Fire Eye Refugee
Peter Fugazzotto - The Rise of the Fallen 
Anthony Jones - The Sword of Goliath
Emerald Dodge - Battlecry
Megan Crewe - Ruthless Magic
Ross Kingston - Awakening
Darran M. Handshaw - The Engineer
Ryan Hague & Ivy Smoak - Be Careful What You Joust For
Nathan Van Hoff - Boy of Dreams
Bryce O'Connor - Child of the Daystar 
William Cope - No Sympathies
D.H Dunn - Under Everest
Skyler Grant - Glitch Hunter
Lauren Kuzimski - Second Nature
C.D Gallant-King - Hell Comes to Hog Town
Jason A. Holt - The Bladesman of Darcliff
Ingrid Seymour - Godmaker
A.K.R Scott - Inharmonic
Karen Peradon - The King's Voice
J.A Devenport - By Raven's Call
A.J VanOrden - To Walk a Road of Ruin
Nathaniel Rane - He Who Fights
Aidan R. Walsh - The Game Bird
James Pyle - Minding the Heavens
Bryan Schuder - Ain't a Hero
Kevin Potter - Rise of the Overlord
S.J Hirons - Scenes from 'The War on Magic'
David Gowey - Kaschar's Quarter
Kian Najmechi - The Dragon's Heir
Donna Maree Hanson - Dragon Wine
Alexander Grant - The Lion Prophecy
Caldon Mull - The Memoirs of a Faun
Caldon Mull - Omnipresent Occulation
Caldon Mull - Mirrored Myrrh
John Magna - Rogue Hunters
Marilyn Peake - Blood and Ashes
Marilyn Peake - Whiskey and Dragon Fire
Jeffrey Hall - City of a Thousand Faces
Nazri Noor - Shadow Magic
Gabriel Michaelson - Hunter
Adam Watson - Dawn of Darkness
Olivia Rising - Gift of Light
James Wisher - The Impossible Wizard
Ivana L. Truglio - Rilla 
Elisabeth Hamill - Nectar and Ambrosia
J.L Metcalf - The Last Daughter of Lilith
K.S Mulholland - Escape
Coleman Alexander - Between the Shade and the Shadow
Adam Thielen - Integral
Jennifer Ellision - Threats of Sky and Sea
Jennifer Ellision - Over Raging Tides
William Markham - Missing
Michael R.E. Adams - Recumon
E.M. Wooden - Dominus Silentia
Coleman Grey - Seeking Shiloh
Debbie Taylor - Nia Rae
Dale Ivan Smith - Agent
Derek Hampton - The Soul Prison
E.A. Burnett - Silverglen
Sheryl R. Hayes - Chaos Wolf
Brenda Pandos - Everblue
Meg Cowley - The Tainted Crown
Barbara Snow - The Crystalline Vision
C. Gold - The Summoner and the Seer
K.L Young - Cardboard Castles
Stephan Morse - Continue Online
Sean Cunningham - Ghost Electricity
L.F. Oake - The Lost Voice
Jamie Thornton - Doormaker
Matthew Thompson - Twin Spirit
Dale Harker - The Gods of Winter
Daniel Adorno - The Blade Heir
T.J Brown - The Unhappy Medium
Sharon Joss - Brothers of the Fang
Nicole MacDonald - The Arrival
Erik Bundy - Magic and Murder Among the Dwarves
J.C. Boyd & Joshua Robertson - Blood and Bile
Shakyra Dunn - The Final Lesson
Gareth Lewis - Glyphpunk 
Matt Larkin - Days of Endless Night
Jennifer M. Eaton - Dragon Mount
James Alderdice - Brutal  (254)

SPFBO 4 - blogger line up!

So, if we are able to get 250+ entries for a fourth cycle of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off #SPFBO then these are the blogs that will tackle the horde.

Friday, 15 June 2018

When worrying pays off.

Although I work hard at not showing it, I am a worrier. 

Always have been.

I'm a hypochondriac. Fortunately not the annoying kind that regales all and sundry with my fake aliments. No, I just worry about my imaginary symptoms, silently torturing myself with the logical consequences and my inevitable unpleasant demise, until the next fake symptom shows itself and I switch my allegiance to another imagined doom.

I worry I'm on the wrong train with increasingly disastrous consequences, or that any one of a number of minor disputes is going to spiral out of control into epic proportions. And these are not idly sketched worries - I worry in full technicolor, I have plots and characters. I have death scenes, emotional goodbyes, unexpected alien landings.

I have always hated phone calls. It's likely some form of extension of my general social anxiety, but honed into some special aversion for voice-only communication.

As a teenager I got into the habit of imagining and rehearsing the opening lines of any upcoming call in order to delay the inevitable awkward silence. These anticipated dialogues extended far beyond any possibility that my prediction of the conversation would reach.

I expect you've already seen where this is all going.

Worrying is, at least for me, a shorter way of saying "being tormented by an overactive imagination". My worrying has been a training ground for writing. It's given me somewhere to practice dialogue, arguments, storytelling etc.

When I write it's almost as if I am "worrying the page" instead of myself. Writers often say that they are driven to write. I get that. If you have a hosepipe that won't turn off, then turn it outwards and water the lawn rather than trying to drink it all or shoving it down your trousers.

Storytelling is an outlet for energies that can otherwise turn destructive. 

We have a puppy. If I take her for a run in the park she will loll about for the rest of the day, relaxed and sleeping. If she doesn't get to run that energy out of her legs she'll find a shoe or a pair of glasses or my headphones and chew them up. Same thing.

So, yes. Worrying isn't a good thing, but it's something that I'm willing to bet many writers are world class at. And it's a great training ground!


Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Official Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off page #SPFBO

I'm bringing together the somewhat scattered SPFBO information onto this page.

When a call for contestants is opened I will link it here. Currently the doors are open.

Mission statement: 
The SPFBO exists to shine a light on self-published fantasy. It exists to find excellent books that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. It exists to help readers select, from the enormous range of options, books that have a better chance of entertaining them than a random choice, thereby increasing reader faith in finding a quality self-published read.

It is not:
i) Perfect. Great books will slip through this net just like they do every other net.
ii) Aimed at getting traditional publications deals. Some authors opt for them but it would be an insult to suggest that the holy grail for self published authors is a deal with a big publisher.
iii) Charged for. This is totally free. The enormous effort given by the reviewers/blogs is a gift. Don't abuse it. #NoDrama

The rules are:

i) No book that was entered in a previous SPFBO can be reentered.
ii) The book must be #1 in a series or a stand-alone.
iii) The book must actually be self-published by the start date, not something you're considering self-publishing in future.
iv) It must be a fantasy book. (If you say it's fantasy then it is. But if it isn't really it won't get far.)
v) Multiple books can be accepted from the same author, subject to rule (ii).
vi) No anthologies.
vii) No short stories.

Not a rule, an observation: It doesn't matter how long your book has been published, Ten years? Fine.

The winner will receive the prestigious Selfie Stick Award but the true prize is the publicity of being the winner, plus the bonus of being reviewed on the blogs of 10 highly respected fantasy bloggers.

Frankly you can't buy better publicity than that. The winning book will have been selected as the best from a field of 250+ self-published works.

My blog pages associated with last year's SPFBO got 70,000 views during the contest and well over a hundred reviews were posted on the ten blogs!

We have an SPFBO (Spifbo) group on Facebook. And on Twitter the #SPFBO hashtag is a good way to keep updated.

The contest progresses as follows:

In phase 1 which takes 5 months:

1. Put on their agent's hat and go through the slush pile of novels allocated to them (between 25 and 30 books) to find the one title they will put through to the final.

This does not mean they have to read all the books. My own agent would go through that number in a day. But hopefully they will read part of all of them and all of some.

2. Review that chosen title.

3. Select their 3 favourite covers for the cover art contest in which they will later vote.

It is hoped that they will also review some of their favorite books from the selection they were given.

In phase 2 which takes 5 months:

1. Read and score all 9 finalists from the other blogs.

2. Review their favorite.

3. Review the winner.

If their own finalist turns out to remain their favourite and to win, then they have no reviews to write in phase 2!

It is hoped they will feel moved to review some of the other finalists too,

The champions so far:

2017                                                2016                                          2015
Where Loyalties Lie (Best Laid Plans Book 1) by [Hayes, Rob J.]The Grey Bastards (The Lot Lands) by [French, Jonathan]The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids (Amra Thetys Series Book 1) by [McClung, Michael]

The finalists by year:

867 books considered so far!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

SPFBO 3, we have a winner!

Three cheers for our winner, Where Loyalties Lie, by Rob J. Hayes!

I advise you buy the book immediately and try the other finalists too.

Huge thanks to all ten blogs and the many reviewers who put in so much time, read so many books, and generated hundreds of reviews.

See the results of our cover contest here.

300 contestants were narrowed to 10 finalists.

The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off finalists were scored and reviewed as indicated on the table below.

The process of selection is documented here.

The reviews, the books, and the blogs are all linked on this table. (click scores to get reviews)

* = Blogger chose this finalist
*= Blogger's top book.

Finalists from three years of SPFBO
(red = 2015, black =2016, yellow=2017):

Blood Rush 7.75
Paternus 7.30
Fionn 7.20
Larcout 6.70
Priest 6.30
Outpost 5.95
Tiger Lily 5.45

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