Friday 17 April 2015

The Great Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, 25%


So, we're 25% 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 is fine, no help needed, they'll be done by September or before.

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.

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

1. Sarah Chorn of Bookworm Blues

Has five books read and reviewed and will have another five done by next Friday. On course to be finished well before September.

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

Well on track with decisions made on 11 books of the 26. Various overview blogs in the pipeline.

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

Has been occupied with organising the Grim Gathering but that's now behind him. Feels confident he can pick a winner in the remaining months.

4. Mihir Wanchoo of Fantasy Book Critic

Is done with his first four books (results this weekend) and is sure he can complete by September.

5. Lynn Williams of Lynn's Books

HIs definitely on track for a September finish. Has done one review and five mini-reviews, plans 4-6 more by the end of the month. Has eliminated six books.

Has read 2 books and reviewed 1. Has had to give a lot of time to other commitments but feels there's enough spare time on the horizon to catch up. 

7. Bob Milne of Beauty in Ruins

Plans a post on his first batch of five next week.

8. Ria of Bibliotropic

Two books read cover-to-cover, one reviewed, one due for review. Three books eliminated on partial reads. Plans to adopt a harsher approach to get up to speed.

9. Tyson Mauermann of The Speculative Book Review

Is currently on his 11th book and is likely to post an update this weekend regarding books six to ten. He is on schedule to finish early.

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.



  1. Thanks for updating like this, I was dying to know but didn't want to be THAT person.

  2. I appreciate the update. I must admit that I've been watching Lynn's blog with baited breath to see where I stand, and thus far... Remain with baited breath. Again, thank you for putting all of this together, Mark. It really is something that I never expected to enter into, but now that I have, has me excited. Not just for me, but for the other authors as well. So again, thank you to you and the other bloggers involved.