Saturday 27 February 2016

The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off results!

We have a winner!

The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off started a year ago and thanks to the sterling efforts of ten great bloggers we have a winner.

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

* = favourite finalist

Results summarized

Mike McClung's novel The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids is our champion. There's no prize save a review from each blogger, but our bloggers proved so generous that all of the finalists have at least 6 reviews.

It's worth noting that although TTWPOTB got the highest average rating and the highest individual rating (9), and was the favorite book of one blogger, second place Bloodrush also got a 9 and was the favourite book of 4 bloggers!

In fact half the books were the favourite reads of at least one blogger.

The most divisive books appears to have been Sins of a Sovereignty and What Remains of Heroes, both of which were the favourite reads of 2 bloggers, scoring 8.5s and a 9, and yet ranking joint 4th and 6th respectively. So even books quite far down this list made very favourable impressions on some of our bloggers and may well rock your world!

What next?

The first thing to say is: How about you read some of these yourself? The whole exercise was to shine a light on good self-published fantasy. Light shone! Many of these books are free or very inexpensive, and all of them would seem to be good value even if they were priced more in line with the traditionally published market.

If you like what you read, then talk about the book/s, review them, give them a chance to reach a bigger audience.

The second thing is the SPFBO 2016!

What's it all say about self-published books?

Well that's a big unknown, but I'm sure there will be some blog posts about it and I will link them here.

Clearly the standard among the finalists was pretty high. Even our most critical blog site (Elitist Book Reviews) gave out a 7 and 8. Our winner, Mike, now has a publishing deal with Ragnarok, not that traditional publishing is the end goal of every self-publisher.

I read our second placed finalist, Bloodrush, and reviewed it. There's no question that there are books among these 10 finalists that are better than some of the traditionally published books I've read over the past few years. I hope to read our winner too this year.

Whether we've uncovered the hoped-for gem that will take off into mega-success, time will tell. Or perhaps if there's a SPFBO2 our Hugh Howey / Anthony Ryan / Martin Weir / Michael Sullivan is waiting in the next 300 books...

In the end it remains only for me to say that although I get a lot of thanks for the SPFBO the truth is that I've done very little. The vast bulk of the time and effort put in has been by the ten blog sites, many of them individuals, some teams, who have done a brilliant job, reading a great number of books, despite the sometimes stormy seas of their own lives, and providing close on a hundred reviews of self-published fantasy books over the course of the year.

Many thanks!


  1. It's been a great experience following this blog-off, and checking out these books. In particular, I enjoyed What remains of heroes, and will be reading the next installments in that series, so I personally got a lot out of this.

    Now, I'm very interested to hear what the authors all have to say about their experience.

  2. Huge congratulations to the winner!

    What an amazing experience it's been for so many of us. I'd love to see another one, as soon as possible!

  3. As an indie author who published at the tail end of 2015 I'd obviously love to see this come around again. It's been intriguing to follow. Having met Ben at FantasyCon I have now read Bloodrush and can see why it scored so highly. The bloggers, reviewers, and yourself Mark, deserve a huge thank you for participating and organising.

  4. Currently, the TWPOTB and The Weight of a Crown are free on Amazon US...

  5. A huge congrats to Michael, and to everyone else involved. The last year has been quite an experience, but I think we've demonstrated that there are indeed some self-published titles out there that can stand tall against anything published by the big guys.

  6. Congrats to the winner, Michael and to everyone who made this such an interesting contest.
    BTW I think you mean Andy Weir not Martin Weir - that's what happens without this level of publicity!

  7. Thanks once again for being such a gracious host! The #SPFBO is something special, and I hope you have the fortitude to host it again! If you do, I would be happy to help out in any way that would be, uh, helpful :)

  8. Thank you so much for making this happen, Mark! It's been amazing. Not just the publicity, but finding other great authors and the bloggers and the communities has been awesome.

  9. Mark, this has been one of the best experiences that I've been fortunate to have. For a non-native english speaker to have come this far, and share the stage with such talented writers, is truly a privilege. Plus, it was an excellen opportunity for me to get a substantial amount of feedback, only possible through the exposure brought on my the contest, which I will make use of in order to further polish Shattered Sands. And of course, some heartfelt congratulations to the worthy winner! :)

  10. I would say do the next one asap, but that might overwork the reviewers ;)

  11. I hope we'll see another blog off soonish.

  12. Good job, reviewers and authors alike.

  13. Thanks for introducing me to the writing of Michael McClung and Tavish Kaeden - I've bought all the books of both writers that I could lay my hands on. There are so many fantasy books out there that it's difficult to find books you enjoy. I abandon more than I persevere with, but these two writers hit the spot :-)

  14. What a fantastic event! I've downloaded the two that caught my attention, including the winner.

  15. towing services in india
    Sahayata Global Assistance is India's Fastest Growing & Innovation driven roadside assistance company which ensures on time help by a professional mechanic in case of a vehicle breakdown.

  16. Recently I'm going to publish my 5th book in This is a link. A well-established publishing house offered me a contract to publish my house. They'll publish and sell my book and give me a specific amount of royalties.