Wednesday 22 February 2017

How have the SPFBO finalist 2015 fared?

I thought I would have a look back at the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off finalists from 2015 and see how they were doing.

The table below shows how they did in the contest and how the public have judged them.

My conclusion is that in its first year the SPFBO certainly wasn't a king-maker. Whatever effect is has had has been swallowed by the larger currents such as how well the author promoted their work and how well it fitted the current market.

Some of the books our ten blogs judged to be top 5 out of the ~300 entries have sold (or given away) just a few hundred copies. This is by no means an indication of their quality. With insufficient marketing a brilliant book can fail to sell more than a few tens of copies, and then, with the right push can go on to sell many thousands. We've seen it happen in this year's SPFBO. So maybe try a few of these!

Note - the formula I use for sales estimate is pretty accurate for traditional published fantasy with >1000 ratings. It may be more variable here. I have rounded to the nearest 500.

Note - the fewer ratings on Goodreads (sales) a book has the easier it is to get a high average score.

Note - some of these books were published a number of years before the contest, giving them longer to sell.

Scores for the finalists: The Matrix!
Finalists (with average score)   Goodreads Average     Estimated Sales     Year of Publication  
The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids (8.00)3.9845002012
Bloodrush (7.75)3.8520002014
The Weight of a Crown (7.30)3.595002011
City of Burning Shadows (7.15)4.075002014
Sins of a Sovereignty (7.15)3.572502014
What Remains of Heroes (7.00)3.8230002015
Shattered Sands (6.70)3.782502015
Under a Colder Sun (6.60)3.2110002014
Priest (6.30)4.1525002010
A Soul for Trouble (6.25)3.7795002012


  1. I think A Soul for Trouble is in a good place, sales-wise, because it straddles fantasy and romance, and garners readers from both genres. On the downside, it increases the chance of lower ratings because some people just don't like their peas touching their carrots.