HULK SMASH: SPFBO 2016

/rant mode on

The Self Published Fantasy Blog Off is  competition involving self published fantasy authors (like me). 300 authors sent in their manuscripts. Ten bloggers will make a choice and put forward one (there can only ever be one) author to the next (and final round). In that round, all ten bloggers review the ten finalists and generate a cumulative score for each of them, which will be then used to determine the over all winner.

Got it so far? Good, because now I’m gonna tell you why it’s NOT A BLOODY BATTLE ROYALE KINDA THING!

Last week one of the bloggers reviewed  Phil Tucker’s book The Path of Flames, and let’s just say it was a great review – that’s an understatement, of course. If I got a review like that I’d be jumping up and down doing my crazy dance. Here’s a direct quote that’s the most awesomest and the basis for this  rant post:

“This book is in the wrong competition. The Path of Flames should be winning the David Gemmell Legend Award. It should also be on the best-seller lists, thumping many, many far inferior fantasy series.”

Now, there have been a few comments that go along the lines of ‘everyone else in this competition is green with envy.’ …  Well, I’ve been thinking about that and I say … I call bull when I see it. And saying any of the authors involved is green with envy is the Ultra Overlord of Bull from the Bull planet of Bulltopia. (They even worship it there as a local deity.)

You want green? I give you Hulk green.

#1 – why the SPFBO isn’t Battle Royale:

The comparison with the Gemmell Awards makes me so super happy for Phil Tucker, and while I haven’t read The Path of Flames (yet), I’m also super happy that Jared of Pornokitsch dared to write that. Yes, dared. Let’s just step back a moment.

The Gemmell Awards are voted on by the public, by the readers. (If you haven’t already, why not? Go vote here). As a reader myself, the David Gemmell Awards are a good gauge to find out what’s hot right now, where the fantasy genre is going, who the new writers are whose books I want to devour. It has real value for me as a reader, and I’m sure it has a measure of value for the nominees/winners (I mean, those awards are pretty nice looking. Heavy probably. But nice.)

What it’s NOT: a mud flinging contest between the authors.

No one dies, though there’s an axe.

And only those people with big, fat egos are probably going to get hurt.

However, if you are an author, the likelihood that you have a big, fat ego is very small, regardless of whether you’re traditionally published or self published. Rejection is part of the business.

The SPFBO is similarly NOT a contest carried out between the authors.

It too can become a gauge for the industry. It too brings good things to the table. For readers: finding their next favourite author, perhaps. And for us authors?

Publicity, duh.

But beyond that: it has already helped a few of us involved to reach out to each other, following each other, networking with each other. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve done it myself.

No one is green with envy, because there is nothing to be envious about.

Why?

#2 – why the SPFBO isn’t Battle Royale:

Yes, there will be a finalist, a winner. One in 300 authors will be able to say of themself: I won the SPFBO 2016. But … This contest is about much more than just being the winner. It’s the first of it’s kind for only self published authors.

Maybe it will become the David Gemmell Awards for Self Published Authors in time. Maybe.

I hope so.

Because that is something we, all self published authors, need. Because frankly, the stigma of self publishing is still so deeply ingrained that many book bloggers don’t even accept self published books to review.

That means no reviews. That means no outreach. That means no publicity. That means, no one gives a feckin’ damn about your book because no one feckin’ knows it exists. Let alone that it’s feckin’ good.

(Checking whether I switched rant mode on? Yes. I did. Good. You were warned.)

A reviewer comparing Tucker’s book to the nominees of the Gemmell Awards is the feckin’ best thing that could happen to us. All of us.

(Tweet that. 135 characters)

Because, of course we indies can write. We can write just as good (or bad) as some of the best/most successful fantasy authors out there.

But how would anyone know?

This contest is a win-win for everyone, not just the finalists, not just “the winner.”

And if you think that we were an envious bunch … there was that one guy, dressed in green, envious of his brother. Know what happened to him?

You know.

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