J. Zachary Pike's

Blog of the Strange and Fantastic

Fiction, Gaming & Writing

Indie Publishing


Let’s talk about the Self-Publishing Fantasy Blog Off.

For the fourth time in as many years, Fantasy mastermind-at-large Mark Lawrence is running his annual battle royale for indie speculative fiction. Three hundred (300!) authors throw their hats (books) into the ring (internet), and ten blogs review them. Ten finalists are chosen and scored by all ten blogs. Then one winner emerges, to relative fame, fortune, and accolade. (Hopefully. It’s worked out well for previous winners.)

This year, based on encouragement from a couple of cool folks, I entered Orconomics into the fray. And I’m more than a little terrified. Some of the other books out there look amazing.

What makes the competition so fantastic, and also so stressful, is that it’s so public. The same week that I entered the SPFBO4, I also entered another self-publishing contest. Which one? You don’t know, and if I lose you never will. I like my failures to be private. Which is why I’ve never entered the blog off before.

The SPFBO doesn’t give me the luxury of secrecy. If I’m knocked out in round one, it’s public. People will comment, inadvertently (or deliberately) salting my fragile ego’s wounds. I’ve seen a couple of readers say that they’d be shocked if that happened. I appreciate the sentiment, but I wouldn’t be surprised. My competition is seriously fierce.

Then again, the sense of solidarity in this contest is different as well. There’s a lot of friendly camaraderie and general reminders that this whole shebang is really about connecting with readers and other authors. You don’t get that in the private, mail-away contests (obviously).

I admit that networking doesn’t come naturally to me; I’m most at home in my basement making up stories about Dwarves and Trolls. I think I needed a contest like this to remind me what an amazing community I am technically a part of, and hopefully get me to be a more active and friendly part of it.

So yeah. I’m nervous, and excited, and really happy that someone finally kicked me off my keister and into the melee. Good luck to all of the other authors out there. It’s going to be a wild ride.

9 thoughts on “SPFBO4”

  1. Christine says:

    I hope you do well, mostly because it will give you a confidence boost which means more productivity which means more lovely J Zachary Pike literature for us!!! We win if you win!

  2. Ethan says:

    I think you will do great. The world of Arth is full bodied and intriguing, your characters are relatable and inspiring, and your books are the first fantasy humor novels to make me laugh since Terry Pratchet’s Disc World. I can’t wait for more of Arth and your books.

  3. Aleisha says:

    Best of luck to you! I’m very confident your book will go far for a lot of reasons and I know that it can be very difficult putting yourself out there and that takes a lot of courage so in a way you’ve already won, though the intangible prize probably isn’t what you’re looking for.

  4. chemistken says:

    I hope your book does well. It certainly has everything it needs to be a contender, but you never know what criteria people will use to judge a book by, so it’s a crap shoot.

  5. Dominic Peralta says:

    Of the hundreds of books that I have read, YES I HAVE!….. I still find myself looking for Gorm and Co at least twice a year. That said I do still pick up my very abused copy of Dune every three to five years. Our world may reflect that of Arth but I really like the way Gorm deals with his issues. Let the red haze come yippie.
    Sgt D Peralta USMC

  6. Carlos says:

    FYI – Your entry into SFBO was recently reviewed


    Ill be looking closely at any books rated higher than yours in his group of 5. Orconomics (audiobook) is one of the few titles that I’ve given a 5 star rating to, and ive enjoyed all of the previous sfbo finalists entries ive read.

    1. Thanks for the note and the kind words! SPFBO is pretty nerve-wracking, honestly. I try (and fail) not to follow my group too closely.

      1. David Lurie says:

        Well, I note that yours was indeed the book sent to the next round! Even if it doesn’t go any further, that’s a big deal, right?

        1. I like to think so, yes. 😀

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