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.