Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off

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The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) is an annual literary contest intended to bring greater visibility to self-published English-language fantasy authors.

The SPFBO has been operated since 2015 by the author Mark Lawrence. He distributes about 300 novels submitted by the authors to ten fantasy bloggers to review. Each blogger selects a finalist, which is then reviewed by all ten bloggers. The winner is the finalist with the highest average review score.

The contest has been credited with making high-quality self-published novels discoverable in a mass of mediocre works, and with boosting the careers of the winners.[1][2] It helped Jonathan French, the 2016 winner, obtain a commercial publisher.[3]


Year Winner Title Score out of 10 Notes
2015 Mike McClung[4] The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids 8.00
2016 Jonathan French[5] The Grey Bastards 8.65 Commercially published by Crown in 2018, ISBN 9780525572442
2017 Rob J. Hayes[6] Where Loyalties Lie 8.10


  1. ^ Cropley, Matthew (23 November 2017). "The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off and the Evolution of Publishing". Grimdark Magazine. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  2. ^ Hughes, Laura M. "Self-Published Fantasy: How the SPFBO is Revitalising SFF". Fantasy Faction. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  3. ^ Holman, Curt. "Metro Atlanta fantasy author rides giant boars to mainstream book deal". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  4. ^ Lawrence, Mark (27 February 2016). "The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off results!". Mark Lawrence. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  5. ^ Lawrence, Mark (27 April 2017). "The SPFBO final results". Mark Lawrence. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  6. ^ Lawrence, Mark (13 June 2018). "SPFBO 3, we have a winner!". Mark Lawrence. Retrieved 13 June 2018.