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.[1][2]

The contest has been credited with making high-quality self-published novels discoverable, and with boosting the careers of the winners.[3][4] Though not the primary purpose, it has helped several authors find publishing contracts.[1] These include Jonathan French, the 2016 winner, and Josiah Bancroft, whose book Senlin Ascends, despite losing out before the final stage of the same competition, was reviewed so positively that it gained widespread attention in the fantasy community.[5]

Winners[edit]

Year Winner Title Score out of 10 Notes
2015 Mike McClung[6] The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids 8.00
2016 Jonathan French[7] The Grey Bastards 8.65 Commercially published by Crown in 2018, ISBN 9780525572442
2017 Rob J. Hayes[8] Where Loyalties Lie 8.10
2018 J. Zachary Pike [9] Orconomics 8.65
2019 M.L. Wang [10] The Sword of Kaigen 8.65
2020 Justin Lee Anderson [11] The Lost War 8.35 Commercially published by Orbit in 2023, ISBN 9780356519531
2021 J. D. Evans [12] Reign & Ruin 7.70

Finalists[edit]

SPFBO 1 (2015)[edit]

# Title Author Score out of 10
1 The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids Michael McClung 8.00
2 Blood Rush Ben Galley 7.75
3 The Weight of a Crown Tavish Kaeden 7.30
4 City of Burning Shadows Barbara J. Webb 7.15
Sins of a Sovereignty Plague Jack (Simon Watts)
6 What Remains of Heroes David Benem 7.00
7 Shattered Sands W.G. Saraband 6.70
8 Under a Colder Sun Greg James 6.60
9 Priest Matthew Colville 6.30
10 A Soul for Trouble Crista McHugh 6.25

SPFBO 2 (2016)[edit]

# Title Author Score out of 10
1 The Grey Bastards Jonathan French 8.65
2 Path of Flames Phil Tucker 7.70
3 Paternus Dyrk Ashton 7.30
4 Fionn: Defence of Rath Bladhma Brian O'Sullivan 7.20
5 Larcout K.A. Krantz 6.70
6 Assassin's Charge Claire Frank 6.35
7 The Music Box Girl K.A. Stewart 6.30
8 The Moonlight War S.K.S. Perry 5.95
Outpost F.T. McKinstry
10 The Shadow Soul Kaitlyn Davis 5.10

SPFBO 3 (2017)[edit]

# Title Author Score out of 10
1 Where Loyalties Lie Rob J. Hayes 8.10
2 Sufficiently Advanced Magic Andrew Rowe 7.60
The Crimson Queen Alec Hutson
4 Devil's Night Dawning Damien Black 6.70
5 Jack Bloodfist: Fixer James Jakins 6.55
6 The Way Into Chaos Harry Connolly 6.45
7 The War of Undoing Alex Perry 6.30
8 Chaos Trims My Beard Brett Herman 6.00
9 Tiger Lily K. Bird Lincoln 5.45
10 Pilgrimage to Skara Jonathan S. Pembroke 4.35

SPFBO 4 (2018)[edit]

# Title Author Score out of 10
1 Orconomics J. Zachary Pike 8.65
2 Gods of Men Barbara Kloss 8.05
We Ride the Storm Devin Madson
4 Sworn to the Night Craig Shaefer 8.00
5 Symphony of the Wind Steven McKinnon 7.40
6 Aching God Mike Shel 6.90
7 Ruthless Magic Megan Crewe 6.35
8 Out of Nowhere Patrick LeClerc 5.50
9 The Anointed Keith Ward 5.10
10 Sowing Angie Grigaliunas 4.55

SPFBO 5 (2019)[edit]

# Title Author Score out of 10
1 The Sword of Kaigen M. L. Wang 8.65
2 Fortune's Fool Angela Boord 8.35
3 Blood of Heirs Alicia Wanstall-Burke 8.20
4 A Tale of Stars and Shadow Lisa Cassidy 7.75
5 Kalanon's Rising Darian Smith 7.70
Never Die Rob J. Hayes
7 Beggar's Rebellion Levi Jacobs 7.25
8 Blade's Edge Virginia McClain 6.90
9 A Sea of Broken Glass Sonya M. Black 5.85
10 Spark City Robert J Power 4.80

SPFBO 6 (2020)[edit]

# Title Author Score out of 10
1 The Lost War Justin Lee Anderson 8.35
2 Black Stone Heart Michael R. Fletcher 8.05
3 Shadow of a Dead God Patrick Samphire 7.80
4 Voice of War Zack Argyle 7.15
5 Last Memoria Rachel Emma Shaw 7.10
6 Wind From The Wilderness Suzannah Rowntree 6.95
7 Darkness Forged Matt Larkin 6.60
8 The Combat Codes Alexander Darwin 6.35
9 The Fall of Erlon Robert H Fleming 6.10
10 Nether Light Shaun Paul Stevens 6.05

SPFBO 7 (2021)[edit]

# Title Author Score out of 10
1 Reign & Ruin J. D. Evans 7.70
2 Legacy of the Brightwash Krystle Matar 7.60
3 Shadows of Ivory Bryce O'Connor and TL Greylock 7.30
4 Norylska Groans Michael R. Fletcher and Clayton W. Snyder 7.10
5 Burn Red Skies Kerstin Espinosa Rosero 7.05
6 The Mortal Blade Christopher Mitchell 6.90
7 The Forever King Ben Galley 6.85
The Iron Crown L.L. MacRae
9 We Men of Ash and Shadows HL Tinsley 6.75
10 Hall of Bones Tim Hardie 6.45

SPFBO 8 (2022)[edit]

# Title Author Score out of 10
TBD A Touch of Light Thiago Abdalla TBD
TBD Small Miracles Olivia Atwater TBD
TBD Fire of the Forebears L.A. Buck TBD
TBD Scales and Sensibility Stephanie Burgis TBD
TBD Mysterious Ways Abbie Evans TBD
TBD Tethered Spirits T. A. Hernandez TBD
TBD The Umbral Storm Alec Hutson TBD
TBD Miss Percy's Pocket Guide (to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons) Quenby Olson TBD
TBD A Song For The Void Andrew C. Piazza TBD
TBD The Thirteenth Hour Trudie Skies TBD

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Liptak, Andrew (28 January 2020). "Orbit Has Acquired Devin Madson's Epic Fantasy Novel We Ride The Storm". Tor.com. Macmillan.
  2. ^ Jones, Devin (4 August 2019). "Fantastic feat: Greenland author J. Zachary Pike wins global fantasy book competition". Foster's Daily Democrat.
  3. ^ Cropley, Matthew (23 November 2017). "The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off and the Evolution of Publishing". Grimdark Magazine. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  4. ^ Hughes, Laura M. (13 May 2017). "Self-Published Fantasy: How the SPFBO is Revitalising SFF". Fantasy Faction. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  5. ^ Holman, Curt (6 June 2018). "Metro Atlanta fantasy author rides giant boars to mainstream book deal". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  6. ^ Lawrence, Mark (27 February 2016). "The Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off results!". Mark Lawrence. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  7. ^ Lawrence, Mark (27 April 2017). "The SPFBO final results". Mark Lawrence. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  8. ^ Lawrence, Mark (13 June 2018). "SPFBO 3, we have a winner!". Mark Lawrence. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  9. ^ Lawrence, Mark (25 May 2019). "SPFBO 4, we have a winner!". Mark Lawrence. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  10. ^ Lawrence, Mark (25 May 2020). "SPFBO 5, we have a winner!". Mark Lawrence. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  11. ^ Lawrence, Mark (25 May 2021). "SPFBO 6, we have a winner!". Mark Lawrence. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
  12. ^ Lawrence, Mark (25 May 2021). "SPFBO 7, we have a winner!". Mark Lawrence. Retrieved 6 May 2021.