The Great Self-published Fantasy Blog-off!
So. Mark Lawrence. You know the name. He’s a great author, and an even better person. We’re rather fond of him. Mark did a thing. Maybe you noticed it. A couple of weeks ago, over on his blog, Mark said the following:
“I realise that [self-promotion] is a lot easier once you’re ‘off the ground’ and that as a new author, particularly a self-published one, it is desperately hard to be heard. It’s a signal-to-noise problem. Who knows how many Name of the Winds or [fill in your favourite] are lost to us because they just couldn’t be seen? None? A hundred?”
This hit home to us at EBR. You can read the whole post, and the follow-ups, over at Marks blog (here’s your link). Here’s the short of of it:
Between 260 and 270 self-pubbed authors submitted their work to Mark, and he then passed those books evenly (and randomly) out to ten (10) review sites. We go through them and pick the best of the 27-ish sent to us while the other blogs do the same with their allotment. Then we all read the final 10 stories and say which is the best.
That’s a lot of books. A lot of self-pubbed books. Yeah.
I love Mark’s idea here. Just because you are self-pubbed, doesn’t mean your book is crap. It may lack some editorial polish. Maybe not. It may be terrible, or not. But really, I can say the same of novels pubbed by the large presses. EBR doesn’t typically accept self-pubbed work for review, but this was a a great opportunity to do so. So let me give some insight into the process we will follow. This is as much for the authors whose books we have, and for the curious.
We are going to look at these submissions like we are agents. We’ll start by reading the first five chapters, or first 50 pages – whichever is shorter. If the novel hasn’t grabbed us, we move on. I know that sounds subjective, and perhaps a tad harsh, but that’s the reality. This contest Mark put together isn’t about making happy endings for everyone involved. It’s about finding, hopefully, some really good needles in the proverbial haystack.
From our 27 submissions, I hope we end up liking five. To me that would be killer. If we end up really liking more, awesome. If we end up liking less… well, that’s how the business is. None of this is personal, and we have no intention of being jerks or rude. Or rude jerks.
As we go through the process, we’ll post some thoughts on what we are reading. The trends we see. Anything surprising. If we get an early favorite. The books we are choosing to move on from.
Here’s our list of authors and their submissions:
1. Stephanie Caine – Storm Shadow
2. D. Moonfire – Sand and Blood
3. Joe Donahue – The Final Requiem
4. Christopher Kellen – The Elements of Sorcery
5. Heidi Collotzi – The Secret of Avonoa
6. Terry Green – Shaman, Healer, Heretic
7. Tony Healey – The Bloody North
8. Tom Wright – Apex Rising
9. Callista Hunter – Goddess
10. Tristan Gregory – The Swordsman of Carn Nebeth
11. JP Lantern – Up the Tower
12. Jeff Morin – Fire Hurler
13. Sean Froyd – Inanis the Hooded
14. Melisa McPhail – Cephrael’s Hand
15. Michael Watson – Valkwitch
16. Robert Dahlen – Of Introductions and Abductions
17. Matt Forbeck – Hard Times in Dragon City
18. Michael Karner – Red Axe, Black Sun
19. Timothy Bond – The Watcher’s Keep
20. Martin Owton – The Exile of Darien
21. Christopher Hayhurst – Metal, Salt, and Sand
22. Michael McClung – The thief who pulled on trouble’s braids
23. Christian Freed – Hammers in the Wind
24. Jacob Cooper – Circle of Reign
25. Jack Newhouse – Journey
26. Brian Kramer – Godhede
27. Salvador Mercer – The Black Dragon
We aren’t the only people involved here. There is a total of ten fantastic review sites participating in this contest/experiment. Here they are:
Elitist Book Reviews
That’s good company. Very, very good company. Those are some of the best sites out there, ladies and gentlemen. We want to wish those sites a whole bunch of good reading. I sincerely hope we all come out of this with far more awesome novels than we anticipate. Because nothing pleases a reviewer more than a good novel.
Lastly, we want to thank Mark Lawrence for allowing us to be part of this. There was no shortage of review sites clamoring to be involved, and we were fortunate enough to be picked. Thank you!
To the authors: good luck.