August 1 marked the official beginning of the Self-Publishers Fantasy Blog-Off contest. This was something started by author Mark Lawrence to help showcase self-published fantasy authors. How it works is every year Mark opens up the contest for new submissions, usually sometime in June, and when it reaches the first 300 submissions, the contest is closed. The only guidelines are that they can't be short stories and they must be in the fantasy genre. This last part gets stretched a bit if you read some of the blurbs from the pool of submitted books. Anyways, then the books are broken out into groups of 30 books and each group is assigned to one of the ten fantasy blogs personally picked out by Mark.
Then, starting August 1, each blog picks out their favorite book from their assigned pool and that book advances to the finals. Then in December, all the blogs vote on the last 10 books to pick the winner. So the cut is pretty quick and deep. That puts the odds of your book winning at something like 0.33%. But that's not the point. Being part of the contest has brought my book wider attention than it ever would have achieved otherwise and I am in the process of meeting lots of fellow writers.
For the first five days of August, over 120 authors offered their ebooks for a special $0.99 sale. It worked out well as my sales spiked for those few days. As I write this I'm smacking myself in the head for not promoting the sale on this website. Oh well, that's how we learn.What chance does my book have in making the cut, you may ask? Practically 0. Since The Tempest Guild is a novella, it tends to get looked down upon by the bloggers as not a "true fantasy novel." One blogger from my pool even wrote a blog post about it saying that he wouldn't consider any books under 200 pages. That's okay. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.
So far, I've been getting positive feedback and reviews for my book and I'm really happy about that. My hopes at this point are to get at least a review from one of the bloggers. That would make me happy. Also, I was interviewed by two other bloggers from outside the contest and I hope those will be up soon. I will link to those from my social media accounts as soon as they go live. It could be a couple of months, though, as they are going to spread their SPFBO interviews out over the course of the entire contest.
I continue to work on volume two of the Talam Chronicles and my hopes are getting it out there for a holiday release. That's a pretty tight schedule, however, and even in self-publishing things take longer than expected. There's a lot of work that goes into publishing a book properly and deadlines tend to slip. I will keep the progress widgets updated with my progress, so you can always see where I am in the process.