When I published A Tree’s Heart, I had this crazy notion that I might try a little marketing again. I hadn’t done that in ages, because… oh, let’s be honest. It’s freaking boring to trawl the web for sites where you might get a free spotlight, or work your way through all those never-quite-up-to-date lists of book bloggers who may or may not accept indie books. On the other hand, contrary to popular opinion, a good book will not sell itself, so I pulled myself together and did all the aforementioned trawling until my husband voluntarily went to the office on home office days because he couldn’t stand the cursing anymore.
On one of those book blogger pages, I found a note saying that the respective team wouldn’t read self-published books unless they came via SPFBO.
I had no clue what that meant.
It wasn’t hard to find out, though, that those letters stand for Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, an annual contest exclusively for indie fantasy books. No entry fee, the first 300 entrants are in, those books will be handed over to 10 blogs who each pick a favorite, and from those 10 favorites a winner is chosen who gets all the glory and attention and maybe even corresponding sales figures. Tempting, right? I set an alarm on my phone so I wouldn’t miss it.
Last year, it took 9 hours for those 300 slots to fill. This year, it took 41 minutes.
I submitted A Tree’s Heart somewhere between the third and the fourth minute. I’m in.
Life’s been a bit weird ever since.
Now, I don’t know about authors of other genres, obviously, but fantasy authors are by and large a lovely bunch. While we, in theory, are competitors, I have yet to meet someone who acts that way. So far, the absolute opposite is going on. There’s a ton of mutual support, of showcasing each other, of checking out each other’s work, and I guess I may have once again found my tribe. I spent the past days stalking the blog I was assigned to along with the main SPFBO page, answering interview questions, having fun in the SPFBO Facebook group, and trying not to freak out. All that on top of the normal family madness, going LARPing (with the adults in our family in the NPC camp this time around, as a very busy tavern crew) and celebrating my boy’s fifteenth birthday (how has it been fifteen years already!?), I should probably take a step back and breathe a bit.
I went and issued a challenge to my fellow contestants. Draw a picture, I told them. Make a cartoon of your book. A single image, an entire comic strip, whatever you want, no matter how poorly executed. If you do that, I’ll blog about you. The response has been overwhelming. Some can just about draw a mean stick man (my level of talent), others have sent drawings that made me gulp and swoon in awe (definitely not my level of talent). From June 1st on, I’ll show you those pieces of art, introduce you to the person behind it, and tell you what I can find out about the book they entered into the contest. Which means I’ll dial down most everything else for a while, like my silly German language cartoons or my ridiculous attempts of trying to interest folks in my own work, but I don’t suppose anyone will miss those much anyway.
That’s it, have a brilliant day, and maybe wish me a little luck.
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Good for you! Hope you win!
I’m also glad I’m not the the only one who had no idea what this was. Now I don’t have to look it up!
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Thank you! I honestly doubt I’ll get far. There’s some amazing talent running beside me.
I really like reading your blog posts, and I wish you a lot of luck with your latest entries!
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Thank you ❤