6th Annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off: An Introduction to the SPFBO

6th Annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off

An Introduction to the SPFBO

A Tale of Stars and Shadow by Lisa Cassidy – Spoiler Free Review

A Tale of Stars and Shadow

Spoiler Free Review

Out of Body by Jeffrey Ford

ARC Review


The Fantasy-Faction Anthology

It is with great pleasure that I release to you today the news that Fantasy-Faction is releasing an Anthology.

Wow, I can’t tell you how great it is to say those words; releasing an Anthology. Just over a year ago I, Marc Aplin, started a fantasy blog in order to share my love of fantasy literature with people throughout the world. I named it Fantasy-Faction with the following definition in mind:
A group of people, who express a shared belief or opinion different from people who are not part of that group.

This is because, although the site started a personal blog where I reviewed the books I was reading at the time, I wanted to grow the site into a community. This community would be one that shared a love and a passion for fantasy literature and the people who visited would be cool people, friendly, sociable and generally wanting to converse with one another. I thought this would take at least half a decade, I never thought that just one year later we would have close to 50 members of staff, nearly 400 articles, interviews with the likes of Patrick Rothfuss, Douglas Hulick, Elspeth Cooper, Scott Lynch, Jon Sprunk, Peter V. Brett, Joe Abercrombie – *big breath* – Richard Morgan, Chris Evans, Mira Grant, Paul Evanby, Blake Charlton, Mark Charan Newton, Sam Sykes, Mark Lawrence, Jon Courtney Grimwood, Brandon Sanderson, Guy Gavriel Kay, China Miéville, Rowena Cory Daniells and many more besides – WOW!


Visitors Last 7 Days

In short, this year has been the most productive in my life and I wouldn’t have changed a moment of it. The site has become so popular that on a bad day we get around 1,200 hits. On a good day we have hit upwards of 7,000. Those numbers are not only impressive and heartwarming, but damned scary! A problem that did arise with being so popular and was: costs. The cost of running such a huge website, paying people to work on logos, purchasing books, travelling to conventions and so on did add up.

Most expensive was the server costs and when that bill hit we were forced to ask the users of our sites for donations. Now, I thought our request for help would simply be ignored – but no – I underestimated the generosity of our community and I was completely humbled by the amount of people who donated and the generous sums they sent us. I would like to take a moment now just to say thank you once more to all these kind people who handed us money and asking nothing in return, but for our site to continue on.

Now, we do not EVER want to do that again. I want people to come to Fantasy-Faction and I want them to use it for free. With that in mind, we needed a plan. How on Earth could we make such a massive website self-sufficient? Well, we have a huge user base, all of which are readers who like reading fantasy and writing fiction. What if we could provide these readers and writers with and something that they could read, but also that they could write for? Rather than having to ask for donations, we could ask our users and readers of fantasy in general to support Fantasy-Faction by buying this Anthology. Not only did we believe that we could provide them with something phenomenal, but we believed there was a market for it.

Fantasy-Faction Anthology Temp CoverThis is what the anthology will contain:

– A fantasy writing contest where 6 winners will not only find a spot within the anthology, but also win some great prizes.

– Short stories by some of the fantasy genres biggest names, such as: Myke Cole, Mark Lawrence, Jon Sprunk, Michael J. Sullivan, Adrian Tchaikovsky and more to be announced!

– Articles written by fantasy writers and industry experts.

The Fantasy Writing Contest will be held annually and we truly believe that it could end up being one of the industry’s most recognised events in a few years time. Short stories must be within the fantasy genre (whether that is epic, sword and sorcery, modern, urban or steampunk though is up to you) and of no more than 8,000 words. Essentially, what we want to do is to give new and previously undiscovered writers the chance to showcase their talent. Perhaps the writer has not been brave enough to send their work off before or maybe they’ve just not quite found the right place to submit their short story too. This could well be their opportunity to get out there, get noticed and feature alongside some of the industries greats.

In order to achieve this we are ready to work our behinds off promoting the writing contest, speaking to authors, speaking with people within the industry, working with cover artists and generally bringing everything together. We know it is going to be hard work and we know at times we are going to have to remind ourselves why we are doing this – to keep, what we consider, one of the finest fantasy resources and communities online and free to use for our thousands of daily users.

Now, as for dates. This is our first anthology and so we really wanted to make sure we gave ourselves enough time to make things perfect. The contest will open on February 1st and will run through until June 30th. That means that you guys will have five months to submit your entries and we will have around six months to edit everything before sending it to the printers for a January 2013 release.

So yes, we hope you are feeling as excited as we are. In just under a year’s time we will have a Fantasy-Faction Anthology that you could well be appearing in! For more information and to enter the writing contest you can visit our forum.

Thank you once again everyone for supporting Fantasy-Faction up until now and we hope you continue to support us by getting involved in the anthology and, dare we be cheeky and suggest, buying a copy upon its release.



  1. Avatar the_hound says:

    Well done! Some great writers there, and I bet you can persuade some more to get on board! Douglas Hullick, and Elspeth Cooper, maybe? And what a great opportunity for new writers to get published!

  2. Avatar Jo Hall says:

    Great idea 🙂 Let me know if I can help in any way!

  3. Avatar Shack says:

    Great idea guys. Think it’s a brilliant move having big name authors as well as showcasing up and coming writers. Another smart way to give back to the community.

  4. Avatar Jess says:

    This sounds fantastic 🙂 You must be really proud of how Fantasy Faction has grown. It’s a great site!

  5. Avatar Khaldun says:

    Looking forward to it!

  6. Avatar Alister says:

    Wow, fantastic and incredibly exciting!

  7. Avatar Tim says:

    Hi, is this open to people in Ireland? Hmmm I’m very much a noob, so I doubt I’ll win. Ahh well. There’s no harm in trying.

    • Avatar Paul Wiseall says:

      Absolutely! It’s open to everyone everywhere. I suppose the only restriction in terms of country is that all stories have to be in English.
      Definitely give it a go and don’t be so hard on yourself. A story is only a series of words put down on a page in a pleasing way and there’s no reason that a ‘noob’ is any less likely to produce something magical than a grizzled writing veteran who has been plugging away for years.
      Just show us some great imagination coupled with some cool characterisation and you’ve got a good chance of grabbing our attention.
      That’s a lot of ‘shnn’ sounds.
      Good luck.

  8. Congratulations! It’s looking fantastic, and I love the annual writing contest idea. Looking forward to seeing it in action!

  9. Avatar Overlord says:

    Thanks for all the positive comments! As I said – huge, huge project for Fantasy-Faction and we are going to do everything in our power to ensure that this anthology is something special. We hope (and believe) you guys will get behind us, enter the competition, talk about the anthology and generally give us your best! 🙂

  10. Avatar Not-So-Bloody-Nine says:

    Awesome news, Marc.

    It’s great what is being accomplished here in such a short period of time. I’m really looking forward to the anthology, and might even submit a middling effort of my own, if only so we can all laugh at it.

    Keep up the great work!

  11. Avatar Ryan says:

    I LOVE this website, and will definitely be sending in a story.

    My inner editor is snapping at me to say this, and I’m out of biscuits to calm him down. Did you notice you put Patrick Rothfuss twice up the top?

    Sorry, but at least he’s calmed down now 🙂


  12. Avatar David Greybeard says:

    Where may I buy a copy of this book? Don’t see it on Amazon or anywhere else.

Leave a Comment