Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: eclipse on October 15, 2015, 05:54:27 PM

Title: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on October 15, 2015, 05:54:27 PM
http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/final-round-self-published-fantasy-blog.html

Are any of you reading the last ten or will you wait for the winner? I've read two at the minute  I'm planning to read more hopefully if I don't get distracted  ;D
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mr.J on October 15, 2015, 06:12:56 PM
I think there's maybe three of those I would consider reading based on their blurb, will have to read the free sample thing first though before I do.

Can't decide what I think about the Sovereignty one though, anyone read that?
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on October 16, 2015, 06:32:50 PM
I will be reading Sovereignty,If it wasn't in the last ten I wouldn't be reading it through as the author name Plague Jack in my view is a bit off putting.

Currently reading  The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids, only a short bit in but enjoying what I have read so far.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on October 16, 2015, 09:22:31 PM
I think the final round has some good books in it.

I also think there are some good books that did not make it to the final round, but that's the nature of the competition and anything that gets people reading Indie books is a good thing!
(as long as they read mine too)

Shining a spotlight on books and authors that find it hard to even find a spot on the stage has been one of the most rewarding parts of the process.

Long may something like this continue :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on October 18, 2015, 12:35:37 PM
Finished The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids it was okay I thought and I noticed more typos in this one than the others not interested in the sequels

Her friend  Holgren was over powered and I didn't feel Amra was never in that much danger with him by her side
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: mattcolville on October 18, 2015, 06:15:36 PM
I think there's maybe three of those I would consider reading based on their blurb, will have to read the free sample thing first though before I do.


Lemme tell you, writing the blurb for PRIEST was harder than writing the entire novel, and I don't think I came anywhere near getting it right.

This is the blurb;

Quote
For centuries the people of Ollghum Keep relied on the knights of the Green Order to protect them from the horrors of the haunted wood. Now, as before, a monstrous army marches on their small town. But this time, the Green Order is nowhere to be found.

The Bishop sends the priest Heden into the wood, to find out why. Arriving at their secret priory, Heden discovers their commander is dead, the remaining knights paralyzed with despair. They will not act, they will not tell him what happened, and with each hour the monstrous army gets closer to Ollghum Keep. Thousands will die if the priest fails.

When the knights start dying one by one, Heden must race to unravel the conspiracy of silence and save the knights from themselves so they can save the people they were sworn to guard.

That's terrible, I hate it. But I couldn't come up with anything better. This is just a symptom of the the larger problem that I wrote a book I have no idea how to describe. People ask me what the book's about? No idea how to answer. It's about this guy and the crap he deals with. I dunno.

I spent some time trying to write a query letter for agents, gave up. Same problem. You can't just tell an agent "I dunno man it's psychological and Jungian and no one ends up happy and there's just a lot of pain and no redemption." No one would buy that book.

But that first book is meant to be a kind on in-sequence prologue, the second and subsequent books are easier to describe. Check this out;

Quote
For years the king bottled up the city's crime by pitting the thieves' guilds against each other. A balance enforced by ruthless double-dealing, blackmail and a special cadre of secret watchmen.

Now, armed with a mysterious substance that turns men into ravening ghouls, the Count is prepared to upset the balance. Installing himself as Underking, master of all crime in the city.

Thief battles thief as the city threatens to erupt in violence.

Then Heden returns from the forest. Prepared to exact vengeance against the bishop, he finds Vanora caught up in the Count's lethal scheming. Before he can act, he must ensure her safety.

He can stand against the count, the guilds, even the bishop.

But he cannot do it alone.

Ratcatchers continues in volume two

THIEF

THAT is a blurb I am happy with! You might not think it's hooky, but I was super happy with it. And it has the added punch of, if you know who the titular thief is from reading the first book, you're like "OH YEAH! Team-up!" Which is kind of the whole point of this series.

So it's not that I can't write copy I'm happy with, it's that the first book is just weird.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on October 18, 2015, 10:03:25 PM
Blurbs are harder than the book itself :)

Say enough to get someone interested, but not too much that they will know the whole story!

I dislike blurbing, and realise I am not too good at it. Hence, I started mine with Sarah Chorn's 4/5* Star review - cheeky, I know.

As for Priest - I've read it and really enjoyed it. Blurbing it... well, yes, I can see the problem.

What do you do when you have faith, but not in humans?
What do you do when there has been a murder, but there are too many suspects?
What do you do when there is danger everywhere, but the army cannot respond?

Priest-busters!!

Sorry, couldn't resist :)

Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: JamesLatimer on October 19, 2015, 08:58:09 AM
Lemme tell you, writing the blurb for PRIEST was harder than writing the entire novel, and I don't think I came anywhere near getting it right.
IDK, I found the PRIEST blurb compelling whereas the second has a few potential turn-offs for me. Goes to show how hard it is to write a blurb that appeals to everyone!

Definitely on my digital TBR.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on October 23, 2015, 05:27:36 PM
Ouch soul for trouble got 3.5 from Bookworm Blue

I'm not one for  romance in my fantasy and it doesn't appeal to my tastes but it does seem a bit harsh to me when the other 4 reviewers so far have given it 7/ 10 and 6/10

can anyone find the review for Soul for Trouble from Fantasy Book Critic tried looking for it but can't see it thanks



Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: ScarletBea on October 23, 2015, 06:15:44 PM
Hey, Eclipse, Mark's page has got the links to all reviews (when you click the score).
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on October 23, 2015, 06:18:00 PM
Hey, Eclipse, Mark's page has got the links to all reviews (when you click the score).

I wished I know that earlier haha thank you
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on October 23, 2015, 06:25:00 PM
The reviews are the opinions of the reviewer... just as Amazon and Goodreads reviews are... mostly.

I think Sarah was clear why she did not like the book and fair in her critique. It is all down to the personal taste of the reviewer.

On the other side, a lot of reviews were around the 7 and 8 mark. Nothing to tell them apart.

As the bloggers get through the ones that appealed to them first, I think we are likely to see scores fall.


*edited because I typed it on my phone and didn't notice the appalling spelling :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on October 23, 2015, 06:29:43 PM
The reviews are the opinions of the reviewer... just as a.axon and goodreads reviews are... mostly.

I think Sarah was clear why she did not like the book and fair in her critique. It is all down to the personal taste of the reviewer.

On the other side, a lot of reviews were around the 7 and 8 mark. Nothing to tell them apart.

As the bloggers get through the ones that appealled to them first, I think we are likely to see scores fall.

That's no problem I thought the review was good, just surprised at the first really low score.It  be boring if everyone liked the same book and I would probably give it the same score as Sarah as it seems more romance then fantasy  :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mark Lawrence on October 23, 2015, 06:45:01 PM
can anyone find the review for Soul for Trouble from Fantasy Book Critic tried looking for it but can't see it thanks

Just click the score on the table and it takes you to the connected review.

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/final-round-self-published-fantasy-blog.html
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Hedin on October 23, 2015, 06:46:40 PM
can anyone find the review for Soul for Trouble from Fantasy Book Critic tried looking for it but can't see it thanks

Just click the score on the table and it takes you to the connected review.

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/final-round-self-published-fantasy-blog.html

FYI - The FBC review link for Soul For Trouble is going to your Kickstarter.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mark Lawrence on October 23, 2015, 06:48:18 PM
The reviews are the opinions of the reviewer... just as a.axon and goodreads reviews are... mostly.

I think Sarah was clear why she did not like the book and fair in her critique. It is all down to the personal taste of the reviewer.

On the other side, a lot of reviews were around the 7 and 8 mark. Nothing to tell them apart.

As the bloggers get through the ones that appealled to them first, I think we are likely to see scores fall.

People's tastes vary hugely. Last week I hosted a discussion between two bloggers who gave Prince of Thorns 2* & 5* and King of Thorns 5* & 2* respectively and both liked Emperor of Thorns a lot!

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/did-we-read-same-book.html

That's no problem I was just surprised at the really low score.It  be boring if everyone liked the same book and I would probable give it the same score as Sarah as it seems more romance then fantasy  :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mark Lawrence on October 23, 2015, 06:50:08 PM
can anyone find the review for Soul for Trouble from Fantasy Book Critic tried looking for it but can't see it thanks

Just click the score on the table and it takes you to the connected review.

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/final-round-self-published-fantasy-blog.html

FYI - The FBC review link for Soul For Trouble is going to your Kickstarter.

Really? It doesn't do that for me...
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Hedin on October 23, 2015, 06:51:47 PM
can anyone find the review for Soul for Trouble from Fantasy Book Critic tried looking for it but can't see it thanks

Just click the score on the table and it takes you to the connected review.

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/final-round-self-published-fantasy-blog.html

FYI - The FBC review link for Soul For Trouble is going to your Kickstarter.

Really? It doesn't do that for me...

Sorry, its actually the one for Bookworm Blues.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mark Lawrence on October 23, 2015, 06:52:29 PM
can anyone find the review for Soul for Trouble from Fantasy Book Critic tried looking for it but can't see it thanks

Just click the score on the table and it takes you to the connected review.

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/final-round-self-published-fantasy-blog.html

FYI - The FBC review link for Soul For Trouble is going to your Kickstarter.

Really? It doesn't do that for me...

Sorry, its actually the one for Bookworm Blues.

Gotcha - fixed! Thanks!
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on October 24, 2015, 03:40:32 PM
Started The Weight of a Crown by Tavish Kaeden I feel I might like this one a lot
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mark Lawrence on October 25, 2015, 10:56:01 AM
Fantasy-Faction is second in blogger rankings for the # of finalists rated!
 
http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/final-round-self-published-fantasy-blog.html
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on October 26, 2015, 05:48:38 PM
How does Fantasy Faction score and rate the books is it just one person who reads them or is it a team?

Half way in The Weight of a Crown by Tavish Kaeden and enjoying it a lot

Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on October 26, 2015, 06:27:27 PM
It is a team.

If you look at the bottom of the reviews and articles you can find out about the reviewer... or just scream in horror at my photo on some of them. Everyone else is much better looking.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: ScarletBea on October 26, 2015, 06:40:01 PM
or just scream in horror at my photo on some of them.
LOL
Nah, it's just you're very different now from that photo!!
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on October 26, 2015, 06:47:46 PM
(http://www.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/5/4/w/4/w/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.154vvv.png/1433376755920.jpg)

I've changed, you're right :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: ScarletBea on October 26, 2015, 07:07:23 PM
 :P More like this ;D

<< picture now deleted >> 8)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on October 26, 2015, 07:35:41 PM
Aaargh! Put it away... my eyes, my eyes... melting, melting...
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: ScarletBea on October 26, 2015, 09:54:51 PM
 ;D you look better without the beard, actually hehe

But ok, I'll take it away. Tomorrow, after I've given more people the chance to see ;)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on October 26, 2015, 10:24:29 PM
Handsome author and Fantasy-Faction Writer - better without the beard :)

I'll have to get my FF photo changed :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: ClintACK on October 26, 2015, 11:56:32 PM
Finished The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids it was okay I thought and I noticed more typos in this one than the others not interested in the sequels

Okay, that's a spectacular name for a book.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on October 30, 2015, 07:11:18 PM
Started The Weight of a Crown by Tavish Kaeden I feel I might like this one a lot

Yep it was a good story, I be looking forward to reading the sequel with Xasho and his blessed/cursed dagger  and Nicolas with  his dubious master Jori, lot's of fun. :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on November 14, 2015, 03:44:27 PM
Finished City of Burning Shadow

This was really good maybe my favourite out of the finalists. An UF set in a post apocalypse setting,I don't normally like post apocalypse settings but this one worked for me 
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on November 16, 2015, 07:47:20 PM
Finished all 10 now

My top three

City of Burning Shadow by Barbra J.Webb,The Weight of a Crown by Tavish Kaeden and Shattered Sands by W.G.Saraband

I will be buying the sequels to this ones.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on November 16, 2015, 11:22:56 PM
Well done for reading them all!
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on November 17, 2015, 06:41:55 PM
I started A Soul for Trouble by Crista McHugh. Read about 40 pages so far.

Had some good laughs, but also some facepalms.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Rostum on November 17, 2015, 11:31:31 PM
just checked the scores @Saraband (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32607) I reckon the reviewers saved your until last as it was twice as long as the others.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on November 20, 2015, 04:45:26 PM
Finished A Soul for Trouble.

It started really well, with action and humor. But the innuendo and the love triangle completely overpowered the story. For me, it went downhill when Kell appeared.

With every male falling for Trouble, including the wolf and chaos God, it was curious that

the necromancer didn't. Now that i think about it, he could have been a more realistic love interest than the two main ones.

First, they are both mages, threatened to be burned at the stake.

Second, they both had very harsh lives and were treated unfairly.
Trouble with his father abandoning her mother to the treatment of her uncle. Sulaino by having his entire family burned on the stake and the king making him watch (and thinking that was an act of mercy).

Third, a real conflict would happen. Sulaino would be torn between Loku and Trouble. Not Dev's "boo hoo, honor or love" or Kell's "boo hoo, i wanna see what my brother feels".
Even if she managed to heal him and make him live on, he would have to cope with the weight of his crimes. Could turn into a nice redemption... or not.

Fourth, it made Kell look like a complete hypocrite. He agreed to burn Sulaino's family on the stake because of witchcraft, but pleas an even risks his life for a witch.
And not even for a moment considered that it was that action that created the monster his kingdom was having trouble with.

Maybe the author was trying to show how Arden could have fallen, but it felt like a wasted opportunity.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on November 20, 2015, 04:58:03 PM
I went to check for a new one to read and found that The Weight of a Crown is currently free. So that's gonna be my next one until December, when book club happens  ;D
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on November 20, 2015, 05:17:51 PM
Yeah I really enjoyed Weight of the Crown, I'm currently reading the sequel  :D

I also have to like your post for finishing Soul for Trouble as it was the only one I  had a DNF on too much innuendo for me
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on November 25, 2015, 06:07:00 PM
Finished The Weight of a Crown by Tavish Kaeden.

Enjoyed it, good pace, but everything was a build up for the major conflict that should happen on the next book. It felt it lacked completion on it's own.

Also, there is too much description that easily could have been more dialogue, thought or action by the characters.

But overall it was a good read.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on November 25, 2015, 06:38:54 PM
Will you be reading any more SFBO?
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on November 25, 2015, 08:00:39 PM
That's what I'm thinking about.

Some books were released this year, while others are already finished duo/trilogies.  Reading the other 8 finalists in 3 months seems pretty doable, but i think i would have to pass their sequels. That's because I would like to do it before the final round deadline, just because  :D

I guess i will try to read them all, but most likely i will have to intercalate them with book club's books and others who pick my interest as well.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: JMack on November 25, 2015, 08:03:12 PM
I guess i will try to read them all, but most likely i will have to intercalate them with book club's books and others who pick my interest as well.

@Eclipse (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=9661)... Is there one blog-off book so good we should do a Book Club for it?
Other than Shattered Sands of course.  :D
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on November 25, 2015, 08:38:37 PM
Barbara Webb novel City of Burning Shadows it was so good I found her website and sent an email to her to say how much I enjoyed it, I dropped a hint in the email to say a hello at FF forums lol and then she posted a hello topic here.

But shouldn't you be reading RF?
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on December 02, 2015, 01:18:52 AM
I decided to read City of Burning Shadows as well. It's short and after NaNo and Nation I need some breathing room before I dive into 700 pages Perdido Street Station.

Thief and Colder Sun are shorter, but they have sequels. Probably should just go with a one published volume book for now.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Barbara J Webb on December 02, 2015, 04:24:29 PM
Just popping my nose in to say that if y'all did a book club of City of Burning Shadows, I'd be happy to do a Q&A at the end and chat with everyone!
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: JMack on December 02, 2015, 05:15:49 PM
Just popping my nose in to say that if y'all did a book club of City of Burning Shadows, I'd be happy to do a Q&A at the end and chat with everyone!

Hi, Barbara:

I'm the cursed lucky guy organizing the monthly book club these days. Happy to check with others about doing one on your book, or we can set up a read-along. Would love to have authors do Q&A. I'm also looking to give out author swag to people who post, even if it's for someone else's book.  :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on December 05, 2015, 02:57:10 PM
Just finished City of Burning Shadows.

Holy... that was so damn good. Gave it 5 stars. I'm glad I picked it up. I did it because it didn't had sequels and I could use a lighter book before reading a really long one for a book club. Now I'm sad it doesn't have the sequels already out.

For those curious, it's fantasy, but also mixes with urban, sci-fi, mystery and suspense. Wasn't sure how all that would blend, but for me, it worked perfectly.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on December 05, 2015, 03:29:46 PM
Just finished City of Burning Shadows.

Holy... that was so damn good. Gave it 5 stars. I'm glad I picked it up. I did it because it didn't had sequels and I could use a lighter book before reading a really long one for a book club. Now I'm sad it doesn't have the sequels already out.

For those curious, it's fantasy, but also mixes with urban, sci-fi, mystery and suspense. Wasn't sure how all that would blend, but for me, it worked perfectly.

Really glad someone else has read it I thought it was awesome!  ;D
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: JMack on December 05, 2015, 07:36:21 PM
Just finished City of Burning Shadows.

Holy... that was so damn good. Gave it 5 stars. I'm glad I picked it up. I did it because it didn't had sequels and I could use a lighter book before reading a really long one for a book club. Now I'm sad it doesn't have the sequels already out.

For those curious, it's fantasy, but also mixes with urban, sci-fi, mystery and suspense. Wasn't sure how all that would blend, but for me, it worked perfectly.

Really glad someone else has read it I thought it was awesome!  ;D

Guys, you just cost me $4 bucks! Jeez, don't I have enough Kindle books waiting for me? I had to go download another?  :P
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Barbara J Webb on December 08, 2015, 09:04:09 PM
Just finished City of Burning Shadows.

Holy... that was so damn good. Gave it 5 stars. I'm glad I picked it up. I did it because it didn't had sequels and I could use a lighter book before reading a really long one for a book club. Now I'm sad it doesn't have the sequels already out.

For those curious, it's fantasy, but also mixes with urban, sci-fi, mystery and suspense. Wasn't sure how all that would blend, but for me, it worked perfectly.

Thank you so much!!!

FYI, the sequel's in the final round of revision. If everything falls in line, should have a late February release.

And if anyone is curious what I find the most fun part of self-publishing--I've got the near-finished draft of my cover art for the new book, and I love it. There is nothing more awesome than getting to work directly with your artist to bring a vision to life.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: tebakutis on December 08, 2015, 09:20:12 PM
And if anyone is curious what I find the most fun part of self-publishing--I've got the near-finished draft of my cover art for the new book, and I love it. There is nothing more awesome than getting to work directly with your artist to bring a vision to life.

This. So much THIS. :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on December 21, 2015, 07:19:31 PM
Will go with Bloodrush, by Ben Galley as probably my last read of the year.

From the cover and blurb, it looks like Western mixed with Fantasy. Cowboys, guns and magic.

If you are interested, you can currently read it on Wattpad or get a free e-book by subscribing on the author's Facebook page.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: JRTroughton on December 21, 2015, 10:16:50 PM
Finished The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids it was okay I thought and I noticed more typos in this one than the others not interested in the sequels

Okay, that's a spectacular name for a book.
Currently reading this.

Yes, because of the ludicrously good title.

It's been fun so far.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on December 24, 2015, 09:54:55 PM
Finished Bloodrush, by Ben Galley.

Gave it 3 stars. From that title and cover I expected action to happen much sooner. It took like 60% or 65% for the first shot to be fired!

The prose was very well-written and editing and proofreading was also very well done. I liked.

I think this book would have worked better if it started as Merion already grown-up kicking ass, making us question a lot of things and then using the first 60% or so as a little flashback.
Think Roland Deschain and the ka-tet from The Dark Tower.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on December 27, 2015, 05:21:14 PM
Still four days left. Went to check for something I could read in this period and got lucky.

Under a Colder Sun, by Greg James, is pretty short (215 pages) and is currently free.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mark Lawrence on December 27, 2015, 08:01:24 PM
Finished Bloodrush, by Ben Galley.

Gave it 3 stars. From that title and cover I expected action to happen much sooner. It took like 60% or 65% for the first shot to be fired!

The prose was very well-written and editing and proofreading was also very well done. I liked.

I think this book would have worked better if it started as Merion already grown-up kicking ass, making us question a lot of things and then using the first 60% or so as a little flashback.
Think Roland Deschain and the ka-tet from The Dark Tower.

I've also just finished this one. I agree with you, the prose was good and I enjoyed the read.

I reviewed it on Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1359826975
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on December 29, 2015, 07:59:08 PM
Finished Under a Colder Sun, by Greg James.

Gave it 3 stars, but this could've easily been a 5.

Great description and prose, but the short amount of pages didn't allowed for proper characterization. Some things felt abrupt or even surreal because of this.

In the beginning I thought Khale was just overpowered and would be boring. It changed as I kept reading.
I have to say that this book is probably the only one here in the contest that has a main character like Khale, who is so much bigger than life and done in a good way.

Something so far I've missed were memorable quotes/actions/dialogues. I think this book had this. I really enjoyed chapter 16 and I think I could quote it in its entirety.

CoBS made me pause at times because of the tension, mystery and revelations.
UaCS had those awesome passages bigger than life that make you pause in wonder before resuming reading again. Although they were mostly Khale's past.

With a bit more revision, more character building and even one or two more battles would have easily gotten this 5 stars.

That said, I think I might check in the future the sequels for this one, despite its flaws.

If you got curious, it's currently free on Amazon.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on January 02, 2016, 10:16:45 PM
I'm still mulling over about 2 characters in Under a Colder Sun. Guess that's both a good and bad thing. Good because they had good insights and potential, and bad because it wasn't fully and explored in a satisfying way.

Anyway, decided to go with The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids, by Michael McClung. Because of the title and it's also the second shortest book. Also, beautiful cover.
Guess I should read by size now, don't know if I will be able to read the remaining 5 until March =\ would have liked to make my own list before the winners announcement.

Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Rostum on January 03, 2016, 11:45:44 AM
Quote
    Finished The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids
Okay, that's a spectacular name for a book.

It is but I guess micheal is a Tom Waits fan

[youtube]6nSA1gZ96eo[/youtube]
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mr.J on January 03, 2016, 05:13:24 PM
Everyone should be a fan of Tom Waits :D

My dad's favourite line in a Tom Waits song is where he describes a car as being "monkey-shit brown".

Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on January 03, 2016, 10:56:46 PM
Finished The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids, by Michael McClung. Gave it 3 stars.

The book is fast paced, lots of action and the dialogue shines in some parts. Also, very good graphical violence.  Also, there's no cheesy romance, innuendo, and despite the heroine bravado, I was grateful she didn't swore like a sailor.

However, Amra never felt like a thief for me. Even a character in the book points that out. I also absolutely was not convinced by her motives at all. Amra and her underworld companions are also too honorable, too honest. They and the setting really needed way more mistrust, mischief, you know, things you expect from thieves and criminals.

Also, Holgren (and magic) were way overpowered. Actually, Amra is saved by him multiple times and he is the one who does most of the job in the book, directly or indirectly. This reduced a lot of tension in the book as well. And when they get who killed her friend, I didn't really care. Neither of them had any buildup with us.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on January 04, 2016, 12:04:43 AM
I will go with one more book from here.

Sins of a Sovereignty, by Plague Jack.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on January 05, 2016, 05:03:00 AM
Finished Sins of a Sovereignty, by Plague Jack. Gave it 3 stars.

This is probably the darkest book on the SPFBO. I commend the author for not holding back. It begins really well, with plenty of violent descriptions and actions. It's also unique it has chemical weapons and soon guns. Humans, elves ,dwarves, faeries, in a modernizing world.

Then near the middle and until the final fifth we receive massive infodumps on culture, techonology, geography, history, etc. It's not even disguised in a good way, there's a lot of clunky dialogue on this. Some actions seemed unclear and others a bit surreal (like the threats of the Blood Queen to two of her most trusted guys, loyals for decades and with no reason to betray her).

In the end there is a very, very good plot twist, but I was sad the violence, gore and its detailed description vanished from the book (until the end, that is). There was a torture scene, an immolation one and another death that could've been much more graphical. Was indifferent to both villains (the one in the present and the one of the past).

This needed much more refinement, specially in the prose, on its key moments.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on January 05, 2016, 06:21:30 PM
Well done for reading them all!

Is that it now, are you finished with the SPFBO books?
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on January 05, 2016, 06:42:10 PM
Still 3 remaining: Shattered Sands, Priest and What Remains of Heroes.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: JMack on January 05, 2016, 07:05:01 PM
Still 3 remaining: Shattered Sands, Priest and What Remains of Heroes.

You know Shattered Sands is by one of our community members? There's a whole read-along section in the book club area.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: DrNefario on January 05, 2016, 07:21:50 PM
Still 3 remaining: Shattered Sands, Priest and What Remains of Heroes.
Those are the three I have read. (Well, okay, I haven't actually read Priest yet, but I've borrowed it from the kindle owners' lending library and will get to it soonish.)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on January 21, 2016, 11:27:04 AM
Almost a month since I last came here. And I have the largest books to read (although Bloodrush was the 2nd one).

I checked the score table and I am actually worried if all books will be read and reviewed. The biggest offender is Elitist Book Reviews.
I wonder if the contest will finish in a totally fair manner, with everyone given a score. Some gave a score, but didn't reviewed it, which I think it was pretty lame.

Gonna go with What Remains of Heroes, by David Benem. It's the one who received the least amount of reviews so far (4). It's also the largest book. Curious the other two are there as well, with only 5 reviews each.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: DrNefario on January 21, 2016, 01:39:13 PM
I thought Weight of a Crown was longer?

I'm thinking that I'm not going to finish all ten before the deadline. I'm 70% through my third book (Priest, which I'm enjoying quite a lot, so far), but they have all been among the longer books, so far. I probably could read the other 7 in time if I didn't want to read other things in between. As it is, I think I might have to delay a couple of the longer ones - probably Blood Rush (my favourite cover) and Weight of a Crown - until after the deadline. Also, I don't actually have City of Burning Shadows, yet, so maybe I'll end up missing that one for now, too.

I think the reviews are being added later, where there are scores with no link.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on January 21, 2016, 01:55:10 PM
I read Under a Colder Sun and The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids in about 3 days.

In order:

What Remains of Heroes - 486
Bloodrush - 480
The Weight of a Crown- 448...or 669. Quite curious, both e-books show very different page numbers. Felt like 448 to me.
Shattered Sands - 445
Priest - 370
City of Burning Shadows - 344
A Soul for Trouble - 338
Sins of a Sovereignty - 336
Under a Colder Sun - 213
The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids - 210


Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: DrNefario on January 21, 2016, 04:50:39 PM
I've got Weight of a Crown as 582. I also have Priest as 437. The rest are more-or-less the same. I think I just took my counts from what Amazon said, so in some cases they will be estimates. Priest doesn't appear to have page numbers in the file, since it's only giving me a location number on my aged kindle.

(I had 377 for What Remains... in my SPFBO spreadsheet, but I've actually recorded 475 in my Books Read spreadsheet, and Amazon says a little more*, so I have no idea where that came from.)

(Yeah, I like spreadsheets.)

*I count the last page of prose as the page count for a book, so my recorded counts will usually be a bit lower.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on January 21, 2016, 05:58:20 PM
I can't remember of a worst first chapter than what I've just read in What Remains of Heroes.

The MC is an old man, drinking over and over in the bar. A gorgeous young noble girl enters with her friend. The friend invites the drunk old man to talk with the girl. He can't believe his luck.
They go outside and he's pretty happy with his luck. The girls really take him to their manse. The friend says the girl is ready. She spreads her legs and he has sex with the young girl, who is also a virgin. Best moment of his life.

Her dad walks in. It just happens to be the archenemy of the MC. He runs away through the window.

The MC returns to the bar. He drinks a bit more, I think. Of course, Archenemy gets the location from his daughter. MC hides. There's a way to escape, but he can't remember.
Archenemy yells to the barkeeper: "Tell me or I will drown you in your cellar!" MC remembers the cellar and escapes the bar.

He somehow returns home, get his sword and armor. He is located, of course. He kills 3 or 4 guys, despite being drunk as hell. He then receives a blow in the head and fall.

Archenemy yells to him (and everyone around) something like: "You fool! I would sacrifice my daughter to gain more power and advantage, because I'm really evil! In fact, I was just going to offer her to the evil necromancers!"

Archenemy apparently remembers who MC is and plans to send him to someplace instead of killing him. End of chapter.

EDIT: Curiously, about 3 minutes later I go to Twitter and Mark Lawrence retweets that Beauty in Ruins just picked this as their favorite in the SPFBO contest.
Maybe it gets really good, but the start was really poor.

My ranking of the books

1. City of Burning Shadows 2 Shattered Sands 3. The Weight of a Crown 4. The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids , the rest  were all ranked the same apart from A soul for Trouble which I couldn't finish
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Barbara J Webb on January 21, 2016, 06:18:49 PM
Almost a month since I last came here. And I have the largest books to read (although Bloodrush was the 2nd one).

I checked the score table and I am actually worried if all books will be read and reviewed. The biggest offender is Elitist Book Reviews.
I wonder if the contest will finish in a totally fair manner, with everyone given a score. Some gave a score, but didn't reviewed it, which I think it was pretty lame.

Gonna go with What Remains of Heroes, by David Benem. It's the one who received the least amount of reviews so far (4). It's also the largest book. Curious the other two are there as well, with only 5 reviews each.

In the first round, EBR was one of the last sites to check in on their reading, and they posted a whole bunch all at once at the end. I think they've got a larger staff of readers, so if each reviewer only has a couple books to read, they're still in good shape.

Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on January 22, 2016, 02:56:03 AM
I've got Weight of a Crown as 582. I also have Priest as 437. The rest are more-or-less the same. I think I just took my counts from what Amazon said, so in some cases they will be estimates. Priest doesn't appear to have page numbers in the file, since it's only giving me a location number on my aged kindle.

(I had 377 for What Remains... in my SPFBO spreadsheet, but I've actually recorded 475 in my Books Read spreadsheet, and Amazon says a little more*, so I have no idea where that came from.)

(Yeah, I like spreadsheets.)

*I count the last page of prose as the page count for a book, so my recorded counts will usually be a bit lower.

I used what was shown in Goodreads. That's some big differences on some. Go figures.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on January 23, 2016, 04:26:42 PM
Finished What Remains of Heroes, by David Benem. Gave it 4 stars.

This actually surprised me, after a really bad start, which I mentioned in the Currently Reading thread.

The narrative has its problems, with a lot of telling instead of showing in description, thoughts and dialogue, but it actually was a good story, I liked how the deities were acting on the world, at least three of them and with a fourth well described.

It appeared it would be a massive cliché story, but it actually didn't. I wonder if the author wrote those initial chapters so bad on purpose.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Caldero81 on February 04, 2016, 03:36:31 AM
Looks like the contest is over.  Elitist Book Reviews single-handedly took most contenders out of contention.  Struck me as suspicious since they are affiliated with the publisher who picked up the thief book for publication. 
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lady Ty on February 04, 2016, 05:29:09 AM
I am rather surprised you joined the forum today in order to make that rather contentious comment. Do you have some particular vested interest of your own?
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Saraband on February 04, 2016, 10:20:01 AM
At the moment, Shattered Sands is the one with the least reviews, and that doesn't make me nervous at all. Not really. Not even anxious or anything. No.

(http://cdn.ymaservices.com/editorial_service/media/images/000/038/360/original/worrying1.gif.gif?1404204262)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: ScarletBea on February 04, 2016, 10:59:18 AM
At the moment, Shattered Sands is the one with the least reviews, and that doesn't make me nervous at all. Not really. Not even anxious or anything. No.
They're saving the best until last 8)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: xiagan on February 04, 2016, 12:20:42 PM
At the moment, Shattered Sands is the one with the least reviews, and that doesn't make me nervous at all. Not really. Not even anxious or anything. No.

(http://cdn.ymaservices.com/editorial_service/media/images/000/038/360/original/worrying1.gif.gif?1404204262)
Yeah, I wondered why. Is there a reason? What happens if not every reviewer reads all books?
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Saraband on February 04, 2016, 12:42:44 PM
Yeah, I wondered why. Is there a reason? What happens if not every reviewer reads all books?

No idea. Whoever is responsible for Fantasy Faction's reviews in the contest may be able to answer you, but I don't know if any of the writers taking part would know. There's still a month to go, and only 26 reviews left, so there's still time for the ones further behind in their reviews to catch up  :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: DrNefario on February 04, 2016, 01:49:32 PM
Looks like the contest is over.  Elitist Book Reviews single-handedly took most contenders out of contention.  Struck me as suspicious since they are affiliated with the publisher who picked up the thief book for publication.
You could always do some ski-jumping/figure-skating scoring, and discard the highest and lowest before taking the average.

Anyway, are we sure those new EBR scores aren't out of 5? At present, they've given Priest the lowest score of anyone for any book, and it's my favourite of the three I've read (although, to be fair, there wasn't much between them.)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Overlord on February 04, 2016, 02:47:09 PM
Looks like the contest is over.  Elitist Book Reviews single-handedly took most contenders out of contention.  Struck me as suspicious since they are affiliated with the publisher who picked up the thief book for publication.

Hmm... I will withhold my thoughts on possible reasons behind this, but I do feel sorry for the authors.

I do think we've been quite generous, but that is in this website's nature. We could probably drop each book a point or two if comparing them to say Brandon Sanderson or Patrick Rothfuss, etc, but I've tried to keep the scores in context of the SPFBO.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Barbara J Webb on February 04, 2016, 02:51:58 PM
At the moment, Shattered Sands is the one with the least reviews, and that doesn't make me nervous at all. Not really. Not even anxious or anything. No.

(http://cdn.ymaservices.com/editorial_service/media/images/000/038/360/original/worrying1.gif.gif?1404204262)

Possibly a really good sign? A lot of the bloggers seem to save their favorite few for the last reviews they do.

Could be awesome!
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Arry on February 04, 2016, 03:43:36 PM
Looks like the contest is over.  Elitist Book Reviews single-handedly took most contenders out of contention.  Struck me as suspicious since they are affiliated with the publisher who picked up the thief book for publication.

I think it's fair if that's what they feel the book deserved. I have read published books I have rated that low, it happens. Also, Thief is not their highest rated book currently, so I don't know that is their motivation at all.


At the moment, Shattered Sands is the one with the least reviews, and that doesn't make me nervous at all. Not really. Not even anxious or anything. No.

I noticed that too. Who knows what caused that. But, I know Lynn from Lynn's book has finished reading it, so her review should be along sometime soon. (haven't heard any hints or mentions as to what she thought)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lanko on February 04, 2016, 04:16:17 PM
Hm, except for What Remains of Heroes and Priest (that I haven't read yet), the scores on EBR are pretty much on par with mine. And I can even understand the 4 for WRoH, it starts really bad. But the expected cliches not happening in the end and a certain character made the book work for me.

I read their reviews of City of Burning Shadows and The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids and they are pretty much exactly how I felt about the books. The only exception is that on Thief he liked Holgren (a sidekick) being proeminent in the story, while I felt he overshadowed the protagonist. And City is even the book with the highest score by them.

I'm actually more puzzled by the scores given without a review (and not just by EBR). What they thought of the books? What was good and bad? Also, the feedback would be invaluable for the authors too, I believe.

About the least amount of reviews for Shattered Sands, it was tied with Heroes and Priest at four reviews each a few days ago. Then someone told me they were the longest books, so maybe they were saved for last because of length? They seem to be picking up reviews now (although Bloodrush is the 2nd longest I think and didn't had this problem). For the record, I read Colder Sun,Thief and Sins in three days, I think (they have 200 pages, Sins around 300).

I was planning to read Sands (and Priest) this month. But there's a lot going on in the moment, and the carnival is just starting. I'm a week into Lies of Locke Lamora and I still didn't reached the halfway point, while in normal circumstances I would be finished by now!
But don't worry, people will read it. And people here said it was really good and this word of mouth has a lot of weight (or even more).
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on February 04, 2016, 05:30:46 PM
@Lanko (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40739) head to the Shattered Sands read along when you eventually read Sands. it's one of the best In the Final,It's in my personal top 3  ;D along with City of Burning Shadows and the Weight of the Crown

Already read the sequel to the Weight of the Crown  ;D


I want to see the Fantasy Faction review for A Soul for Trouble



Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Rostum on February 04, 2016, 05:43:29 PM
Quote
Looks like the contest is over.  Elitist Book Reviews single-handedly took most contenders out of contention.  Struck me as suspicious since they are affiliated with the publisher who picked up the thief book for publication. 

Oh wow I am Glad i logged in tonight.

That would be a remarkably silly thing to do, let a publisher who throws you a bone once in a while influence your scoring and risk your credibility with your blog readers.

From the other perspective Mark who has likely has forgotten more about statistical analysis than I ever intend to know would somehow not notice if scores out of 10 being skewed in favour of a book by 0NE reviewer out of how many was it again....oh ten. without being bothered to check scoring a nine and then nine fours would be unlikely to get you an invitation to play next year. I suspect all scoring from all reviewers would plot out to show a similar disparity range, but I am not going to do so.

I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next paranoid depressive and am delighted you took the time to create an account and share, but even I would need a bit more to go on than the book that got picked up by a publisher was given a high score by a reviewer who has dealings with the publisher. Perhaps the reviewer put in a word and suggested they read it before anyone else got in there and snapped it up. Just a thought.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Lady Ty on February 05, 2016, 02:24:56 AM
Just checked out various parts of the EBR blog and it is clear they are very hard markers. They stated they were going to approach this like agents and with their original twenty seven allocated that they would judge on first chapter or fifty pages before making their first choice for the final ten, which was The Thief, way back last March.

Also indicated they did not make a habit of reviewing these type of books.
Quote
EBR doesn’t typically accept self-pubbed work for review, but this was a a great opportunity to do so.

Having got down to final ten there is a comment in their review of City of Burning Shadow that the reviewer has only finished two, left the rest unfinished.  They may have applied another harsh agent-type  procedure in a similar way with these, but that's their prerogative. Presumably reason for those low scores, assessed on what they read before they gave up. The Thief and The City are the only two actually given a review on the blog so far.

I am assuming that because they and others have not given Shattered Sands a score so far they are still reading it, or planning to read it and finish it, there is still a while before March. It is a long book @Saraband (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32607), it is long book. ;D  ;D
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mr.J on February 05, 2016, 12:09:04 PM
Ooh a conspiracy theory?
(http://media1.giphy.com/media/f31DK1KpGsyMU/giphy.gif)
I'll get Mulder and Scully on the case.

Also think I'll read a couple of these, the Thief one is free on kindle so it's obviously a good starting place...but I do want to read @Saraband (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32607) too, about the only other one that sounds interesting. :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: DrNefario on February 05, 2016, 01:30:26 PM
Three or four were free, when I checked, then another three or four were available from the Kindle Lending Library via my Prime subscription. And then almost all of the others have been free at some point since I started checking, and there's only one I haven't been able to get hold of for nowt. On the other hand, the Lending Library ones are the only ones I've read, because they had a deadline.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on February 13, 2016, 11:09:21 AM
More reviews in

I think my tastes line up mostly with Fantasy book review and the Fictional Hangout
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mark Lawrence on February 19, 2016, 08:24:45 AM
The conspiracy theory is postulated and answered in the last 3 comments on the SPFBO page:

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/final-round-self-published-fantasy-blog.html
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: ScarletBea on February 19, 2016, 08:41:10 AM
Some people are such bad losers ::)

(whoever 'Caldero'/Anonymous is)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Saraband on February 19, 2016, 09:32:34 AM
Some people are such bad losers ::)

(whoever 'Caldero'/Anonymous is)

It seems like making the top 10 of 250 self-published books isn't enough of an achievement for people to be happy with  ::)

I know how happy I am to have come this far, judging by the reviews we are likely to get a very worthy winner  :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Arry on February 19, 2016, 09:55:18 AM
Some people are such bad losers ::)

(whoever 'Caldero'/Anonymous is)

Yep, definitely sounds like the same guy. Funny thing is, I suspect if you take out all of EBR scores, don't think it will change the results. Most of the lower scoring books were already out of reach of the top spot (don't have the ability to verify this right now, but can when I'm on a computer instead of mobile)

Like Sarabrand said, it should be an honor just to have been selected. All of these books have received more exposure/attention/reviews than they would have without the competition.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Saraband on February 19, 2016, 10:23:31 AM
Like Sarabrand said, it should be an honor just to have been selected. All of these books have received more exposure/attention/reviews than they would have without the competition.

This, many times this. I now have a much clearer idea of where the faults are in my book, and how I can work to improve it if I am to have a shot at becoming traditionally published. Not only the reviews from the various blogs, but also from the many readers that were attracted to these books only because of the contest.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on February 19, 2016, 12:18:29 PM
It is a competition - people get caught up in it and miss the big picture, I think.

My book, brilliant work of genius that it is, got a good review from BookwormBlues, but didn't get through the 2nd round - that damn fine fellow Ben Galley beat me (and a few others) to the punch.

Once it was clear, I was out, I could start reading and reviewing (and I try to stay away from reviewing as much as I can - shooting myself in the foot springs to mind) for the #SPFBO. I've been the lowest scorer on FF (I think), but I've tried to be clear why in my reviews... and I got accused on the Under a Cold Sun review of something - still not quite sure what, in the comments below the review:

"I find it odd that a contestant in the SPFBO is now a judge in the matter. F-F has had some interesting reviews in this,"

It doesn't bother me. If someone doesn't like my opinion of a book, good - read it, form your own opinion and tell folks why you loved it.

The BIG PICTURE is simple:

Every book that got a review gained more exposure than it would have without the #SPFBO and for a self-pub author that is gold!


If an author got a review they weren't pleased with... welcome to publishing... you're not alone. Lots of Traditionally published and very successful authors have those. Joe Abercrombie even publishes his on Amazon - genius and funny.

Conspiracy... no. There were just some books that were better, more appealing, more commercial, more refined, more zietgiest, more in the paradigm, more <chose your own here> than some of the others.

Life, eh? :)

Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on February 19, 2016, 12:40:42 PM
As a reader whose read  9 of the books and one Dnf, I respect the reviews even if I disagree with their scores. I will be avoiding the review sites who gave a high score to my dnf in future through as we must have different tastes in stories hehe and that's okay.

I will be following three authors with interest  who I wouldn't have before this contest and found a few review sites I've not heard of before who align with my book tastes.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Raptori on February 19, 2016, 12:57:57 PM
Average score comparison:

(http://oi66.tinypic.com/2j2yfz8.jpg)

So if you remove EBR, several pairs of books swap position: Blood Rush & The Weight of a Crown, City of Burning Shadows & What Remains of Heroes, and Shattered Sands & Under a Colder Sun. Those also happen to be books with reviews still to come, so they're the ones where EBR's review has the greatest effect on the average.

One of those which doesn't change position is The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids, so... yeah.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: DrNefario on February 19, 2016, 01:44:08 PM
There will be plenty of ways to analyse the numbers, if people want to get into that. You can't really be sure that the different sites are rating to the same scale, and any site which has a larger spread of scores is going to have slightly more weight in the overall rankings. I doubt that anything is going to move that dramatically, though.

I mentioned before that many judged sports discard the highest and lowest marks before taking the average. Another possible option would be turn the scores into preference order, and work it like that, maybe with transferable votes, like the Hugo.

If people really want to go into that level of analysis, they can. The numbers are right there. I think you've got to be a bit too bothered about it, though...

Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Barbara J Webb on February 19, 2016, 02:19:27 PM
It's such a weird accusation since, as others have mentioned, there aren't any real stakes to this "contest." The prize is that we all get reviews and exposure. And that we get just for showing up as finalists.

I can't pretend a lack of bias towards EBR. (I'm their current highest scoring review. Of course, I think they are the awesomest.) But as Mark pointed out in his comment over there, this is a small, incestuous business, where a whole lot of people are publishing-siblings with a whole lot of other people. Beyond that, a whole lot of us are simply friends, because we're all fans together.

I'm going to rate this conspiracy theory a 3. The character motivations simply don't hold together, and the world-building doesn't impress me. An interesting conflict at first glance, but it falls apart when you think about it too hard.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: DrNefario on February 19, 2016, 02:25:19 PM
I've only read three of the books, so far, but even with that tiny sample none of the ten blogs have rated the three books in the same order that I did. There are two which still potentially could, when they rate the third book. One of them is Fantasy Faction.

(For the record:

1. Priest
2. What Remains of Heroes
3. Shattered Sands

although there's not a lot of absolute points difference between the three of them.)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Overlord on February 27, 2016, 01:39:24 PM
The Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off has come to an end. Huge congratulations to the winner. We choose Ben Galley's BloodRush as our favourite, with The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids a VERY close second (we gave them the same score, but felt Ben's was a little more original and finished stronger - leaving us dying to pick up the sequel). Shattered Sands was our third favourite, we felt that the depth of the world, twists and complexities justified this. Also, considering the author was a non-native, the prose is fluent and adds to the whole experience which makes this book seem far shorter than the tome it actually is. I think Sands left you feeling that this book 'could' have been the winner with a little more work. I'm not sure if any of the others left us feeling that same way (although there were plenty of others we thoroughly enjoyed).

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/the-self-published-fantasy-blog-off.html (http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/the-self-published-fantasy-blog-off.html)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: ScarletBea on February 27, 2016, 01:51:20 PM
Shattered Sands was our third favourite, we felt that the depth of the world, twists and complexities justified this. Also, considering the author was a non-native, the prose is fluent and adds to the whole experience which makes this book seem far shorter than the tome it actually is. I think Sands left you feeling that this book 'could' have been the winner with a little more work. I'm not sure if any of the others left us feeling that same way (although there were plenty of others we thoroughly enjoyed).

Wahey @Saraband (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32607)!
This is great, thanks Marc,

Miguel, now you have to write book 2 :D
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on February 27, 2016, 02:20:54 PM
Sands was my second favourite of the ten, my favourite was CoBS  ;D and I found two review sites who seem to mostly like the same books as me The fictional hangout and Fantasy book review so glad I read all ten books  ;D

and I've already read the sequel to the Weight of the Crown my third favourite

@Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840) if you remove the highest and lowest score from the results do we get any changes?
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Saraband on February 27, 2016, 03:42:24 PM
The Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off has come to an end. Huge congratulations to the winner. We choose Ben Galley's BloodRush as our favourite, with The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids a VERY close second (we gave them the same score, but felt Ben's was a little more original and finished stronger - leaving us dying to pick up the sequel). Shattered Sands was our third favourite, we felt that the depth of the world, twists and complexities justified this. Also, considering the author was a non-native, the prose is fluent and adds to the whole experience which makes this book seem far shorter than the tome it actually is. I think Sands left you feeling that this book 'could' have been the winner with a little more work. I'm not sure if any of the others left us feeling that same way (although there were plenty of others we thoroughly enjoyed).

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/the-self-published-fantasy-blog-off.html (http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/the-self-published-fantasy-blog-off.html)

Those are some very kind comments Marc (@Overlord (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1)), thanks so much  :) I'll admit that the one review I have been looking forward to the most is by Fantasy Faction. I joined these forums right after I finished Shattered Sands, but they still had a significant impact on the book as I learned so much from here which I went on to incorporate in my rewritings of the first drafts.

I'm excited to say that I have taken in most of the reviews and comments about my book, and will now undergo a significant process to try and improve, to the best of my ability, the bones of what I already have. This cannot go without thanking the various people from these forums who were kind enough to share their thoughts in the Read Along thread, or all the messages that I received privately. @Eclipse (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=9661), @Rostum (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=40251), @Jmack (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=37094), @Doctor_Chill (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=14655) and @Lady_Ty (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=31869), I cannot tell you how humbled I am by the generosity of your time and advice in regards to my book. @ScarletBea (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32020), who's also been my pen pal for a long time now, and @Idlewilder (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=13358), who's now my fellow countryman and also kind enough to spend part of his time helping me.

Also goes without saying that this wouldn't all be happening if Mark Lawrence hadn't put it together, so I'm very grateful to him too.

So, all in all, I couldn't be happier with the experience. Reaching the top 10 was a superb experience, and it gave me a much needed boost for my confidence at this point. It has also given me the motivation to address Shattered Sands in order to make it better, before going on this journey.  :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Eurog on February 27, 2016, 03:52:12 PM
Wow, glad to know how much I mattered by not being mentioned, @Saraband (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32607)...  :P
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: ScarletBea on February 27, 2016, 04:14:02 PM
Wow, glad to know how much I mattered by not being mentioned, @Saraband (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=32607)...  :P
You're from home-home, not FF-home
He can tell you all these sweet things personally, plus kisses and all
 ;D
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: eclipse on February 27, 2016, 04:18:24 PM
Can I ask a question for @Barbara J Webb

In your novel your MC is Black which is great the more diversity we have in fantasy can only be good, what made you write a character of the opposite sex and colour to you was it to push yourself as a writer? also in this world do people suffer from Prejudice for having different skin tones or is it's not much of a big deal as Humans have to deal with non-humans in your world?

P.s I love your cover for City of Burning Shadows
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Barbara J Webb on February 27, 2016, 06:45:01 PM
Can I ask a question for @Barbara J Webb

In your novel your MC is Black which is great the more diversity we have in fantasy can only be good, what made you write a character of the opposite sex and colour to you was it to push yourself as a writer? also in this world do people suffer from Prejudice for having different skin tones or is it's not much of a big deal as Humans have to deal with non-humans in your world?

P.s I love your cover for City of Burning Shadows

What a great question!

So this is actually a topic I've put a lot of thought into, so I will try not to ramble on for days with my answer.

Gender first--writing guys is easy. It's still a sad truth that most of the media we consume is made primarily of male characters, so I grew up immersed in stories by and about men. (This is why, in general, women have an easier time writing men than the reverse. I'd even go a step forward and say women suffer from a similar difficulty in writing solid female characters, as we all grew up in the same unbalanced representational culture. Women have their own experience to draw on, but no one woman is all women, so we're still working from a handicap.)

As for why he's a person of color--yes, diversity, but also worldbuilding. In our world, if you take the population of the world as a whole, white people are the minority. And I'm tired of fantasy settings that are white white white, especially when I've read some fun research talking about how whiteness was kind of an accident tied to (and this is REALLY simplified) the weird climate of Europe and how it made grain and cows easier to grow.

So my starting premise for this world was that the majority of people in the world, like our world, were people of color. So when it came time to populate Miroc, I decided the overwhelming majority of people in this part of the world were black.

As far as skin-color based prejudice, there's nothing exactly like what exists on Earth, because--for several reasons--there's not a history of colonialism. There was no British Empire. There was never a slave trade. A lot of the cultural and tribal triggers of our world never happened.

On the other hand, I believe humans are a tribal sort of people. We instinctively like people who are like us and mistrust people who aren't. The presence of the other races doesn't automatically unify humans into one big happy family. Both the person who looks like a bird and the person who has really different skin are obviously not my people, and so there's going to be prejudice. Just not the systematic racism that exists, for example, in modern America.

And thanks on the cover! I really love it too. Jordan Grimmer is my artist, and he's simply amazing.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Raptori on February 27, 2016, 08:08:35 PM
@Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840) if you remove the highest and lowest score from the results do we get any changes?
If you remove the highest and lowest score from each story, there are no changes to the order at all, weirdly enough, except that City of Burning Shadows, Sins of a Sovereignty, and What Remains of Heroes would all be tied.

Removing the highest and lowest scores from each reviewer doesn't really work, since several gave the same rating to multiple stories. It doesn't make sense to remove it from only one of them, and removing any that equal their highext/lowest rating means that some stories have full sets of ratings while others have only six or so - Blood Rush only has four - so the comparison loses any real meaning.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: JMack on February 27, 2016, 09:03:01 PM
Where exactly is the website where all this is tracked?
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Arry on February 27, 2016, 09:54:18 PM
Where exactly is the website where all this is tracked?

I think the link is above as well in Overlord's post (unless I am not understanding what you are looking for).
http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/the-self-published-fantasy-blog-off.html

Anyway, it was interesting watching all this. And also I think it is interesting how 40% picked Ben Galley's book as their favorite. Honestly, I almost feel like might carry a bit more weight for me than how the actual winner was selected, but not by much.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: ScarletBea on February 27, 2016, 09:56:57 PM
And also I think it is interesting how 40% picked Ben Galley's book as their favorite. Honestly, I almost feel like might carry a bit more weight for me than how the actual winner was selected, but not by much.
I thought this too, when I was checking how many 'this was my favourite' each book had :)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on March 06, 2016, 12:55:34 PM
I read quite a few of the #SPFBO books, maybe 17 or 18 (I know not even 10% of all those entered) and there were some I liked that didn't make it through the first round or got through and didn't win;

Black Cross by J P Ashman
Lady of the Helm by T O Munro
Exile by James Cormier
Fae, The Wild Hunt by Graham Austin-King
City of Burning Shadows by Barbara Webb
Priest by Matt Collville

and a cheeky nod to another book too :)

I blogged, wrote a little about it here: http://bit.ly/1R0ZeQu (http://bit.ly/1R0ZeQu)

There are some really good self-pub books out there. Some classic in tone, some that push a boundary or two, and most of them cost less than a cup of coffee.

Anyway, from the SPFBO process those above are my favourites so far. I am going to read Ben's soon (have to see how he beat mine to the punch (both 4/5* from Bookwormblues, but he edged it... the git :) ) and then Michael's.


Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mark Lawrence on March 10, 2016, 12:56:48 PM
There's an Ask Me Anything about the SPFBO on reddit right now.

I'm hoping the authors and bloggers will answer the questions, not me. So go - ask - answer!

https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/49t7tl/hi_reddit_we_are_the_bloggers_and_authors_of_the/
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Saraband on March 10, 2016, 01:01:41 PM
There's an Ask Me Anything about the SPFBO on reddit right now.

I'm hoping the authors and bloggers will answer the questions, not me. So go - ask - answer!

https://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/49t7tl/hi_reddit_we_are_the_bloggers_and_authors_of_the/

Time to finally create that Reddit account!  ;)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: JamesLatimer on March 10, 2016, 03:41:32 PM
Time to finally create that Reddit account!  ;)
Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate...
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Rostum on April 04, 2016, 01:58:34 AM
Submissions being taken for SFFBO 2 at the moment should any of you not be aware.

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/ (http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: ScarletBea on April 04, 2016, 09:25:33 AM
Submissions being taken for SFFBO 2 at the moment should any of you not be aware.

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/ (http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/)

http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/links-competitions-and-%27stuff%27/spfbo-2!-go-and-enter/ (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/links-competitions-and-%27stuff%27/spfbo-2!-go-and-enter/)
 ;D

(great minds and all, hehe)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Rostum on April 04, 2016, 03:41:27 PM
Quote
http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/links-competitions-and-%27stuff%27/spfbo-2!-go-and-enter/
 ;D

(great minds and all, hehe)

The more visability the better.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Saraband on April 13, 2016, 07:33:03 AM
All the ten finalists of the SPFBO are now being sold as part of a StoryBundle, so here's a great chance to grab them all at a discount while donating a percentage of your profits to charity. They are all DRM free, and come in both epub and mobi formats.

Here's the link:
https://storybundle.com/indie (https://storybundle.com/indie)

Enjoy  :D
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on April 13, 2016, 05:45:46 PM
My thoughts, from the other thread, on #SPFBO#1 and some advice too... for what it is worth:

bit.ly/GRMSPFBO  (http://bit.ly/GRMSPFBO)
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Mark Lawrence on April 18, 2016, 10:04:42 AM
Fantasy-Faction are on board for SPFBO 2016!

Four new blog-judges announced.

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/spfbo2.html
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: G_R_Matthews on April 18, 2016, 07:55:13 PM
288 Books... that's a lot of books!
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: DrNefario on April 19, 2016, 01:36:01 PM
I guess you don't really want to add extra blogs, either, or you'll end up with more finalists.
Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Jeznasty on April 20, 2016, 07:49:31 PM

Book : Dragon spindle (book1)
Series : Ningazia balance saga
Author : Jethro J Burch

Title: Re: Final Round: Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off
Post by: Rostum on April 20, 2016, 08:19:23 PM
Quote
Book : Dragon spindle (book1)
Series : Ningazia balance saga
Author : Jethro J Burch

Are you in the right place?

http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/spfbo2.html (http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/spfbo2.html)