The 8th Annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off – Introductions & Book List

2022 JUN SPFBO (detail)

It’s that time of year again Factioneers! In the north spring is coming to an end. In the south winter is on its way. And that means it is time for the 8th Annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off to begin!

We at Fantasy-Faction have been judging the contest since its inception way back in 2015. Along the way we have discovered some amazing self-published books and authors and had the privilege to share them with you!

How It Works

For those who are new to our site or new to the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (or SPFBO), let me explain how it works.

Before the contest begins, self-published authors submit their stories, until 300 entries are received. Then those 300 books are divided between ten different SFF review blogs. This year, those blogs are:

Each blog reads through their slush pile of thirty books and picks their favorite to go onto the finals. This works differently for each blog, but here we review five books at a time, saving our favorite five for last. Then each of our five semi-finalists gets its own review, then we announce our winner.

After all winners have been picked, each blog reads the other nine finalists, and rates them on a scale of 10. Whichever book scores the highest is the winner!

What Books Are We Reading?

Here is our list of 30 books for round one of this year’s contest. They are listed in alphabetical order by title. You can click on each book to see its Goodreads (or Amazon) page. If you like you can check out all the covers on our Pinterest board here.

You can see the entire list of 300 books on Mark Lawrence’s website.

Who Will Be Judging?

Our judging team is more compact this year, but we are all excited to start reading our list! Our tastes rang across the board, and we can’t wait to see what the authors have for us this year! Let me introduce our team.

Julia Kitvaria Sarene

Julia has been a bookseller and purchaser in Germany since 2003. Her love of books only grew over the years, just as her love for fantasy and sci-fi did! She is especially interested in indie publishing and discovering new talents, she has been a judge for SPFBO since 2018. She reads every subgenre and style of fantasy, as long as it’s not overly romantic! If she’s not reading, she likes to stalk (foam!) animals with her bow and arrows. And we simply won’t mention her audiobook addiction here…

Kartik Narayanan

Kartik loves books and has been reading since he can remember. He generally reads all kinds of books but some genres like SFF and non-fiction involving science and maths are more equal than others. When growing up, he was influenced by Gerald Durrell and James Herriot. So naturally he ended up working in the IT industry. Somewhere along the line, he discovered Isaac Asimov and Terry Pratchett and that’s when his obsession with SFF started. He lives in India with his wife and his two daughters, all of whom spend most of their spare time reading.

Kerry Smith

Kerry lives in Wellington, New Zealand and this is her 3rd year as a judge for Fantasy-Faction. She has been an avid reader from a very early age and fell in love with fantasy when she discovered different worlds at the top of a magic tree. She enjoys most sub-genres of fantasy though she tends to avoid reading books that are reverse harem and overly sex filled. When she’s not reading, Kerry volunteers at a charity shop/drop in centre for the local LGBTQI community. She can be found on Goodreads, Storygraph and Readerly under the name Kerry Smith.

Max Freeman

Max is a Hufflepuff that no longer likes J. K. Rowling. A movie geek that hates sad endings. Works as a caregiver to the disabled, and lives at the beach. He is usually playing tabletop games, reading fantasy/sci-fi, and working on his bizarre novels.

Jennie Ivins (Me)

Jennie is the editor of Fantasy-Faction. She is also stay-at-home mom from New Jersey with three autistic boys, a fantasy writer, computer addict, and lover of geeky things! She is also going to be the one posting the reviews, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask her (me).

– – –

So that’s us and the contest. We will be posting an article about once a month as we let go five books at a time. The first will be in June. Stay tuned to see what gems we find this year in the 8th Annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off!

Good luck to everyone competing and may the best book win! Happy Reading!

If you’d like to follow along more closely, you can join the SPFBO Facebook group and follow the #SPFBO tag on Twitter! You can also keep up to date with all the books’ scores on Mark Lawrence’s website!


By Jennie Ivins

Jennie is the Editor of Fantasy-Faction. She lives with her math loving husband and their three autistic boys (one set of twins & one singleton). In-between her online life and being a stay-at-home mom, she is writing her first fantasy series. She also enjoys photography, art, cooking, computers, science, history, and anything else shiny that happens across her field of vision. You can find her on Twitter @autumn2may.

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