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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

SPFBO 2017: An Introduction & What Comes Next (by Mihir Wanchoo)


SPFBO 2016 was an absolute hoot for me. After the prime edition, all of us bloggers were wondering how the sequel would turn out to be. Turns out that my fears were just silly, SPFBO 2016 was a rank & file improvement in the books, book covers and basically made our love for this contest grow stronger.

So here we are after that exciting finish in which The Grey Bastards won the Selfie Stick award in a blazing manner & juggernauted its way into most of the readers hearts as well as got a snazzy traditional publishing contract as well. Now this was an entirely unexpected twist and something that no one expected. I don’t want authors to enter with the expectation that you *will* get a traditional publishing contract if you win.

No! That might not be the case but what you will get is lots of love, a healthy amount of reviews and targeted attention from an audience of readers who are always on the lookout to discover the next best thing a la Senlin Ascends or The Grey Bastards or our favorite Paternus.

Moving on, Mark Lawrence has our eternal gratitude for his unflagging zeal for running this contest and being so approachable. All ten bloggers have their lots allotted to them and these are the 30 titles from which our finalist will arise:

- The Arbiter by M.M. Perry

- Miss Landon and Aubranael by Charlotte E. English

- Forgotten Relics by Tiffany Cherney

- The Slave From The East by Victor Poole

- The Heartstone Thief by Pippa DaCosta

- The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale by Danielle E Shipley

- The Woven Ring by M. D. Presley

- Shadows for a Princess by Dominique Kristine

- Warcaster by J.C. Staudt

- The Defenders' Apprentice by Amelia Smith

- The Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson

- Thunder Hunter by Rachel Medhurst

- The Lion Mistress by R.A. Steffan

- Gods of Color by C.H. Baum

- Nefertiti's Heart by A.W. Exley

- Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds by Dale Kutzera

- The Songweaver's Vow by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

- The Burglar of Sliceharbour by Jason A Holt

- Haven of Shadows by Ken Lozito

- Absence of Color by S.K. Wee

- The Half Killed by Quenby Olson

- Where The Waters Turn Black by Benedict Patrick

- The Hiss of the Blade by Richard Writhen

- The Rift by J.T. Stoll

- The General's Legacy by Adrian G Hilder

- Dybsy by A.M. Macdonald

- The Waterfall Traveler by S.J. Lem

- Wrath of the Exiled by Dhesan Neil Pillay

- Night of the Chalk by Samuel Gately 

- Into Exile by Derek Siddoway

This year though, Fantasy Book Critic is doing things a tad differently after learning from my past two experiences. My co-editor Cindy is joining me in this contest which means that authors you will have a lesser wait time. Cindy and me will be combing through our lot and reading the first five chapters or the first 50 pages (whichever is longer). We will then be selecting about 6-7 titles that we think are the strongest of the lot in terms of story/plot, characterization & writing style. These will become our semi-finalists. We will try to post our thoughts on each book but that might not always be possible. We will ideally go through batches of five books and announce one semi-finalist each time. However that might not always be possible as we might not like any book in that batch of five.

The aim is to select 6-7 best titles and so at the end of six rounds, we will announce all the semi-finalists (if we haven't selected any so far). All of these 6-7 titles will be getting mini-reviews and we will be offering each author an interview to go along with the review (similar to what I did the last time). Authors please understand the main reason why we are not able to offer reviews to all of our 30 books as FBC is a passion project outside of our professional and personal lives. We strive to make sure that our reviews truly reflect how we feel about the books that we read and enjoy. Authors please don’t feel slighted if your book isn’t selected. It doesn’t mean that it was a crappy book but simply that it didn’t match our tastes and hence it wasn’t put forward. The books that we love might not always be the ones that you like and vice versa. Keep in mind that we will do our best to select the book that we feel is the best of our lot (irrespective of the sub-genre it inhabits within fantasy)

From the last couple of times, I’ve also learnt that we aren’t the quickest in terms of finishing through our lot so authors please feel to email us at fantasybookcriticblog@gmail .com or message us on Facebook or Twitter asking for updates or any other queries. I promise we are very friendly and will do our best to reply back promptly. If you just want to say hello or have other ideas, we welcome them :)

So let the contest begin and we can’t wait to find out the gems in our lot.

NOTE: SPFBO Towers banner thanks to Sally over at the Qwillery.

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