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Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Great Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off by Mark Lawrence & various bloggers

Self-published authors have it quite tough, usually they are disregarded by many readers and review sites. Among the few that do review them, the self-pubbed/indie crowd has tough completion with traditionally published authors and their works. All in all for them, it’s more than just an uphill climb. Which is why I want to thank Mark Lawrence for coming up with this massive idea and blog-off for giving all self-published authors a chance at recognition, reviews and hopefully great press.

Nearly a month ago Mark announced this competition, wherein he asked for author to submit their works to be judged by 10 fantasy review blogs. Previously he had sent out a call for bloggers to participate. In this endeavor, reader & blogger extraordinaire Sarah Chorn of Bookworm Blues admirably helped out with logistics and was the first volunteer blogger to sign up for this.

At Fantasy Book Critic, we have prided ourselves on trying to give Indie and self-published books a fair shake amidst the traditional author books. This has lead us to discover talented folks such as Michael J, Sullivan, Anthony Ryan, David Dalglish to just name a few.

Amid such a fantastic role-call, it was all I could do to not volunteer. Mark was very gracious enough to grant me a place among esteemed bloggers such Ria (Bibliotropic), Bob M. (Beauty In Ruins), Tyson Mauermann (Speculative Book Review) and many others. These bloggers are people whose choices I pay attention to as well as consider them my friends. So after getting close to 300 title entries, Mark disseminated these titles among the 10 of us and I have gotten the following titles allotted to me:

1. Corey Bryers – Scrapper
2. Alex ZiebartBlood and Masks
3. Beth LyonsThe Soul Thief
4. Scott WarrenSorcerous Crimes Division: Devil Bone
5. Domino FinnShade City
6. David TatumThe Kitsune Stratagem
7. Charlotte CyprusKiss of the Fae
8. Scott McGowanBjorn and Bread
9. Greg James – Under A Colder Sun
10. Andy CrawfordThe Pen is Mightier
11. Brian LynchKing Callie
12. Christopher RuzCentury of Sand
13. Anthony LoweCity of Blades
14. Eric KnightWreckers Gate
15. Melissa PorterPurple
16. Rachel BowdenArtisan
17. Annika HowellsHow to disappear completely
18. Wilf Jones The Best of Men
19. Robert MullinBid the gods arise
20. Sean MoranA Time of Kings
21. Rob DonovanRitual of the Stones
22. Randall FitzgeraldNo One’s Chosen
23. Nat Russo Necromancer Awakening
24. A. Murtagh Soldiers
25. Jenny WatsonSpirit’s Mage
26. Ken LimThe Starfall Knight
27. Victor SalinasThe Sword and its Servant

The idea is for all of us to choose one worthy title among the all titles in our list and then pitch it to the rest of us as to why we feel it as the best. Eventually one winner will be announced among all such worthy titles. I plan to do a major review of the best book I choose and also do as many mini-reviews of the books from the above list. I’ll be stating my reasons for books which I’m not able to finish or didn’t enjoy.

Since I’m a bit strapped for time, I’ll be a bit stricter than I usually am while reviewing titles for FBC. So I hope you all join us bloggers amidst our search for the next fantasy self-pubbed breakout star. Here’s what my compatriots have been up to so far:

Bob Milne of Beauty in Ruins on blurbs, covers, and titles.
Lynn Williams of Lynn's Books reviews His Own Good Sword by Amanda McCrina.
Ria of Bibliotropic on titles, covers, and blurbs.
Sarah Chorn of Bookworm Blues divides to conquer!
Elitist Book Reviews outline their slush-strategy.
An update from Lynn's Books.
Here an 11th man has a sift through the slush.
On The Fictional Hangout Milo reviews Fire and Ice by Patty Jansen.
Ria of Bibliotropic reviews Son of a Dark Wizard.
Ria of Bibliotropic starts an update list.
Elitist Book Reviews like The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids.

As for me, I’ve already selected my first title among the bunch selected for me. I’m currently reading Sorcerous Crimes Division: Devil Bone by Scott Warren. What drew me to it was the mix of procedural noir and fantasy in its blurb which reminded me greatly of Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos and Daniel Polansky’s Low Town trilogy. So far I’m very much enjoying it and I’ll be posting my thoughts on it soon.


Bob/Sally said...

I've got 2 more review/tour commitments to read through, and then I plan to tackle 5 of mine (completely at random) to see what works for me and what doesn't. Anything I read through to the end I'll review, and the rest I'll at least comment on.

Sorcerous Crimes Division looks like a good place to start!

The Reader said...

Hi Bob,

Thanks and the amount of reviews you do leaves me looking sheepishly at my TBR :)

Sorcerous Crimes Division caught my eye with its blurb and so far, it has been very good. I'll look forward to your thoughts on the books you select.


Anonymous said...

Thanks! Now I'm off to check what the other bloggers are saying about the blog-off!

Robert Mullin said...

Honored to be among such company! Will be watching your progress with great interest.

Ashana Lian said...

When I saw Mark's Blog-Off, I really wanted to join in but then I thought that would be unreasonable - lately I've been so busy, I haven't been able to update my blog let alone read that many books.

It's excellent you decided to join in - I hope you keep us updated with your progress on this blog.


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