As we ramp up to the kick-off of SPFBO 7 on June 1st, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce the contest to those of you that haven’t yet heard of it and introduce FanFiAddict’s team of judges. We’re really excited to be a part of the process this year and cannot wait to get started!
About the Competition
So, for those of you that are out of the loop, the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (or, SPFBO, Spifbo, Spiffybeau, etc.) is a competition hosted every year by Mark Lawrence, the author of the popular The Broken Empire and Book of the Ancestor series. The competition is aimed at highlighting great self-published fantasy books, with the goal of both providing prestige and exposure to self-published fantasy and being a good resource for “vetting” books for readers. It is judged by a panel of ten SFF blogs. It isn’t intended to be a route to traditional publishing deals or anything like that, but several of the books that have performed well in the past have went on to get publishing deals, such as Johnathan French’s The Grey Bastards and Devin Madsen’s We Ride the Storm, among others. Basically, it’s just a way to add a little prestige to a few great books and get readers excited about self-published fantasy titles, an oft-stigmatized and polarizing section of the SFF community.
So, let’s get down to the brass tacks of the competition and detail exactly how it works. Overall, there are two phases of the competition, each lasting five and six months, respectively.
In phase one, the 300 entrants are divided amongst the 10 blogs, with each of them getting 30 books. The blogs then have 5 months to read and choose from their 10 the one they want to put forward as a finalist. For our part, FanFiAddict will be reviewing, at the least, our favorite 3, which will be our “semifinalists.” Additionally, each of the blogs choose their 3 favorite covers from their allotted books to be entered into the separate cover contest.
In phase 2, each of the blogs will then read and review/score all 9 finalists from the other blogs and choose their favorite. The winner will be crowned based on the composite score averaged between all of the blogs. FanFiAddict will be reviewing all of the finalists, though scoring is all that is technically required.
Now that we’ve (hopefully) shed some light on what the competition is, let’s introduce the FanFiAddict judging team.
About the Team
Believer, Hubby, Girl Dad. Owner/CEO of FanFiAddict. Works a not so flashy day job in central Alabama. Furthest thing from a redneck and doesn’t say Roll Tide. Enjoys fantasy, science fiction, horror and thrillers but not much else (especially kissy kissy).
Traveling Cloak (Jason) is an accountant and lives in the Chicago area. He is an aspiring bookseller and just wants to read and review books without all the nonsense. Traveling Cloak reviews fantasy, science fiction, space opera, horror, and every once in a while literary fiction. He does not read e-books.
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David S. loves fantasy and Sci Fi books and enjoys hiking, spending time with friends, and eating too much pizza. On the weekend you can find him visiting family, going to church, and most of all at home under a blanket while reading books, watching anime/tv shows, or playing video games with friends.
Justin is a lover of all things SFF and has been an avid reader since he was three. He is attempting to build the world’s largest private library (not really, but ask his wife and she might agree). Justin is always excited to gush over his favorite reads, which more often than not are also his latest reads. He likes trend toward sweeping epics, with complex characters and even more complex plots. Until recently he was totally against romance, but certain books have shown him that it can be done well. He currently has a love/hate relationship with grimdark.
Bender loves over the top action, overpowered MCs, epic battles and happily ever after endings! The Michael Bay fan of book world. Reads various subgenres including GameLit, LitRPG, Progression, Superhero, Cultivation and whatnot’s….with a soft spot for Western & Steampunk. Extra points for snarky/dark humour. Doesn’t favor romance and grimdark that much. Lives in Garden State.
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Mada, the Medjay of Faiyum, is a book reviewer of fantasy and sci-fi, mostly fantasy and historical fiction, and passionate about video gaming, a fan of franchises such as Paradox, Total War, Assassin Creed.
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Eleni loves all things literature related and she spends hours contorting her spine in the worst positions possible to read, write, or just binge watch movies and series. Loves a good trope done well but the list of her favorites is far too long. Always happy, and more importantly curious, to learn/try new stuff so there are very few things she dislikes. However, a pointless and overtly leery male gaze and unnecessary misery extravaganza are the only two things she’s got no tolerance for anymore, in any medium!
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Dale lives above a little pub in the heart of Norwich, Uk with his fiancé, Caitlin and his cat, Sausage. 95% of his time is split between running said pub and trying to read and write, but when hes able to he loves to play the odd video game and build Lego. Dale loves books with a silly amount of action, he dislikes books with half naked people on the cover and hes incredibly confused by anyone that organises their bookshelves by colour.
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Jared is a long time fantasy reader who re-connected with the genre a few years back. New to the blogging scene and currently lives and works in Dallas TX. He loves epic fantasy, the occasional grimdark, and character driven books above all else. Not a huge romance fan but he enjoys a sprinkling of it in a story. He looks forward to finding new authors, and diving into new worlds in this year’s blog-off!
Born and raised somewhere in the South West of England by a pack of goblins, Harry learnt hunting & tracking skills unrivalled by any other human. He also likes to make things up about himself and is a little bit silly. Some of his favourite authors include Joe Abecrombie, John Gwynne, Robin Hobb, Pierce Brown, Evan Winter, Anna Stephens and Stephen King. Epic fantasy is his go to, although Harry is open to reading just about anything. He is not a fan of edgelord main characters and subversions of tropes for the sake of it.
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Fantasy and Sci-fi junkie in all mediums. Born in Long Island, NY currently living in Connecticut. Dog lover as well as a wine and beer connoisseur. Started Under The Radar SFF Books as a hobby during the pandemic and has grown into something special not only for me but all my amazing followers. Will read any genre except for romance (not for me).
Adrian M. Gibson is a Canadian writer, tattoo artist and illustrator living in Quito, Ecuador. He has been a fantasy and sci-fi reader since he was a kid, growing up on stories from J. R. R. Tolkien, Brian Jacques, C. S. Lewis, Madeline l’Engle and more, as well as anime and comic books. Now, his love of the genres comes through in everyday life, seeping into his writing, tattoos and illustrations. There are few aspects of fantasy and sci-fi that he dislikes, but cyberpunk and near-future sci-fi are what really grab him—even better if it’s a character-driven story.
Nicole is a book addict from Lebanon. A big fan of epic stories and political intrigues. Always yes to a bitter-sweet ending. Loves a touch of romance if well done. A sanderfan through and through. Favorite genres are high/epic fantasy & urban fantasy but reads a little bit of everything. Excited to be joining the FanFiAddict team as a guest judge for the SPFBO7!
Hamad from The Book Prescription here, Palestinian who is a big bookworm (and a doctor when I am free) I read almost all genres with a focus on adult fantasy. I have been following the SPFBO for years and I was introduced to my favorite book through it (The Sword of Kaigen). Hope to help boost more awesome authors through this competition, It is my first time as a judge and I am a guest judge with Fanfiaddict!