Let the #SPFBO 2018 begin : my process

Posted On 1 August 2018

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 64 responses


Today sees the start of the fourth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (#SPFBO).  The competition involves 300 self published books, distributed between 10 blogs.  Each blog will eventually choose 1 finalist leaving 10 finalists for the second phase.  Each blog will then read and score the finalists which will hopefully result in one book with the highest score winning the competition.  More details can be found here and if you scroll down you can see the list of books and how they’ve been distributed.

I’ve taken part as a judge in the past 3 competitions but this year I might shake my format up a little.  Previously I’ve divided my books into six batches of 5 books and then chosen 1 book from each batch – this has then given me six semi finalists to choose between.  In the past I’ve usually aimed to read at least 20% of the book in order to give the title a fair chance.

Now, I’m not going for a complete change because if it’s not broke then why fix it.  This year is already slightly different.  Phase 1 is now reduced from six months to five so I’ll be randomly choosing six books to check out each month.  In previous years I’ve highlighted the books I’m due to read at the start of each month and provided the background and links, etc.  This year, as I’ll be reading through six entries each month I’m going to divide that post into two – one at the beginning of the month with 3 books highlighted and one mid way with the other three (this is purely to reduce the size of the post to be honest so that all the books get a decent spot. At the end of each month I will post the results in terms of which books are going forward or not.

The main change is that I’m aiming to be a bit more flexible in terms of choosing my semi finalists.  If out of my six books I really like two or more then I’m going to carry more than one forward.  I’m also aiming to read at least 30% of each book or more than that if I feel compelled to do so.  Ultimately, I’m probably making it harder to choose a finalist but we’ll see.  I just want to keep my options open and not have too rigid a format.  By the same token, I might not carry any books forward from a batch if I don’t feel they can compete with the ones that I’ve already carried forward (although I think that is highly unlikely to happen).

All the books that I read fully will receive a full review and the others will be given mini reviews (similar to the past three years).

If any of the authors from my list would like to pay a visit to my blog then you’re more than welcome either for an interview, a guest post or for a cover highlight or reveal.  I’m open to suggestions.  I already have a few interviews lined up which will be published in the next couple of weeks.

I’d like to wish all the authors from the competition the best of luck.  This is tough, ‘there can be only one’ winner but regardless of whether your book wins or not I sincerely hope that you all take something positive away from the competition (this is an interesting article that you might want to check out on that very topic).  There’s a great book community out there and hopefully this competition will provide an ideal place to meet and talk to other authors and bloggers and result in a fantastic feeling of not only belonging but being supported by that network.

A huge thanks to all the authors who have entered and good luck to everyone involved.



64 Responses to “Let the #SPFBO 2018 begin : my process”

  1. waytoofantasy

    Hats off to you for this, Lynn! I now it’s a lot that goes into it. Good luck and hope you find some gems!

  2. Tammy

    This sounds like a good plan. It also feels like it’s more fair for everyone. I’m really looking forward to your interviews😊

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I think the process for me has been every changing and adapting. The thing is, I have to divide the books up into batches – but who is to say that six excellent books all land in the same batch, and then maybe in the next batch I don’t find anything I like. I just wanted to make it a bit less rigid. If I want to carry two books over I will and if I don’t thing the books in a batch can go forward then they won’t. Eek though.
      Lynn 😀

  3. amjusticewrites

    This is such a massive undertaking, and I’m sure every participating author is on the edge of his or her seat to see how things play out (I know I am). I’d be thrilled to provide some content for this blog, either an interview or a guest post, whichever you think would be most appropriate and/or interesting.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Hi – it is something of a commitment isn’t it. Fortunately I know what I’m getting myself into. I do feel for all the authors with the wait ahead though – it must be a stressful to be kept in suspense. Thanks for the offer of content – I would love it if you paid my blog a visit and I’m happy with either an interview or a guest post – completely your choice.
      Lovely cover btw and I’m looking forward to picking this up.
      Lynn 😀

  4. amjusticewrites

    Reblogged this on AM Justice and commented:
    The SPFBO starts today (Aug 1, 2018). A Wizard’s Forge is being judged over at Lynn’s Book Blog, and in today’s post she explained how it’s all going to go down.

  5. dpwoolliscroft

    Nice explanation, Lynn. I’m looking forward/terrified of what is to come!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I do feel for all the authors – but, it’s all going to be good I think and I’m really looking forward to picking up my books – there looks like there’s strong competition indeed and some great looking books. Don’t be terrified 😀
      Lynn 😀

  6. Melika Dannese Lux

    Sounds great, Lynn! Can’t wait to hear what you think of my freaky little (or, rather, not so little) darling! 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Hi Melika
      Thanks for commenting. I’m looking forward to picking up your book Deadmarsh Fey. It looks like it’s going to be a rather dark and maybe creepy book – I’m keeping away from any reviews and blurbs etc, I’d like to go into each book without preconceived ideas but I remember your cover which definitely stood out.
      Good luck with the competition
      Lynn 😀

      • Melika Dannese Lux

        It *is* a bit dark and creepy in parts, but there is also a lot of humor and hope and light, and quite a bit of mystery, too. I hope you love it. BTW, Kip (after Roger) is my favorite character, but don’t let the others know, ok? 😉

        I’m also open to doing an interview or other posting for your blog, Lynn, just let me know what you’re looking for!

      • @lynnsbooks

        Hi – dark and creepy I like 😀 An interview would be great – I’ll email you.
        Lynn 😀

  7. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    Can’t wait to see what books you find as hidden gems this time around!

  8. bendanarama

    I’m in your group and I’ve been stalking your blog constantly! Can’t wait to see how this goes – the suspension is killing me!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Hi Ben? Is your book Clockworld by any chance? I really liked the cover by the way.
      Sorry about all the suspense. Unfortunately, as I’m one of the three (I think there are only three anyway) solo judges I can’t just speed through all of these, particularly as I have other commitments. This means that I will more than likely take the full five months to go through my first 30 books (6 per month). To be honest, if I was an author I’d be hoping to be in the last batch – but, all the books are chosen randomly and I do stick to my reading order – I’m not normally such a stickler but for the competition I behave. I guess what I’m trying to say in a round the houses fashion, is I’m sorry about all the suspense and I’m looking forward to the read.
      Good luck
      Lynn 😀

      • bendanarama

        Haha not a problem!

  9. Andrea

    Is it okay for me to say that I’m totally nervous about this? I wasn’t nervous at all until I read this and it became real. Now, a little quakey.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Hi Andrea – I’m feeling a little ‘quakey’ too. It feels like the competition has really snowballed and it adds to the pressure doesn’t it? Please don’t be anxious though I’m aiming to give every book a very fair trial. At the end of the day though it’s 30:1 isn’t it – which when you think of it in those terms it does make you gulp. All I can promise is to try and give as constructive feedback as possible on each book and hope that it’s all helpful – although I won’t be fully reviewing all 30 (mini reviews for quite a few). Snarky reviewing isn’t my style – I’m not knocking it at all – but it’s just not the way I review. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I hope to be as fair and reasonable, and sensitive, as I would want others to be if the roles were reversed.
      Lynn 😀

      • Andrea

        I appreciate that, as I’m sure we all do. Hope all goes well with your load of reading!

  10. bkfrgr

    Good luck Lynn! Looking forward to hearing more as you progress. (And good luck to all the authors too!). 🙂

  11. Jen Rasmussen

    Thank you for your time, Lynn! SPFBO is a lot of fun but so much work for the judges. Know that it’s appreciated. Regardless of who makes the cut, I always find some great reads through the competition, and putting the spotlight on some quality indie books is always a great thing.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – I think it’s a great idea to be honest and I’d say it’s definitely changed the way that I feel about self published books – so hopefully it’s changed the way others view it too. It’s a shame that so many good books still fall through the net.
      Lynn 😀

  12. Jennifer | Book Den

    Good luck to you! I love seeing your SPFBO posts.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks 😀 It looks like there’s some very strong competition this year – really looking forward to getting stuck in.
      Lynn 😀

  13. Michael Sliter (@MikeSliter)

    I can’t believe the amount of work that the bloggers put in, especially you and the other couple who decided to go it alone (without a team)! I am more than happy to do a guest interview if you’ll have me. (I wrote Solace Lost)

  14. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Good luck, Lynn! A part of me wishes I could do the judging thing again, but the time commitment makes it impossible especially since I won’t have my co-bloggers to help out anymore. Kudos to you for doing it for another year!

    • @lynnsbooks

      You should have come on board with me 😀 There’s still time… come over to the dark side……

      • Carmen

        I feel the Force is strong with you. 😀

      • @lynnsbooks

        Thank you Jedi master.

      • Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

        I didn’t know it was possible to team up!

      • @lynnsbooks

        Well, lots of the blogs seem to have guest judges this year so it’s definitely happening.
        Lynn 😀

  15. #SPFBO 2018 : Batch 1, Books 1-3 | Books and travelling with Lynn

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  16. Carmen

    I like the upcoming changes. It seems you’ll be demanding more of yourself, but hopefully a clear cut winner will emerge every time; if not, at least you are not going to limit your choices, or deprive us of the delight of reading what most of these goodies are about. 😉 Have fun, Lynn, and best of luck to all authors involved!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks Carmen 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I hope the changes work okay. I think it will be more work but hopefully will work out okay
      Lynn 😀

  17. sjhigbee

    Yes – I think the new changes sound like they will work really well:). Here’s hoping this year’s crop will provide you with plenty of marvellous books to read, Lynn – and that you don’t have too many agonising decisions!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I’ll second that emotion – hopefully no agonising decisions.
      Lynn 😀

  18. Andrew Einspruch

    Hi Lynn. First thank you for taking this on. It really is a big undertaking. I’m one of your authors, and would love the chance to provide content for you. Perhaps an interview? Whatever you prefer. And thank you again for all you are doing.

    Warm regards,

    • @lynnsbooks

      Andrew – that’s fantastic – I think I’ve got your email address so will email you later. I’m really looking forward to reading The Purple Haze.
      Lynn 😀

      • aeinspruch

        I’ll look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, happy reading.


  19. Steve Thomas


    I’d be happy to do an interview if you’ll have me. I look forward to seeing how this all plays out.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Hi Steve,
      Thanks for getting in touch. I’d love an interview – your book is the Sangrook Saga yes? Sounds very intriguing indeed.
      I’ll email you.
      Lynn 😀

      • Steve Thomas

        Yes, that’s me. I look forward to hearing back.

  20. jessicabookworm

    Lynn, I can’t believe this has come round again! Good luck and happy reading 🙂

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