By Dann: Mark Lawrence has tweeted out the news that M.L. Wang‘s The Sword of Kaigen is the winner of the 5th Self Published Fantasy Blog-Off. The book was the top-rated finalist for 4 of the 10 reviewing blogs, with an average rating of 8.65 out of 10.
The contest began with 300 entries provided on a “first come/first entered” basis. To qualify, the books had to be a work of fantasy, self-published, available for purchase at the time of entry, and either a standalone or the first entry in a series.
Those entries were then broken into blocks of 30 books. Each reviewer read and reviewed their block of 30 books and nominated a single book into the final round. All 10 reviewers read and reviewed all 10 finalists with the average score being used to determine the ultimate winner.
Mark Lawrence started the SPFBO self-published fantasy book contest five years ago. Here is his Mission Statement:
The SPFBO exists to shine a light on self-published fantasy. It exists to find excellent books that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. It exists to help readers select, from the enormous range of options, books that have a better chance of entertaining them than a random choice, thereby increasing reader faith in finding a quality self-published read.
It is not:
i) Perfect. Great books will slip through this net just like they do every other net.
ii) Aimed at getting traditional publications deals. Some authors opt for them but it would be an insult to suggest that the holy grail for self published authors is a deal with a big publisher.
iii) Charged for. This is totally free. The enormous effort given by the reviewers/blogs is a gift. Don’t abuse it. #NoDrama
The winner receives the prestigious Selfie Stick Award
The 2019 finalists with average scores and year of first publication are:
- The Sword of Kaigen (8.65) by M.L. Wang (2019)
- Fortune’s Fool (8.35) by Angela Boord (2019)
- Blood of Heirs (8.30) by Alicia Wanstall-Burke (2018)
- A Tale of Stars and Shadow (7.75) by Lisa Cassidy (2019)
- Kalanon’s Rising (7.70)by Darian Smith (2016)
- Never Die (7.70) by Rob J. Hayes (2019)
- Beggar’s Rebellion (7.25) by Levi Jacobs (2019)
- Blade’s Edge (6.90) by Virginia McClain (2015)
- A Sea of Broken Glass (5.85) by Sonja M. Black (2019)
- Spark City (4.80) by Robert J. Power (2018)
I just bought The Sword of Kaigen and expect it to be the first novel I read after my Hugo reading has been completed. I’ve lots of good things about Never Die from Rob J. Hayes as well.