I’m a lurker on fantasy blogs. Why?
I spend most of my waking hours writing fantasy, but my stories don’t conform well to the rules, or at least to the current fashions in my genre and I know it. Yet I persist in writing what I like to read. So, while I enjoy hiding in the shadows listening to what others have to say, I seldom feel that I have much to add to the conversation.
For the last couple of years, I’ve silently watched something called SPFBO. Short for “Self-published Fantasy Blog Off,” it’s a rather bizarre contest wherein 10 or so blogs judge 30 self-published fantasy books each (300 total) and select 10 finalists and one winner. It’s a great way for self-published authors to get much needed publicity, and the folks who put this together donate a lot of time and effort.
This year, with no forethought, I surprised myself by entering my novel “She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much.” Well, don’t expect much to come of this, I told myself.
Then, of the 25 of so possible reviewers, I drew the winner of last years contest as my reviewer. Yikes. That was intimidating. This guy can really do this shit.
Since June 1, I’ve checked every day. Has he reviewed my book yet? Not today. Maybe tomorrow.
The review was fair, containing criticism mixed with praise. I thought the reviewer was absolutely on the mark as to the books strengths and weaknesses. To my ear it was on the whole more good than bad, though it leaves me thinking I’m unlikely to advance even to the semi-finalist stage. (To be honest I never thought there was much chance of that anyway.)
My only quarrel at all is I wish the reviewer had been more familiar with alternate histories, in which components of our own world mix with imaginary settings. Then he may have been less puzzled by my Mongols (who are important to the story in their historical sense) and my one reference to Greek Mythology.
That aside, finally seeing my review was exhilarating.
Here’s the comments I left on the SPFBO Facebook Page.
Thank you for the review! It is always a joy when a reviewer “gets” what one is trying to do, even when it gives them niggles. I always wish I could buy such a reviewer a beer and talk through their observations but, alas, that isn’t an option. So I’ll just thank everyone — Justin Anderson, Booknest.eu, and SPFBO#7 — for this great opportunity.
And I do thank them all.
Whew … now I’m going to have to find something else obsessive to do every day.