I keep lists of ideas for new ways to promote my self-published books and I seldom follow through on them. Too much work. Too expensive. Probably won’t make a bit of difference. It’s easy to get discouraged in the world of self-publishing.
One idea got moved from list to list. I became aware of a contest a few years ago that looked promising called SPFBO (aka self-published fantasy blog off — not bake off.) But every time I saw it, the contest was in progress and I never could figure out where to find the schedule or the rules. Oh well, it probably costs a fortune anyway. And if it doesn’t they won’t let me in.
Then late at night 3 days ago, I skimmed a post from a blog and I saw it. The contest, the SPFBO, was opening the next day! More amazing, it was free and would accept the first 300 people who signed up. This was unbelievable. It didn’t surprise me to discover that last year it filled in under 24 hours.
However, there was one small problem. That same day, the next day, Friday the 14th, was the release day for my latest book She’s the One Who Gets in Fights.
I had three different book release things happening plus a slew of other related promotional ideas to pursue. Could I possibly get myself entered into this SBFBO thingy as well? Of course I could.
I went to bed determined. I’d get up and find a way to do it all.
I woke up at 6:59 am to the sound of my wave noise generator stopping. That’s weird. It’s never shut off before. I opened my eyes to see the ceiling fan slowing down.
I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina and every once in a while we lose power up in these hills. Like once every year or two… Not today. Please not today.
But yes, the gods of stress were having a small chuckle at my expense. I found a way to make hot tea (no coffee!) No shower (our well runs on electricity.) I started doing what I could from my phone. Dim that screen. Make that battery last.
However, entering SBFBO was one thing my phone couldn’t do. Did it have enough oomph to be an adequate hot spot for my laptop? Was my laptop well enough charged? If I’d just known this was going to happen …
Entries opened at 2 pm my time. I watched the hours pass, considering a drive into the nearest small town. Since Covid hit, I didn’t know of a single place offering inside space and free internet. Had that changed? Could I make it over to Asheville? Surely they had something.
I must have become boring to watch, for at about 10:30 the gods of stress released their hold on our power lines and the refrigerator began to hum.
Okay, I can do this now. I can do this. Breath. Slowly.
And of course I did do it because in spite of all my panic it was remarkably easy to enter. I even managed most of my promotional book release stuff, too.
When I woke up Saturday to plenty of wonderful power surging through my home there was also excitement surging through my veins. Someone put all the entered books on Goodreads. Someone else made a list of all the judges. One entrant asked what we all did for a living and the answers were pouring in. This looked to be an exciting thing to be a part of!
Encouragement poured in as well, especially to us nervous first time entrants. I’d read that one of the joys of this endeavor was a sense of community and it looks like no one was joking about that.
So, here I am, in touch with 299 other self-published fantasy writers. Some have have far more success to their names than I do while others have only begun their journey, submitting their first novel. I’m humbled to be in this group and grateful for the whim that led me to read the thing that clued me in to the timing.
Isn’t life funny, in so many ways?