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  • Writer's pictureTam Chronin

SPFBO-X and Other Excitement

If you follow me on social media, you probably heard me squee in excitement about this already. Hold onto your hats, I'm going to get into excited detail.

I made it into the SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) competition this year! It's a thing that I've heard of a bit over the years, but I didn't know anything about it. At first I figured it was one of those many contests where you pay a fee and get a participation trophy to plaster on your book cover. There are so many of them that it starts to not mean anything when you stumble across them.

About a year ago, when I was really picking up steam on Twitter (right before Musk happened), one of my mutuals retweeted something about the latest SPFBO list, and it was time to fill their TBR again. This was a VERY enthusiastic endorsement, and the sentiment was repeated. A lot. Like, a lot, a lot. I immediately thought this bore actual investigation.

I'd made a lot of really wrong assumptions. First, it's free. Second, it's an actual thing with respect and weight behind it. Third, I'd totally missed my chance to join up for a whole year. A whole YEAR! How was I going to remember to apply a whole year later? Especially since I already knew at that point that Twitter was about to implode!

So, I took some deep breaths, found their Facebook page, and hit a cheeky follow. As one does.

In previous years, spots went to the first 300 self-published authors who signed up. However, last year for year nine, the spots filled in less than an hour. To balance that, and make it fair for people in various time zones (thank goodness or I'd have been fast asleep), the 300 slots were selected at random from all entrants who signed up in 24 hours.

I put it on my calendar, I let my husband know so he wouldn't let me just chicken out, I made sure this was a thing that I'd actually do. I filled out the form, did all the things, then waited.

It was already a lucky weekend. My step-son, who has been living out of state for a few years now, flew in to surprise the family. My husband and I picked him up from the airport a couple of hours after I sent in my entry, and the next day I got to watch him surprise his mom and his grandmothers for Mother's Day. Meanwhile, I sat with my phone, refreshing and refreshing and refreshing and refreshing...

My step-son's mother is one of my closest and best friends, so she and her husband were actually the first ones who knew. I'd made it onto the list. It made an awesome party even better.

SPFBO officially started on June 1st, so today is the first weekday of the competition. My anxiety is ramped up to 11, and all I can do is sit back and wait. I'm part of the Before We Go Blog group (for further details on how the competition is run, I suggest going directly to Mark Lawrence's blog) and they'll be weeding through 30 of the entries to decide on the finalist they'll send on to the end. (tl;dr version: Ten blogs pick ten finalists out of thirty books they're assigned at random, then the ten finalists are scored and one winner gets the praise. It's a free competition, so it's bragging rights. My favorite sort of prize.)

My group? It's full of awesome books. I'll seriously be happy if I am chosen as a semi-finalist. I mean, yes. I want to be a finalist and stick a shiny medallion on Elemental's cover so everybody knows I'm awesome. I REALLY want to win and have the shiniest of medallions. Duh. But the competition is stiff, and I've got to manage those expectations.

Honestly, just getting in, I'm feeling like a winner. I'm meeting new authors. I'm getting eyes on my favorite book. (Not my best, but still my favorite.)

The next year is looking bright as the competition goes on!

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