Back before summer began, I entered my first novel, A Gathering of Chaos, into Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. It was one of 300 contestants in the beginning, and I felt certain that I would be one of the many who fell quickly out of the competition. You see, the 300 books are divided amongst 10 blogger groups, each of which is tasked with choosing a handful of semi-finalists and, ultimately, a single finalist apiece. The odds of getting cut quickly are high.
My blogger, a lovely English woman who goes by Becky M on her YouTube channel, moved quickly and decisively through her books, posting videos that either reviewed a single book and kept it in the running or cut several books at once. Each time a new video went up I’d hyperventilate a bit, especially if it was a “cuts” video. Somehow, by the luck of the draw, I ended up near the end of the batch, and was greatly relieved to see that I was not an automatic cut! In fact, she gave Gathering a lovely review:
And now, just a few days later, she has posted her semifinalists… and my book made it in! A Gathering of Chaos is now officially an SPFBO 8 semifinalist!
I am so deeply gratified that among all the great books she’s reviewed, she found something in Gathering that made it stand out. (I do want to take a second to recognize that this does not mean Gathering is necessarily better than any of those cut. Book reviewing is a highly subjective and personal thing, and another reader might have chucked mine out the window after page one. I’m very glad that didn’t happen.)
It appears that all the blogger groups are choosing between three and five semifinalists, which means that I’m in a group of perhaps 40. That won’t last for long, though, as each group is supposed to declare their finalist by the end of October. I get the sense that Becky M has already chosen hers and is simply waiting to make a video to announce it. Will it be me? …Statistics would suggest probably not, as I have only a one-in-four chance at the finalist spot.
(This is where psych professor Cameron steps in with a lengthy and boring discussion of statistics and why it has nothing to do with the current situation, as stats depend on probabilities, and my blogger likely already knows who she’ll choose, meaning that it’s not random chance that will determine this outcome. Instead, there is a binary outcome — finalist or not-finalist — which already exists but is as yet unknown. My apologies for this digression.)
Either way, advance further or not, I am grateful to the hard work Becky and all the other SPFBO bloggers have put in and feel amply rewarded. All the best to everyone still in the running, and you can be sure I’ll keep you posted here if and when further developments occur.