Back at the beginning of March, fantasy author Mark Lawrence put out a call on his website for self-published fantasy authors looking for exposure. His proposal: round up 250 fantasy authors and 10 fantasy-leaning book bloggers and have a contest. Each blogger would get 25 books to read/skim/whatever they need to winnow that pile down to the single best* book of the bunch. Then each of the 10 bloggers would read the top pick of the other 9, and they’d come to one overall top book. At the very least, the winner would get a bunch of extra exposure. And considering the bloggers are, well, bloggers, there’s a good chance that a fair number of the others will get some mention as well. The bloggers have until the beginning of September to submit a pick, and who’s going to believe a book blogger will go half a year without mentioning a 25-book stack they’ve pored over.
(*best being a subjective term, dependent entirely on the views of the blogger in question)
Well, I submitted Firehurler, and here’s to hoping it makes a good impression.
Really, that’s all I can say. I could scour the works of my fellow selectees and see how mine stacks up (reviews, ratings on GR/Amazon, sales rank). I could find out everything I can about Steve Diamond and Elitist Book Reviews, whose TBR pile I have joined. But I have settled for browsing the list of entrants looking for familiar names.
It continues to amaze me. For every name I recognize, there are 10 that I don’t. Every self-published fantasy author is trying to be discovered, to get their name out there, to make an impression on prospective readers. And yet, we can’t even seem to get on one another’s radar! This is the challenge we face, and this is the true benefit of this contest–at least for the winner, and perhaps the finalists.
But as Mark Lawrence himself pointed out, it took him querying 4 agents before someone took a chance on Prince of Thorns. Each book/author in this contest has a 1/260 chance (a few entries over never hurt anyone, except possibly some eye strain for a blogger). I’m sure plenty of Grade A fantasy novels will miss the cut. That’s the harsh truth. But at least for one skilled and lucky author (the best combination), this will be a bonanza of exposure.