SPFBO 7 – Intro
The Seventh Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO/Spiffbo) is officially underway!
We’re super excited here at the Hive; we’ve already lined up our judges and interviewed them, and now we can reveal to you our process for this year.
It’s… it’s going to be a lot like our process for SPFBO 5 and SPFBO 6.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – but we will probably tinker with it as we go along – must be the Gnomish nature that Laura M Hughes instilled in us all!
The 300 books have now been split between the ten blogs. And in round one – we have a batch of 30 beautiful books to get through to put forward one finalist.
Now you may have seen shows like Britain’s Got Talent, or the X-factor and our process is sort of similar. At the start of round one we put each book through what you might think of as “an audition.” All five judges (Theo, Belle, Peter, Scarlett & Calvin) will aim to read up to the first 20% of the book and then each of us will come to a Green/Amber/Red decision about each book.
- Green – I really want to read on and find out more (2 points)
- Amber – I’m curious enough to be happy reading on if the other judges want to (1 point)
- Red – I’m not engaged enough to want to read on (0 points)
(There might be a few greeny/amber or ambery/red decisions that get half points!)
So with five judges, each book is going to end the “audition” stage with somewhere between 0 and 10 points.
We will make our decisions about which books have “passed” the audition stage once all the judges have sampled all the books.
The upshot of this is that we’re going to be a bit quiet at the Hive for a while. However by the end of July we expect to start posting about the audition stage outcomes, dealing with books in small batches. For each book we’ll aim to say what made us excited to read on, or what was missing that might have aroused our curiosity and enthusiasm more.
What happens next depends on how many really promising books we find. (If it’s more than say six we might need to have an additional filtering stage of Fantasy Hive SPFBO 7 Quarter-Finalists.)
But, however we work it, by the end of August we expect to have announced up to 6 Hive SPFBO 7 Semi-finalists.
The judges will then go back to these books and read on so that all the semi-finalists get complete reads from all the judges. The books will also get the Hive-reads style review where the judges discuss the books and analyse their responses to them.
Towards the end of October we will start sharing the Hive Semi-finalist reviews, leading up to the big reveal of our Hive SPFBO 7 Finalist around about the 31st October.
And then it will be on to Round Two!!
It is worth stressing how helpful we find the team approach both for the discussion it generates and the way it smooths out some of the bumps of personal preferences, helping to give rounded views of the books and make the final decisions as fair as we can make them. As the contest progresses you’ll hear us continually stress that much of what gets said is completely subjective. Aside from issues with (e.g.) spelling or grammar, which are more or less indisputable, the bloggers’ opinions are exactly that: opinions.
You may notice we’ve only got 29 books on our list here. That’s because it turned out that one of our initial allocation of books had been entered in a previous SPFBO (SPFBO 3) and so had to be disqualified as set out in rule i) on Mark’s SPFBO page, but here are the rest:
The annual cover contest is one of the most fun traditions of SPFBO. It showcases the best of the best in terms of production value and surface quality, and highlights the importance of first impressions in a market where hidden talent often flounders amongst the currents of mediocrity.
You can vote for your favourite cover here. Our judges will be back soon with a run down of which covers they chose and why!