ANNOUNCING | SPFBO 2017 – The Nitty-Gritty Details

Wow, this is long, and I really hope it’s clear because I cover a lot.

Before I continue on with this post, I feel the deep desire to say I’M SO SORRY I DROPPED THE BALL ON THE SPFBO 2016. I had everything on schedule, but then my health just slapped me in the face and reminded me about what really rules my life. Sometimes, when things happen, you have to drop everything and just hang on until the ride slows down.

So… SPFBO 2017.

Yes, I’m doing it again this year. I wouldn’t dream of not doing it. However, I have decided to make one small change. Usually I read the whole book and post mini reviews. However, this year I’m balancing reviewing, two kids, cancer crap (again), impending surgeries (I’ve got a minimum of three more this year), and, as you’ve probably guessed, a ton of doctors and associated health drama to wade through. I also have a day job, and my editing business is starting to get its footing.

The point is, I have a lot going on.To keep myself from losing my ever-loving mind, I’m going to change how I approach the first round of this contest. Instead of reading each book cover to cover, and writing a mini review, I’m limiting my reading to the first thirty pages, unless the book grabs me and I end up reading the whole thing. You’ll have thirty pages to impress me, and I’ll probably flip through the rest of the book to get a feel for it, but that’s about it. Thirty pages, and a mini review for round one. Sorry folks, but this eases my pressure a lot, and makes this contest easier for me to approach.

I get emails every time this contest happens from you delightful authors asking if they can pull some quotes from my website to use on their books. The answer is yes, you don’t even need to ask. Here is your permission. Feel free to quote-mine as much as you want.

Now, aside from that minor change, the contest will run the same over here. I will divide the books evenly into groups, which will be announced at the end of this post. I will read 30 pages (unless I end up reading more), and write a mini review. Each group will have a “winner,” or the book in that group that I ended up liking the most. And yes, I will give each book an award, because each book excels at something, and should be recognized for its exceptional qualities. When the first round is over, I’ll compare all the winners, and decide which one I want to move on to the final round. My final choice, as always, will be purely subjective. I will ask myself the following question: Yo Sarah, which book can’t you stop thinking about? And the answer to that question will move on to the final round.

Like last year, I will write a cover art post before this whole thing starts, because why not. That should drop within the next few days, or early next week at the latest.

Wait, there is one other change that I can’t forget to mention.

Sometimes the groups of books in this first round are unevenly stacked. I randomize which book gets thrown into which mini-review group, but occasionally I’ll have a number of books in one group that don’t really wow me to the extent that I wish to be wowed, and then another group where almost every book just astounds me. When I choose one book as a finalist per group, sometimes, due to my own rules, I’ll nominate a book as a finalist that I don’t really think should be a finalist of their first-round group where on the other hand, I’ll nominate one book as a finalist of a group, when I think two could, and should, wear that title.

This time I reserve the right to not nominate a round finalist if I think that group doesn’t really have a book that merits that honor. On the flip side, if a group has more than one book that fits that bill, I will reserve the right to nominate one to two books per group as a group finalist if I so choose. This might mean that I have more (or less) finalists than I have in years before, but I also think it will be more fair than it has been in the past.

I hope this minor modification improves my system a bit, and also works better for the participating authors.

As of right now, I have not received my books yet (a few of you have emailed me your books already. If you’re an author in my group who wants to do that, feel free. I prefer .mobi files if possible, if not, I can work around pretty much anything.) and honestly, I try not to look at my books before I iron out this first post, and think about how I’m going to run this year’s contest. That way, when I group all of the books randomly, it really is random because I don’t know what anyone wrote and I don’t stack my groups according to personal preference/cover art/some other arbitrary thing.

I try very hard to be able to review one group a week, BUT my body sucks at being a body. To the lucky people (har har) who landed me as a judge, please understand that random things happen on a regular basis with me, and group mini-reviews might be delayed while I’m doing cancer crap/Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome crap/my daughter’s kidney disorder crap. To ease some of my own pressure, I’m not going to give myself deadlines, just assume that after the first group’s mini-reviews drop, unless some part of me fell apart (again), or I am dealing with more cancer news etc., then the next group should follow in a week or two.

And truthfully, if my head is all messed up, especially due to cancer crap which really throws me through a mental loop, then you authors would prefer me to wait until I’ve mentally mellowed before I write up your group’s mini-reviews. Honestly, on these unexpected delays, I’m doing you a huge favor. In advance, thanks for understanding, because I guarantee at least one delay will crop up. It’s just the nature of my meatcage.

Anyway, onto the Round One groups for the SPFBO 2017! The finalist(s) from each of these groups will be in the running for that one precious spot in the final round of SPFBO 2017.

Good luck you wonderful authors!


Group 1

Pat Pflieger – The House at the Edge of Time

Elizabeth Baxter – The Last Priestess

Bethany Adams – Soulbound

Grace and Thomas Lockhaven – Quest Chasers – The Deadly Cavern

Steven Kelliher – Valley of Embers

Jonathan Yanez – Of Angels and Men


Group 2

T.O. Munro – The Medusa’s Daughter

Glenn G. Thater – Gateway to Nifleheim

Joyce Reynolds-Ward – Pledges of Honor

Brian Decker – Lamentation’s Peak

Joshua Robertson – The Blood of Dragons

Linn Tesli – Reborn


Group 3

M.M. Perry – Whom The Gods Love

Dale Triplett – Halcyon’s Wake: Faith

Nancy Foster – An Ominous Book

Andrew Rowe – Sufficiently Advanced Magic

Jamie Brindle – A Treatise on Blood and Iron

Alesha Escobar – The Tower’s Alchemist


Group 4

Kathy Cyr – Max Hamby

Trip Ellington – Evermage: Clash of Chaos

Taddeus White – Kingdom Asunder

Luke Chmilenko – Ascend Online

Howard Gurney – Twin

Stephan Morse – Once Lost Lords


Group 5

Ginny O – The Lone Prospect

Marie Andreas – The Glass Gargoyle

Gemma Perfect – The Kingmaker

James Beach – Ghost Magnet

Elena Bryce – Guardian of the Grail

Kit Abbey – All The Things You Have To Burn

4 Responses

  • Super excited to be a part of this awesome event. Good luck to everyone!

    • Linn Tesli

      Second that comment from Joshua! 🙂 Good luck all!

    • I’m so excited over this! Thank you, Sarah! And, I spot some pretty awesome authors in those groups 🙂 Good luck, Joshua and Linn, as well as my other fellow authors.

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