The Winner of The Self Published Fantasy Blog Off 2017: Where Loyalties Lie by Rob J. Hayes!

Mark Lawrence’s 2017 contest crowns it’s 2017 winner. A contest with no prize? Hardly.

Without much besides bragging rights, the SPFBO has begun to create attention in the right places and it’s just going to keep growing. Those bragging rights carry a bit more weight with every consecutive year of competition. We have been seeing a difficult contest this year for the top ten. Without a doubt, all the finalists certainly deserve a second look from readers.


Running a tight race in scores this year, it’s more than worth it to mention the close second and third place books. Scoring identical totals, the second place top picks in finalist scoring goes to two books. Both of which are blogger favorites in equal measure.

The SPFBO culminates it’s third annual contest today with the announcement of the winner of the 2017 competition. So much appreciation is due to the bloggers who have dedicated untold hours in reading and scoring the selection of books allotted to each of them. Their dedication rivals only that of the writers that make this entire contest possible. Our most hearty congratulations to all the finalist of the 2017 contest.

We will spend a lot of the next year reading many of the recommendations we have pulled from these reviews. Look for Grimmedian’s review of Where Loyalties Lie up next. It was a rollicking bloody adventure and a personal favorite. Current reading includes the Crimson Queen by Alec Hutson and there will be more soon as indie authors from 2016 are finally making their way onto the pages here.

The  cover contest, published previously here, is ever a favorite part of SPFBO, has had us drooling over the beauties and showcases the importance of a great cover in getting readers to open your book.

The bloggers 2017 cover picks:

The public vote cover winners:


Writing is blood, sweat and tears. It can be day after day, weeks, months, or years of work. The huge signal to noise ratio faced by today’s world of self-published and small press books is daunting. Self published authors struggle to be seen and find readers. In an effort to find some of the best jewels of the self published world of fantasy, Mark Lawrence, for the past three years, has dedicated his support to helping 300 of these fantasy authors  each year, get a shot at being read and reviewed by the best Fantasy Bloggers out there with the SPFBO. With a 90% cut rate in phase one, the competition is brutal. Many bloggers still take the time to review and share the books they weren’t able to put forward. Other bloggers will continue to spread word on many of the entrants. The realization that sometimes the right book, isn’t with the right readers, is a fact of life. We have tastes in books, as individual as our taste in food. With careful attention, a book can find its way to the ‘right readers’ by NOT being to someone else’s tastes.

The success stories experienced with previous years entrants has created a tremendous buzz in the Fantasy community online. We have been thrilled to see some of the best of these books, highlighted, discussed, and reviewed. Several, pictured below. have found traditional publishing deals from those with the vision to sign talented authors showcased here in the SPFBO. It is an exciting labor of love. We hope to continue to see the effects ripple outwards.

You can find all the results on each finalist and their scores on Mark’s pages here.



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