The cat is out of the bag! There is going to be contest to discover the very best self-published science fiction novel(s), and I am going to be leading one of the judging teams. I am in very esteemed company on this one, and consider myself very fortunate to be a part of the inaugural Self Published Science Fiction Contest.
Submissions are open for the next three weeks, and then my work begins. If you’re an author, you can submit your novel using this form: (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfaVYoCcbM0Z_5hiKAW9OCeFVKG7wm41lPF-xO9DTbtctDLxA/viewform), or you can visit Hugh Howey’s blog for more information.
There’s going to be a lot of posts coming your way about the SPSFC (and yes, I am going to pronounce every letter of that abbreviation every time I say it), and I hope to bring you some details about how At Boundary’s Edge is going to be handling the challenge very soon. But first, I wanted to talk a little bit about why I decided to apply for a judge position.
It’s no secret that I have a fairly pessimistic view of self publishing. Yes, there are diamonds out there, books just as good as the best traditionally published books. The problem has always been finding them. With the rise of Amazon, self-publishing is as simple as a few clicks. Making a quality product is of course far, far, harder, and I have nothing but respect for those who can make a living as an independent author. But with so many great traditionally published books so much easier to find, I’ve never been tempted to wade into the murky waters of self publication in search of new reading material. That changes now.
When I saw Hugh Howey post the first expression of interest query on Twitter, I said yes straight away. Here was a chance to whittle down the millions of books to a mere three hundred, and then to have reviewers pick some of the best. I didn’t expect to actually end up judging this thing, but a month later, here we are. Punching above my weight as always. I’ve downloaded an e-reader for my phone, and I’m ready to go.
I’m going to approach these books the way I approach everything. With a sense of optimism, but absolutely willing to talk about the things I don’t enjoy. Honesty is my number one policy, regardless of publication status. I want to enjoy the books that are allotted to me, and I am determined to make the best of this unique opportunity.
So I’ll get back to you when I can. Until then, the ball is in the court of self-published authors the world over. I’m sure they’re up to the task.