When I started Fantasy Debut in June of 2007, I was delighted because it was noticed almost immediately by the science fiction blogging community. I had no idea about anything in the blogging world; I didn’t know any of the bloggers, and I never figured that people would want to send me free books.
The book offers began within three months, and from the first, I was very careful about accepting books. This is because I don’t have time to read fast, and I don’t like getting myself overbooked. I had to narrow my focus to keep up with all the debuts from the major publishers. There are a lot more debuts than you might expect! So many debuts, in fact, that I know I have missed more than a few. Just last week, I announced a book that released in June. There’s no easy way to find these debuts, so I end up digging in magazines and publisher release schedules, looking for debuts that aren’t always identified as debuts. The scope I had chosen–debuts by major publishers–was more than I had time for. Until now, adding self-published works was out of the question.
This was always unsatisfactory to me. I know that there are gems of self-published works out there, and authors work very hard to get their names out there. Publishers still need to find new authors as other authors fall off their lists, but it is getting more and more difficult to break in. Self-publishing is becoming one of those ways to get noticed, but it’s an uphill, expensive battle. I started reading more and more “death of publishing” posts that had me reconsider my position again and again. I showcased books like The Book of Unholy Mischief, which started out as a self-published novel. (For her fascinating story, check out this blog post). I wrote a post in which I petitioned my readers asking if they were interested in reading reviews of self-published books.
And then one morning I woke up with an idea that was so simple that I felt utterly stupid. Why not simply provide a place where self-published novelists can post their first chapter? I have decent web traffic, so presumably this would be some good exposure for these writers. I thought it over for a few days, came up with some boundaries such as word counts and author communication, and I drew up some guidelines.
Here’s how it works. Send the title, genre, blurb and first chapter of your speculative fiction novel. When it’s your turn, I format it and post it. My goal is to have a post every Saturday. You can read all the details here, including word count limits and other limitations and guidelines. I put the first post up on February 21st, and I currently have five excerpts in the queue.
The idea is to get a small piece of your work out there, where it might snare new readers. I’m hoping that self-publishers will find it a valuable resource, and that I may help discover the next self-published star!