If you haven’t noticed, I put together another SPFBO brackets for the 2018 year up at the Sigil site. And I thought about putting my predictions up over at Sigil as well, but figured that would appear as an official endorsement from all the guild members and opted to put them here (despite my supposed hiatus).
All this got me to thinking about my last year’s predictions, where my criteria were only books with 10+ ratings on Goodreads and a 4+ average. Which, incidentally, precluded my own book, which did go on to get semifinalist status, so I’m unsure how good a strategy it actually was.
I will note that I did pick out 13 semifinalists through this system (of my 30 picks), which is nearly 50%. So there is that (although I was nowhere near close to the person who picked the most).
Also, some of what I would call ringers surprisingly didn’t get semi/finalist status. Eight books got the most votes as to which ones would progress, including guild members Benedict Patrick, Ben Galley and Alec Hutson. Sufficiently Advanced Magic, which tied for second place, also was one of the top picks, so it seem people can pick finalists, if not exactly the winner since Rob Haye’s Where Loyalties Lie wasn’t one of the most voted on (although I did pick it for a finalist, so yay me).
Anyways, I’m digressing like my uncle after a few too many whiskeys at Thanksgiving (which, incidentally, was my state when I wrote my analysis after getting knocked out of the contest), so here’s my strategy for this year:
A Variation on last year where I pick what I’m going to call ringers, eg books with the MOST reviews from Goodreads. Some have a surprising number, as Mark Lawrence has already pointed out in the SPFBO Facebook group. This is to test my theory that books that are already popular have a better chance of winning. Actually, this is my null hypothesis, but we’ll probably get into that again at a later date. This one is the second entrant on the spreadsheet, with the social media moniker @md_presley. My second entry will have the same listing to keep me honest (and to prove you can enter twice).
Books that I think have a good chance personally. Since I’m not competing this year, I have less of a horse in this race (or dog in this fight… or horse in this dog fight?), so this won’t be as in depth as last year’s selections. But I do think I’ll have a fighting chance of picking more winners than most folks. Edit: This pick will apparently be an entirely different blog post since I barely have time to just log which ones have the most ringers for now, let alone peruse all the books. So expect my personal picks in a week or so.
Until then, here’s my list for the books with the most reviews, which I only count below if they have 100+ at the time of writing. Which seems a HUGE number for me being as The Woven Ring has been out for two years, has a fair following, and hasn’t even broken 60 reviews at this point. It’s interesting how these are broken out between the blogs, as in half the blogs have 6 ringers, two have 4, two 2, and Kitty G has exactly 0.
Last year Fantasy Book Critic was the bracket of death, with significantly more ringers in it than the last. As in I think they had 12 ringers while the average was 6, and they’re luckily (?) off the hook this year with only two. Booknest was also a little light in terms of competition last year, but this year is up there in terms of ringers. So it seems the luck of the draw in terms of what book goes where does sort of even out over the years.
Ugh, I’m digressing again. So here’s the shorthand as to my predictions. Just remember that all the books listed are 100+ reviews, with the highest two listed with their reviews off to the side.
6 Bookworm Blues: Reboot, Dance of Silver, Blade & Rose, The Impossible Wizard (730), Threats of Sky and Sea (772)
6 Fantasy Faction – First Flight (500), On Borrowed Luck, Ruthless Magic, Be Careful What You Joust For, The Child of the Daystar (1,500), Carnifex
2 Fantasy Book Critic – Agent (289), The Apples of Idunn (95)
6 Lynn's Books – Sworn to the Night (339), Crossfire, Forsaken Kingdom, Song of Insurrection, A Wizard’s Forge, A Rebel’s Blade (899)
6 Qwillery – Magically Bound, Shatterwing, The Blade Heir, The Unhappy Medium (840), The Arrival (1581), The Aching God
4 Alliterates – Kings of Paradise, A Keeper’s Tale (158), Merkabah Rider, Darkmage (186)
4 Weatherwax Report – Darkblade Assassin, Air & Ash (798), Lost Temple of Ssis’sythyss, Everblue (7450!),
2 Fantasy Book Review – Dying to Meet You (104), Revenant Winds (298),
6 Booknest – Magic-Price, The Tainted Crown, Memories (800), The Dragon Orb, Wasting, The Stars Were Right, Orconomics (1,127)
0! Kitty G – Oathbreaker (96), The Banished Craft (82)
So there you go, my first bracket selection. Think you can do better? Put your money where your mouth is and tell me why you picked what you did.