Three Easy Ways to Support Your Local Writer Community: from the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project

By the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project Committee

Want to be the new best friend of every writer in your community?

Here are three things you can do right now (even in this stay-at-home world) to help your authors:

1) Promote the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest (STBF): Deadline May 31
Now in its seventh year, the contest continues to demonstrate the power of libraries to find the very best reads to bring to their patrons, regardless of source, by identifying, evaluating and promoting high-quality indie-published works. Entries for the contest are now being accepted in both Adult and YA fiction categories through May 31.

This year’s contest features a much easier submission process, and, more importantly, exciting new opportunities for the winners. We’re talking possible national recognition, cash prize and much wider exposure and discoverability. More on this later.

2) Promote “A Conversation with STBF 2019 award winners Jean Rabe and Lauren Eckhardt”

Don’t take our word for how significant this contest is—learn about the impact it has directly from our current winners:

On Wednesday, April 22 at 1:30 pm join STBF committee member Jeffrey Fisher for a Zoom conversation with our two 2019 winners. They’ll discuss their books, the writing process, what winning the contest has meant to them, and much more. Special bonus: During this webinar we’ll reveal the winner of the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project Manuscript Contest.  (Click here for Zoom login information.)

3) Promote makes the seamless journey from first draft through contest entry possible.  This platform, available free to all Illinois libraries and individuals, allows writers to create professional-quality versions of their e-books in various file formats including ePUB, MOBI, and PDF. also guides authors through the process of making their e-book available to readers in three different ways:

  • Indie Illinois: A statewide collection of e-books promoting independently published local authors.
  • Indie Author Project Select: A Library Journal-reviewed collection of self-published adult and young adult fiction available to readers across the country.

So what’s this about national recognition?

The success of the pioneering STBF project has not gone unnoticed.

Last year, 13 states and one Canadian province ran their own state- or province-wide indie author contests modeled after the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project. The winning books from all these contests are being made available with unlimited, multi-user access in the Indie Author Project Select collections on BiblioBoard Library, DPLA Exchange, cloudLibrary, OverDrive, and more. When all the state and province-wide awards are made this year, those books will be added to these platforms as well.

Then a panel of industry experts will choose one overall Indie Author of the Year. Along with the prizes that come with their regional award, the winner will also receive an additional $1,000, professional audiobook production, and myriad marketing and promotional opportunities throughout the year. See and hear Indie Author of the Year, Ran Walker, talk about what this award means to him here.

So, be your local authors’ best friend, and bring some great new fiction to all your patrons by taking three easy steps:

  • Promote the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project on your website and social media.
  • Encourage all your local writers to attend the Zoom conversation with this year’s STBF winners on April 22, 1:30 pm.
  • Put a link to on your website, and visit the website yourself for more free promotional material.

Your writers will love you!

The Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project Committee

Eva Baggili, Chicago Ridge Public Library
Anna Behm, RAILS
Kate Buckson, La Grange Park Public Library
Jeffrey Fisher, Fountaindale Public Library District
Karen McBride, Barrington Area Library
Gretchen Murphy, Wheaton Public Library
Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library District
Lucy Tarabour, Clarendon Hills Public Library
Nicole Zimmermann, RAILS


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