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What is the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project?

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Illinois libraries hope to discover an unknown self-published author or authoress whose work will jump off the page for readers. The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project will be accepting adult fiction submissions from Illinois residents via their local libraries. The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author will be announced during National Library Week, April 13 to 19, 2014.

It is the perfect fit for Illinois libraries to discover an exciting work of fiction, as libraries have been a keystone in creating enthusiasm for reading for centuries. Even in this digital age, every day library staff across the state of Illinois, recommend written works as well as host author talks and book clubs.

“Libraries and librarians are experts at recognizing exceptional literature and promoting the works of authors. We are just taking this role a step further and transforming it into an exciting project for writers and libraries,” said Dee Brennan, Executive Director of the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS).

The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project is the brainchild of library marketing professionals from RAILS. They were inspired after listening to a presentation by brand expert David Vinjamuri, Adjunct Professor at New York University (NYU) and Forbes columnist,who spoke about the importance of libraries in the era of eBooks and branding at the American Library Association’s annual conference last summer.

“David made the point again and again about how libraries are instrumental in promoting reading and literature. He issued a challenge to libraries to find an unknown talented Illinois author that will become a success based on librarians’ recommendations. So we are taking up the challenge! The purpose of this exciting project is twofold—give a talented author exposure and spotlight the importance of libraries to literature efforts,” Illinois Library Association Executive Director Robert Doyle.

A staff member from any type of Illinois library – public libraries, academic libraries, school libraries, or special libraries – can submit a book for the project. The author must be an Illinois resident, with a self-published book of adult fiction (whether in print or digital or both), be willing to provide copies of the book to the judging committee members, and be willing to promote his or her book at libraries and other venues in person or via Skype. Note that a category for children’s books will be added next year.

“This project fits well with the ALA Digital Content Working Group's efforts to step up engagement with authors, publishers and others in the e-book ecosystem to ensure readers have access to literature and knowledge in all formats through libraries,” said Larra Clark. “Self-publishing is exploding, so the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project comes at a great time to benefit readers and writers across the state. I can imagine many other states taking up the challenge, and I hope they will.”

Nominations can be sent to soontobefamous [at] Submissions should include author name, author title of book, and link to book or a copy of the book and must be submitted by Monday, January 6, 2014 (Epiphany).

If one has questions that are not answered on the project’s FAQ Web page, one should call one of these women:

Sue Wilsey, Niles Public Library, (847) 663-6405
Cris Cigler, Indian Prairie Public Library, (630) 887-8760 extension 246
Julie Stam, Eisenhower Public library, (708) 867-2290
Donna Fletcher, Donna E. Fletcher Consulting, Inc, (847) 432-1972
Nikki Zimmermann, La Grange Public Library, (708) 215-3277
Anita Quinlan, Plainfield Public Library, (815) 436-6639 extension 240
Liz Clemmons, Gail Borden Public Library, (847) 429-4698
Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public library, (847) 429-5981



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