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2014 Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Winner Announced

MAK_9880It only seems fitting that during National Library Week (April 13-19, 2014) the winner of the first Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project is a librarian. Joanne Zienty, a resident of Wheaton, Illinois and the library media specialist at the Forest School Library in Des Plaines, was awarded the honor for her book The Things We Save at an award ceremony held Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 2pm at the RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Libraries) headquarters in Burr Ridge, Illinois.

Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Zienty’s first success as a writer came in fifth grade, when she completed a 70-page novel—an “homage” to Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series.  Her first play, a Thanksgiving melodrama, was produced at her elementary school. She has been writing ever since. Her other passion is working as a librarian combining her favorite pastimes: reading, encouraging others to read, teaching information literacy, and playing with technology.  Zienty shared, “As a writer, participating in the Soon to Be Famous Author project has been an incredibly validating experience!”

The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project is the brainchild of library marketing professionals who were inspired after listening to a presentation by brand expert and NYU professor David Vinjamuri, who spoke at the American Library Association’s 2013 annual conference about the importance of libraries in the era of e-books and self-publishing. He challenged libraries to wield their collective influence to lift a self-published author to success to create a measurable indicator of the power of libraries and librarians to affect books and reading. Currently, 32% of bestsellers on Amazon are self-published.

One hundred three self-published adult fiction titles were nominated and more than 20 librarians across the state served as judges. After a series of eliminations, the top 3 authors were selected and were all present at the RAILS headquarters for the announcement. Vinjamuri flew in from New York to introduce the authors and present the award to the winner.

The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project is being coordinated in collaboration with the Illinois Library Association (ILA) and Reaching across Illinois Library System (RAILS) and is supported by the American Library Association Digital Content Working Group, the Public Library Association (PLA), and Illinois Heartland Library System.

 

 

Nominations received from these locations in Illinois.

Nominations received from these locations in Illinois.

Thank you to all libraries who nominated authors.  The project received 103 nominations.  See map at left.

Tribune Coverage -  Please read Annemarie Mannion’s coverage of the Soon to be Famous project in the Chicago Tribune on January 1 . Remember, entries are due January 6.
Illinois libraries hope to discover an unknown, self-published author whose work will jump off the page for readers. The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project is  accepting self-published adult fiction submissions from Illinois residents via their local libraries.

We’ve uploaded a new, updated author nomination form. 

Deadline for submissions is January 6,  2014. The winner will be announced
during National Library Week, April 13 to 19, 2014.

Authors -
please submit your self-published book to your local library
(public, school,
academic, special) before January 6, 2014.

Library staffers -
please submit your nominations to soontobefamous@gailborden.info using the author nomination form.

Librarians -
we are looking for judges, please email the judge application form to Julie Stam at StamJ@EisenhowerPLD.org.

Promote the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author at your library. Download the 11 x 17 poster.

Questions?

  • Sue Wilsey, Niles Public Library, 847-663-6405
  • Cris Cigler, Fox River Valley Public Library District,  224-699-5884
  • Julie Stam, Eisenhower Public Library District, 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 ext.240
  • Liz Clemmons, Gail Borden Public Library, 847-429-4698
  • Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library, 847-429-5981
  • Jeanne Hamilton, Charleston Public Library, 217-345-4913

    David Vinjamuri

    David Vinjamuri

…or email soontobefamous@gailborden.info.

The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project was inspired by a presentation by brand expert and NYU professor David Vinjamuri, who spoke about the importance of libraries in the era of eBooks and branding at the American Library Association’s annual conference last summer. (the slides from the presentation are here)

This project  is being coordinated in collaboration with the Illinois Library Association and Reaching Across Illinois Library System and is supported by the Illinois Heartland Library System, ALA Digital Working Group and the Public  Library Association.