Our 2015 Winner is Michael Alan Peck!

Congratulations Michael!

michael alan flyer for web

wgnmichaelpeck2015 Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Winner Michael Alan Peck on WGN with Steve Bertrand on June 20, 2015.

It is a great 11-minute listen.




POSTED 3/2/2015
 Sharon Kay – Wicked Waves – Naperville Library
Emily Kaplan – Unmasked – Prairie Ridge HS Library
Donald Bingle – Frame Shop – Messenger North Aurora Library
Eileen Lynch – Angels in Play – Cary Area Library
Doug Lassiter – Paladin – Geneva Library
Jane Steen – The House of Closed Doors – Cook Memorial Library
Michael Alan Peck – The Commons Book 1: The Journeyman – CPL-Edgewater Library
Alastair Davie – A Sixth Sense – Evanston Library
Len Joy – American Past Time – Skokie Library
Loretta Giacoletto – Family Deceptions – Mississippi Valley Dist-Collinsville Library
RH Piechowski The Randy Scuffle Papers – Clarendon Hills Library
Randall Allen Dunn – The Red Rider – Gail Borden Library


We were featured in American Libraries magazine!

The Making of the Illinois Author Project

Librarians launch an award for self-published novels


What is the Soon to Be Famous Author Project?

The next Soon to be Famous Illinois Author may be perched in a coffee shop finishing off the next great novel right now. In a few months that author may be famous. The second annual Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project will kick off at the annual Illinois Library Association conference. The project is seeking an Illinois author with a self-published adult fiction book that libraries can help to make “famous.”  Last years winner, Joanne Zienty, has spoken at dozens of Illinois libraries as well as giving several interviews to big name newspapers, local radio stations, magazines and more. Are you the next Soon to be Famous author??

The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project will be accepting adult fiction submissions from Illinois residents via their local libraries starting on October 15, 2014 and the nominations deadline is now extended to January 9th!

Please review what you will need to apply and send in your application starting October 15th!

Due to some issues with the uploading of books, the nominations deadline is extended to January 9th!

We understand that a few of you are having trouble submitting through the web site and some folks are finding the submission process easy.
If you are having trouble with the web site, please email the complete information to soontobefamous_submissions@gailborden.info.


Please print and distribute!

soon to be famous bookmarks 4up BOOKMARKS

soontobefamous_nov2014 _ 11 x 8.5 FLYERS

soontobefamous_nov2014- 11 x 17 (1) POSTERS

podcast logo

Joanne Zienty recently won the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project for her debut novel “The Things We Save.” In this episode of The Big Questions podcast — recorded in front of a live audience in Elgin’s Gail Borden Public Library — Zienty talks about how the objects we save define us, the path of the modern author and how “Jersey Shore’s” Snooki Polizzi changed her life.

 “The Big Questions” is part of Sun-Times Media Local’s Podcast Network. The show is available on iTunesYouTube and SoundCloud.

Watch it now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9NoqhKKjC0


Soon To Be Famous Author Project 2015



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.


  1. Anna Grob

    Do you have any children’s author contest?

    1. Denise Raleigh

      Sorry, for now we’ve decided to stick with adult fiction.

  2. Bruce Briley

    I could not find the “I’m an Author, What do I need to do?” that is
    recommended to be read by an aspiring “Soon to be”.

    1. Jennifer Amling

      Hi Bruce,
      When you go to the home page, soontobefamous.info -look on the left hand side in the long gray box, near the bottom. You’ll see “I’m a Librarian, what do I need to do” followed by, “I’m an Author, what do I need to do”. Please feel free to contact me again if you are still having trouble. Thanks you!

    2. Jennifer Amling
  3. Joe

    I was wondering about the name “Soon to Be Famous” and see that in the trademarked title, the word “be” is not capitalized. However, in some of the paragraphs on this website, it is capitalized, and typically verbs are capitalized in titles. If I were to cite the name of the project in something I am writing, should I capitalize the word “be” or not?

    Thank you. You guys are great.

    1. Jennifer Amling

      “be” is not capitalized in the trademarked title.

  4. Amanda Meredith

    Will nominees be sent a conformation email that their application and ePub or Mobi file went through correctly? This was the first time I’ve attempted an ePub so I want to be sure everything went through. :) In the case that something was wrong with the file, are author’s allowed to re-submit?

    1. Jennifer Amling

      You should get a screen that says “Thank you for submitting your book to the “Soon To Be Famous Author Project” if your book was successfully submitted. If you don’t think it worked, you are welcome to submit again.

  5. Mary Munday

    We are considering nominating a book that was written by an Illinois resident who has since moved out of state. If the author no longer lives in Illinois, is it still possible to nominate the book?

    1. Jennifer Amling

      At this time we will only be accepting nominations of authors who currently live in Illinois. We are hoping to start this project in other states in the future though, so stay tuned!

  6. Grace

    I have an author who has classified their novel as young adult. Would they be eligible for the competition?

    1. Jennifer Amling

      It’s a fine line. I would classify the novel as adult fiction on the application and let the judges decide if it qualifies or not. We would prefer to see the novel and decide for ourselves. Thanks so much for your interest!

  7. Carol Jones

    I have been trying to upload for a week. There is no confirmation message. If you are no longer taking entries, could you let us know or respond.

    1. Jennifer Amling

      I’m sorry you are having trouble with your upload. If the file does upload correctly, you should get a confirmation message. We will be taking entries until December 15th.
      If your file is larger than 8MB, there may be a problem uploading it to our site because it is so large. I would suggest publishing it on smashwords and using the URL from smashwords on the application.

  8. Fran Fredricks

    May an individual library sponsor/nominate more than one author?

    1. Jennifer Amling

      Yes, libraries may sponsor as many authors as they would like. However, authors may only enter one book.

  9. Sandy Whitmer

    If an author uses a “pen” name, do you prefer his/her real name or “pen” name on the application?

    1. Jennifer Amling

      Using a pen name is fine, however in the “Author Information” section of the application we would like to know the “real” name of the author.
      Thank you.

  10. Audrey Lewis

    Would a book of short stories be acceptable?

    1. Jennifer Amling

      Hi Audrey,

      A book of short stories would be acceptable as long as they fell into the adult fiction category. Thank you for your interest!


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