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.

In the first year of the project, 103 self-published adult fiction titles were nominated and eighteen librarians across the state served as judges. After a series of eliminations, the top 3 authors were selected and were all present at the ILA headquarters for the announcement. Vinjamuri flew in from New York to introduce the authors and present the award to the winner. Committee members are currently planning for the fourth year of this exciting initiative.

Soon To Be Famous Illinois Authors:
2014 – Joanne Zienty
2015 – Michael Alan Peck
2016 – Geralyn Hesslau Magrady
017 –  
Daniel Rosenberg

Current Committee Members:
Julie Stam, Eisenhower Public Library
Donna Fletcher, Donna Fletcher Consulting
Sue Wilsey, Helen Plum Public Library
Nikki Zimmermann, Lagrange Public Library
Eva Baggili, Chicago Ridge Public Library
Karen McBride, Barrington Area Library
Amy Byrne, White Oak Library District
Eileen Crowley, Wheaton Public Library
Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library
Jeffrey Fisher, Fountaindale Public Library

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, and Chicago Women in Publishing (CWIP).

Members of the Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author Project committee, Bob Doyle of the Illinois Library Association, and 2015 winner Michael Alan Peck surround 2016 winner Geralyn Hesslau Magrady.
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