Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project!

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Announcing: Semi-finalists for 2019 Illinois Author Project

This year 81 Illinois authors submitted their works of Adult or Young Adult fiction to be considered for the 2019 Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest. After carefully reviewing these submissions, we are excited to announce our Semi-Finalists for the 2019 contest.  Congratulations!


Adult Fiction

In alphabetical order by author.
  • The River Caught Sunlight, Katie Andraski
  • Getting Rid of Mabel, Keziah Frost
  • Give me Chocolate, Annie Hansen
  • War, Spies, and Bobby Sox, Libby Hellmann
  • Controlled Descent, K. M. Herkes
  • The Dragon of New Orleans, Genevieve Jack
  • American Past Time, Len Joy
  • Full Slab Dead, EM Kaplan
  • My Life as a Star, Ruth Kaufman
  • Unrequited Guilt, Kim Praser
  • Punk Charming, Laura Quinn
  • The Bone Shroud, Jean Rabe
  • The Pear Tree, K. M. Sandrick
  • Renegade Pawn, Craig S. Wilson
  • Twisted Secrets, Donna M. Zadunajsky

Young Adult Fiction

In alphabetical order by author.
  • The Chronocar, Steve Bellinger
  • One Night, Deanna Cabinian
  • The Remedy Files: Illusion, Lauren Eckhardt
  • Orbit, Leigh Hellman
  • Missing the Mark, Keith Thomas Hoerner
  • Just the Way You Are, Allison M. Lewis
  • Through The Woods, Margie Mack
  • The Fifth Floor and Just Like Ziggy, Julie Oleszek
  • Just One Summer, Lynn Stevens

Congratulations to these 25 authors listed above. We thank everyone who took the time to submit their work. And if you didn’t make it to the second round this year, we encourage you to keep writing and editing. And perhaps, try again next year. 

The Big Win

Read this interesting account of her experience entering and winning the 2019 Manuscript Contest from author Hollie Smurthwaite. The article appears on her own website. Click to read her story.

Excerpt:

Back in 2018, I attended a series of Northbrook Writes lectures at the Northbrook Public Library.  Each time, there was a flier on the table about the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Manuscript Project.  What a great deal–free to enter and the prizes were pretty nice:  line editing, book cover, and an automatic semi-finalist for the 2020 Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest.  So cool!  And I had a manuscript that I thought could be ready for beta readers by the end of the year ... 

Read more here.

Winner: Soon to Be Famous Illinois Manuscript Contest

Watch the video below to meet our 2019 Soon to Be Famous Manuscript contest winner.

Congratulations to Hollie Smurthwaite, the winner of our first Soon to Be Famous Illinois Manuscript Contest. In this video, the author of The Color of Trauma discusses her writing, the story behind the manuscript, why she entered the contest, and what's next for her budding novel. When the video began, she had no idea she'd actually won the contest. Watch her reaction when she finds out the good news.

Our winner receives these valuable prizes:

  • Professional line editor who will work with you to polish your novel.
  • Professionally designed cover.
  • Self-publishing guidance from past STBF winners and committee members.
  • Finished book automatically entered as semi-finalist status in the 2020 Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest.

The next contest returns in late 2019.

Illinois Author Project Now Accepting Submissions

The Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project is proud to announce the start of this year’s contest. Our sixth annual competition to find the best self- and indie-published authors in Illinois kicks off April 1, 2019, and submissions will be accepted through May 31, 2019. New this year is the addition of the Young Adult Fiction category joining our regular contest for Adult fiction.

Each book submitted to the contest must be:

  • Self- or Indie-published
  • In an Adult Fiction or Young Adult Fiction genre
  • Written by a Illinois resident
  • Available in either ePUB or PDF file

The winners of this contest will receive:

  • Statewide recognition by Illinois libraries as the top indie-published books in adult and young adult genres
  • $500 prize each for our two winners, one in each genre
  • Opportunities to promote your book(s) at Illinois libraries
  • Inclusion in a full-page print spread in Library Journal
  • Print book sales to Illinois’ public libraries
  • Inclusion in Popup Picks, a mobile media curation service offered by Reaching Across Illinois Library System, for three months
  • Opportunity to compete with other Indie Author Project contest winners for the Indie Author of the Year award
  • Honors at the Public Library Association Conference 2020 reception in Nashville

    Submit your work here.

2019 Manuscript Finalists Announced

The Soon to Be Famous committee announces the three finalists for our first annual Soon to Be Famous Illinois Manuscript Project contest. Congratulations to these authors (in alphabetical order by book title):

  • Imprudent Love by Diane Maciejewski
  • The Color of Trauma by Hollie Smurthwaite
  • Veritas by Annemarie Mannion

Our volunteer Illinois librarian judges will now select the final winner from these three. Who will take home the top prize? We will announce the winner on April 16 at 2:30 p.m. from the Harold Washington Public Library in downtown Chicago and via a live YouTube video. More details about the ceremony are forthcoming.

Announcing our Semi-finalists for 2019 Manuscript Contest

The Soon to Be Famous committee is excited to announce those authors whose manuscripts are being advanced to our next round of judging. Here are the semi-finalists (in alphabetical order by book title) for the first annual Soon to Be Famous Illinois Manuscript Project contest. Congratulations to all.

  • Clipboard Ready Romance by Judith Wilkie
  • Demons of the Night by Amanda Webster
  • Forever and Always by Sandy Mosher
  • Holidays, Inc by Rachelle Campbell Page
  • Imprudent Love by Diane Maciejewski
  • Maiden of Dreams by Susan Varno
  • Make it Right; Make it Matter by Chiara Talluto
  • Masquerade by Joyce A Brown
  • Northern Lights by Michael Chatlien
  • Recalcitrant Mutation by ES Beidas
  • Send Me Dead Flowers by Paul Whittaker
  • Shadow Things, Book One: A New Path by A H Hrubes
  • Small-Town Monster by James Pressler
  • The Color of Trauma by Hollie Smurthwaite
  • The Manse Calvo by Brian W Budzynski
  • Veritas by Annemarie Mannion
  • War Within by Andrew Calin
  • Yesterday is Tomorrow by Brian Henkels

These manuscripts now enter our second round of judging by our volunteer Illinois librarians. They'll have the difficult task of narrowing these choices down to three finalists who will then go on to compete for the final top prize.

Statewide winners announced

The winners of the inaugural 2018 Indie Author Project statewide contests have been announced. The Soon to Be Famous winner, Heather Bentley, and her book, Sweetest Heartbreak, now competes with the other winners for top honors to be announced in April 2019.

Get all the details about the other winners here.

Manuscript Contest Now Accepting Nominations

The Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Manuscript Project is now accepting nominations from authors with unpublished manuscripts from libraries across Illinois. The contest opens November 1, 2018 and closes January 2, 2019. Update 1/3/2019: This contest is now closed to entries and in its judging phase.

The winner receives these valuable prizes:

  • Professional line editor who will work with you to polish your novel.
  • Professionally designed cover.
  • Self-publishing guidance from past STBF winners and committee members.
  • Finished book automatically entered as semi-finalist status in the 2020 Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest.

The contest is open now and closes January 2, 2019. We will accept complete unpublished manuscripts of adult fiction in book length (50,000 to 100,000 words) from Illinois authors.

Librarians: To start the nomination process, click here.

Authors: For details about the contest and how to submit your work to libraries for nomination, click here.


Announcing: Manuscript Project

The Project’s ongoing success these past five years made the project organizers think about what else libraries could do to support budding authors. The result: A brand-new Manuscript Project. Read on for more details about this exciting addition.

Winners Reviews

We thank Library Journal for enabling us to honor those who work as self-published authors in a unique way. They posted the reviews for Heather Bentley and Daniel Rosenberg, STBF's 2018 and 2017 winners. Congratulations Heather and Daniel.

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