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.
Current Committee Members
- Eva Baggili, Chicago Ridge Public Library
- Kate Buckson, LaGrange Park Public Library
- Jeffrey Fisher, Fountaindale Public Library District
- Carol Morency, Consulting member
- Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library
- Julie Stam, Eisenhower Public Library District
- Sue Wilsey, Helen Plum Public Library
- Nikki Zimmermann, Reaching Across Illinois Library System
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).