Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project!

The Soon To Be Famous Blog

2022 Finalists Announced

The Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project judges have reviewed this year's contest submissions of indie-published books by Illinois authors. They've narrowed down their choices to these top three entries listed below (in alphabetical order by author’s last name).

Congratulations to these finalists who go on to compete in the next round where one will emerge as 2022's winner. Watch this blog for the winner announcement later this year.


Len Joy of Skokie has been chosen as one of three finalists in the statewide Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project competition for his novel American Past Time. This darkly nostalgic story is a study of an American family through good times and bad, engagingly set against major events from the 1950s to the ’70s, as issues of race simmer in the background. History buffs and baseball fans will especially appreciate details such as sting-ray bikes, Green Stamps, and the names of famous baseball players, including Spahn, Larsen, Mantle and Musial that set the scene for the story.

Len commented, “While I am still in the not quite famous category, I have continued to make progress, and I appreciate the recognition.” He learned about the contest from the Skokie Public Library. Len’s biography (which includes being a nationally rated triathlete!) and more information about his books can be found at lenjoybooks.com.


Alina Rubin of Niles has been chosen as one of three finalists in the statewide Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project competition for her novel A Girl With a Knife.

Alina commented, "I've asked the wonderful staff of the Niles library what I would need to do to get A Girl with a Knife on the library shelves, and they've told me about the Illinois Soon to Be Famous Manuscript and Author projects. I applied right away, and I'm glad I did. The nomination reflects not only my work, but the effort of my editor Kirsten Rees and her team, the cover designers at GetCovers and my amazing beta readers. I can't thank them enough!"

Like many writers, Alina took advantage of the time she saved by not commuting to her job during the pandemic to write a book. A Girl With a Knife is the story of a nineteenth century woman surgeon, and is the first title in a planned series.


Rebecca Taniguchi of St. Charles has been chosen as one of three finalists in the statewide Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project competition for her novel Hiro’s War.

“I am delighted to be honored by the Soon to Be Famous Project for writing Hiro’s War, which tells the little-known story of Japanese Americans who fought valiantly for their country while their friends and families sat in U.S. concentration camps, rounded up and thrown into the armed prisons because of their race,” she commented. 

Hiro’s War tells the story of how Chicago became a beacon of hope for  many of these citizens and their parents, offering acceptance, jobs, and services to help restart their lives during and after the war. Indeed, Chicago was the largest resettlement site in the country as it aided tens of thousands of Japanese Americans and their parents. 

 As Rebecca said, “Written at this time when other groups and individuals are shunned as outsiders, Hiro's story teaches that the American ideals of justice and equality for all demand constant work and vigilance, compassion and resilience.” 

De la Página a la Fama Deadline Extended

Great news Illinois Authors!

Do you have a self-published fiction novel or memoir? De la Página a la Fama contest is looking for the next great book to promote for Spanish language readers. The deadline for this contest is extended to September 30! Submit your work today for a chance to win $2000 in prize money plus more. A prize of $500 will be awarded to the 2nd place winner. Click here for details.


¡Buenas noticias, autores de Illinois!

¿Ha autopublicado una novela o autobiografía? Participe en el concurso De la Página a la Fama. ¡Buscamos hacer llegar una gran lectura a los lectores hispanohablantes! Se ha extendido el plazo de entrega hasta el 30 de septiembre. Se ofrece un premio monetario de $2000 y más para el ganador; el segundo lugar recibirá un premio de $500. Para más información.

2022 Manuscript Winner

We’re pleased to announce the winner of our 2022 Soon to Be Famous Manuscript contest:

House Call by Sarah Roots

(Chicago Public Library)

Sarah's prizes include:

  • Professional line editor
  • Professionally designed cover
  • Self-publishing guidance.
  • Finished book entered as semi-finalist status in the next Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest.

Congratulations, Sarah!

A conversation with Pascuala Herrera

Watch the recording from our latest author event featuring a conversation with Pascuala Herrera, the inaugural winner of the 2021 De la Página a la Fama contest. Learn how the experience of grieving over the death of her beloved mother led Pascuala to create this inspiring and award-winning memoir. Pascuala will also share how and why she decided to self-publish and enter the De la Página a la Fama contest.

Recorded Live on Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Branch


Click to download our flyer about this event in English and Spanish.

2022 Contests Open for Submissions

We are excited to announce the start of our 2022 contests for Self- and Indie-Published Illinois authors. The Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest is now open and accepting entries. Also, the De la Página a la Fama contest is open for submissions.

Both contests have an entry deadline of June 30, 2022.

Click here to get started.

2022 Manuscript Finalists Announced

We're excited to announce the finalists for the 2022 Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Manuscript Project contest. Congratulations to these three Illinois authors. Our judges next evaluate their submissions to determine this year's contest winner. 

Here are our finalists (in alphabetical order by author last name).

  • How to Spot A Fake by Rachelle Dio (Cook Memorial Public Library District)
  • House Call by Sarah Roots (Chicago Public Library)
  • A Girl with a Knife by Alina Rubin (Niles-Maine District Library)

Details about our Manuscript Project can be found here.

2022 Manuscript Semifinalists

Our judges have finished their initial review of the 2022 Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Manuscript Project contest submissions. Congratulations to those semifinalists listed below moving on to our second round (in alphabetical order by author last name).

  • The Ex-Trail by Karyn Bowman (Manteno Public Library District)
  • Chrysalis of Fire by Pete Cholewinski (Naperville Public Library)
  • How to Spot A Fake by Rachelle Dio (Cook Memorial Public Library District)
  • Noah’s Ark by Matthew Holmes (La Grange Park Public Library District)
  • Beyond Maxwell Street by Della Leavitt (Chicago Public Library)
  • Hold Hands in Darkness by Carl Nusbaum (Northbrook Public Library)
  • Silent Hearts by Anita Renaghan (Gail Borden Public Library District)
  • House Call by Sarah Roots (Chicago Public Library)
  • A Girl with a Knife by Alina Rubin (Niles-Maine District Library)
  • It’s Raining Men by Hollie Smurthwaite (Chicago Public Library)
  • Get a Life by Dan Woessner (Sterling Public Library)

Details about our Manuscript Project are found here.

Spanish Self-Publishing Webinar Recording Available

Aspiring and experienced writers looking for alternatives to traditional publishing take note!

Missed the live webinar? Watch the recording on YouTube.

De la Página a la Fama 2021 winning author Pascuala Herrera will be sharing information and tips for self-publishing on March 10, 2022 at 6:30pm via Facebook and Zoom. Participants will be able to learn about the alternatives and process through the author’s own experiences self-publishing her winning memoir, “It’s Not Always a Valley of Tears.”

The free webinar, hosted by Addison Public Library, Aurora Public Library, Gail Borden Public Library and Schaumburg Public Library, will be in Spanish. Participants can view it on the Addison, Aurora and Gail Borden libraries Facebook pages, or join through Zoom.


Presentación en español sobre autopublicación el 10 de marzo  

Los escritores que buscan alternativas a la publicación tradicional, ¡tomen nota! La autora ganadora del concurso De la Página a la Fama 2021, Pascuala Herrera, compartirá información y consejos para la autopublicación el 10 de marzo de 2022 a las 6:30 p. m. a través de Facebook y Zoom. Los participantes podrán aprender sobre las alternativas y el proceso a través de las propias experiencias de la autora al publicar su autobiografía ganadora, "No siempre es un valle de lágrimas".

La presentación, organizada por la Biblioteca Pública de Addison, la Biblioteca Pública de Aurora, la Biblioteca Pública Gail Borden y la Biblioteca Pública de Schaumburg, será en español. Los participantes podrán verla en las páginas de Facebook de las bibliotecas de Addison, Aurora y Gail Borden, o unirse a través de Zoom.

Grabación en YouTube

Our Authors at LitFest

As part of their month-long LitFest, Galena Public Library is hosting online programs this January with several Soon to Be Famous winners. For more information, visit their event Facebook page and register here.

Missed the live program? You can watch it again right here:

Our 2021 Winners

We are thrilled to announce this year’s winners for both the 2021 Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author Project and 2021 De la Página a la Fama contests. Our librarian judges from across Illinois scored the finalists to select these winning authors. Congratulations!

Adult Fiction Winner

Demon's Bane, India Powers (Gail Borden Public Library)

Young Adult Fiction Winner

All Last Summer, Stephanie J. Scott (Aurora Public Library)

De la Página a la Fama Winner

No siempre es un valle de lágrimas, Pascuala Herrera (Franklin Park Library)

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