Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project!

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2023 Manuscript Winner

Announcing the winner of our 2023 Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Manuscript Project contest:

Burn and Balm by Kate Guerrero

(Schaumburg Township District Library)

Kate Guerrero of Schaumburg took “a giant leap of faith” writing the manuscript for Burn and Balm, a razor-sharp tale of “gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss” culture set against a backdrop of diapers and breast pumps. It’s about the complexities of female friendship and the unique power women hold to both uplift and destroy one another.

“Writing this book (my first!) [has] been a huge learning experience involving lots of emotions. Winning the manuscript contest has been such a boost to my determination to become a published author, and such a vote of confidence that my novel is worth reading,” she commented.

Guerrero is the latest recipient of the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Manuscript Project Contest, now in its fifth year. Run entirely by library volunteers, the contest recognizes excellent quality unpublished adult fiction by Illinois authors. As winner, she will receive free line editing and cover design services as well as guidance from the Soon to Be Famous Team and former award winners.

Kate is a writer and artist currently seeking representation for her winning debut novel, Burn and Balm. Turning out excellent client copy by day and furiously scribbling fiction by night. Kate loves writing about topics related to motherhood, friendship, and growing into your dreams. She believes that trying something new is worth making a mess.

Kate'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.

About the Project

Since 2014, the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project has been demonstrating the power of libraries to create a market for authors and find more great reads for patrons. We recognize excellence in self-published and indie-published fiction in our book contest, and have been seeking out high quality unpublished adult fiction for our manuscript contest for five years.

Since its inception, STBF has been replicated in 14 states and two Canadian provinces. With help from sponsor BiblioLabs, a division of Lyrisis, winning books from all regions now compete for Indie Author of the Year. Learn more at

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 the Illinois Heartland Library System.