Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project!

I’m an Author: How Do I Apply?

Thank you for your interest in the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project.

Which contest is for me?

We offer two library-driven contests each year to support Illinois authors. Details about each project are below.

2024 Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project Contest

Enter your work in the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest for the opportunity to win a cash prize award and state-wide recognition.

We’re looking for the best adult and YA fiction and memoirs by Illinois self- and indie-published authors. Through our eleventh annual contest, we’re helping Illinois libraries connect local authors with readers.

Judged exclusively by Illinois library staff members, the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest is a powerful way for authors to elevate their careers and writing goals, powered by the library community. In addition to prizes and perks, being recognized by librarians creates credibility and visibility for authors, setting them apart in a growing marketplace of digital content and self- and indie-published books.

For the 2024 contest:

    • The top three books chosen by our judges will be recognized as contest Finalists.

The overall winner of our contest will receive:

    • $2,000
    • Honors at the 2024 Indie Author Day Reception
    • Statewide recognition by Illinois libraries as the top indie-published book
    • Opportunities to promote your book at public libraries
    • Opportunities to earn royalties through the IAP Select collection (ePUB format required for eligibility)
    • Inclusion alongside other winners in a full-page print spread in Library Journal

To be eligible, the submitted book must be:

    • Self- or Indie-published *
    • Written by an Illinois resident
    • English-language only
    • In one of the following genres:
      • Mystery/Thrillers
      • Romance
      • SciFi/Fantasy
      • Historical Fiction
      • General/Contemporary Fiction
      • Memoir (new for 2024)
      • Young Adult
    • Entries should be geared towards an Adult or Young Adult audience
    • Available in either ePUB (strongly recommended) or PDF format

If your book meets the above criteria, please click the button below to get started.

Submission Deadline is May 31, 2024

New for 2024

Entering your book into our Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project provides simultaneous (and optional) entry into the annual Indie Author Project contest, too. This separate contest is open to self- and indie-published authors from across the globe to compete. One winner and two honorable mentions will be chosen in each of the following genres: Mystery/Thrillers, Romance, SciFi/Fantasy, Historical Fiction, General/Contemporary Fiction, Memoir, and Young Adult. For more information about this exciting additional contest click here.

* Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project considers indie-published authors to include any authors who have the rights to independently sell, market, and distribute their works, including authors who have fully self-published all of their works, as well as hybrid authors who may have the rights to some of their works and be under contract on others.

2024 Manuscript Project for Authors

Do you have a manuscript ready to take to the next level? We're looking for the best unpublished works of adult fiction. We will accept complete manuscripts of adult fiction in book length (50,000 to 100,000 words) from Illinois authors only. 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 next Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project contest.

Here is how our contest works:

  • Contest opens January 2, 2024 and closes on March 1, 2024.
  • Participating authors must live in Illinois, and the manuscript being submitted must be unpublished and in an adult fiction genre.
  • Submissions must meet certain other criteria in order to be eligible. Before submitting, please verify that your manuscript includes:
  • A Title Page with the following:
    • Title (Working)
    • Author Name
    • Word count number (entries must be no fewer than 50,000 and no more than 100,000 words)
    • A Synopsis on the title page (50 words or less)
    • An Author Bio also on the title page (100 words or less)
  • The Manuscript itself must be formatted as a single Word Doc or PDF
    • 12 pt (Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman)
    • 1.5 line spacing
    • Multiple files not accepted.

Note: failure to meet criteria may result in disqualification for the entry.

The 2024 Manuscript Contest has closed to submissions and is now in its initial judging phase.