Announcing the First Annual “Minnesota Author Project: Communities Create” Contest

Minnesota public libraries are pleased to announce the call for entries in the first annual Minnesota Author Project: Communities Create contest. 

For Minnesota organizations and communities who have creative written work to share –  a short story collection from a classroom, a local history book by a team of librarians, a poetry anthology from a writers group, a cookbook by a local foodie society – this new contest is the perfect opportunity to get that work out to a wide audience and maybe win a contest in the process!

Marlene Moulton Janssen, board member of the Minnesota Library Foundation, which sponsors the Minnesota Author Project (along with Minnesota’s libraries and Bibliolabs), explains that this new contest category is designed “to recognize community-created writing and to highlight the central role that libraries play in providing support for local authors and the communities they serve.”

Submissions will be accepted from April 1-May 31, 2020.

The winning organization will receive:

  • A $1000 cash prize
  • Honors at the 2020 Minnesota Library Association Conference
  • An honorary plaque
  • Printing of the winning book and the opportunity to make the book available statewide in the Indie Minnesota collection on BiblioBoard Library
  • Media promotion throughout the state

In order to be eligible for the contest, the book must be:

  • have been created by a Minnesota-based organization
  • available in either PDF or ePub format
  • be of a recommended minimum length of 10,000 words or 20 pages

There are no genre or creation date restrictions, and organizations of all types are encouraged to submit their work, including nonprofits, libraries, schools, cultural groups, historical societies, artistry guilds, and beyond.

Groups are invited to submit entries at  Groups that have content ready but need help formatting or creating a book file are encouraged to use the free MN Writes MN Reads self-publishing resources available to all Minnesota residents.

Call for entries in the Minnesota statewide author contest 

Minnesota Author Project creates opportunities for indie-published authors

Minnesota public libraries are pleased to announce the call for entries in this year’s statewide contest for independently-published Young Adult and Adult Fiction.  This is the contest’s third year.

Submissions will be accepted from April 1-May 31, 2020.

The winners will receive:

  • $1000 each in adult and young adult categories. Prizes sponsored by the Minnesota Library Foundation and BiblioLabs.
  • Honors at an Indie Author Project celebration reception in 2021
  • Opportunities to promote their book(s) at Minnesota public libraries
  • Inclusion in a full-page print spread in Library Journal, one of America’s oldest and most renowned trade publications for library news
  • If available, print copies will be purchased and made available for checkout through Minnesota’s public libraries.
  • Inclusion and promotion in Indie Minnesota

For indie-published authors, the contest is a great way to elevate their careers and business. Being recognized by libraries creates credibility and visibility in the growing marketplace of digital content and indie-published books. The 2019 contest winners attest to how career- and life-changing the award can be. Sarah Hanley, winner in the Adult Fiction category, describes how “the contest has connected me with readers from across the state and nation, and has opened up amazing opportunities.” Steve South, winner in the Young Adult Fiction category, shares that he “struggled for years to find a publisher for my book, which I wound up self-publishing…I now have a signed contract with a publisher.”

According to Publisher’s Weekly, the number of self-published books increased by 40% in 2018, totaling more than 1.4 million titles.  The Minnesota Author Project (combined with the MN Writes MN Reads suite of resources for writers to use to self-publish their work) provides libraries with a chance to encourage new work from this growing group.   This is a trend shared by libraries across the country.  Ran Walker, winner in the adult fiction category of the 2018 Virginia Author Project who went on to win the inaugural Indie Author of the Year award in 2019, notes that since getting involved with the Indie Author Project, “ I have learned the power of libraries and how necessary they are to the growth and success of my writing career.”

Don’t miss this chance to reach thousands of new readers via Minnesota’s libraries!

Each book that is submitted to the contest must be:

  • Independently-published
  • In the category of adult fiction or young adult fiction
  • Written by a Minnesota resident
  • Available in either PDF or ePUB format

Multiple submissions are welcome.

The contest is open for submissions April 1, 2019 through May 31, 2019. Authors are invited to submit entries and to check out the free self-publishing resources at

And everyone, writers and readers alike, is encouraged to check out the Indie Minnesota library.  Download the Biblioboard Library app or read in your web browser.

Winners of the Minnesota Author Project

Congratulations to the winners of the second annual Minnesota Author Project, which recognizes the best indie-published authors in the state of Minnesota!

Adult Fiction

Matka by Sarah Hanley from Hennepin County Library




Young Adult Fiction

The Queen of Steel and Fire by Steve South from Great River Regional Library




Prizes are sponsored by the Minnesota Library Foundation and BiblioLabs and MN Writes MN Reads is a program of the Council of Regional Public Library Systems Administrators.

The following Minnesota Author Project winners & finalists will be at the Twin Cities Book Festival on Saturday, October 12 at the MN Writes MN Reads table. Schedule:

  • Diane Dettmann (finalist) 10:30-12:30: CANCELLED
  • Bethany Atazadeh (2018 finalist) 10:30-12:30
  • Steven South (2019 winner) 11:30-1:30
  • Sarah Hanley (2019 winner) 12:30-2:30
  • Jenna Zark (2019 finalist) 1:30-3:30

Related press:

Winners announced in Minnesota Author Project awards— Star Tribune, 9/20/19