by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Happy National Library Week! This year’s theme is “Libraries Lead.” First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is an observance sponsored by the American Library Association to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.
This year the Friends of the Litchfield Public Library are hosting a Local Author Expo on Thursday, April 12, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the library to celebrate National Library Week. The event will be an opportunity to learn about books published by local authors, as well as library-sponsored self-publishing opportunities and the activities of the Friends of the Library. The authors will be on hand to talk about their writing and to sell and sign their books.
The authors participating are Heather Weseman, Kari Trumbo, Nancy Paddock, Joe Paddock (representing the Litchfield Area Writers’ Group), Duane Hickler, Rosie Hartwig-Benson, Steve Dille, and Mariah Ralston Deragon with Mary Kay Keller Ralston.
At the expo, you can learn more about a new program Minnesota libraries are offering, which is called MN Writes MN Reads. This online program is for writers interested in easy-to-use, free resources for publishing and sharing e-books, and for readers interested in discovering self-published books by Minnesota writers. The website is www.mnwritesmnreads.org.
Through this website, you can access Pressbooks to design and export your own e-book. You can create e-book and print-ready formats of your novel, memoir, poetry collection, children’s book, or any other kind of book. Templates are available to give your book a professional appearance, and you can export it in EPUB, MOBI, PDF, and other formats. There are instructions and suggestions on the website for using Pressbooks.
Then if you’d like to make your e-book available to readers for free and promote your book, you can use other resources on the MN Writes MN Reads website to do that. You can upload your book to SELF-e, a service run by Library Journal, for inclusion in Indie Minnesota, a statewide e-book collection promoting local authors.
After a book is uploaded, it is reviewed to ensure that it is technically sound and does not infringe on copyrights. This takes a few days before the book appears in Indie Minnesota, available for anyone in the state to read online.
Fiction books in English that are uploaded to SELF-e have a very exciting opportunity: they are reviewed by Library Journal, a major professional publication for libraries. The ones that get the best reviews are featured in an issue of the magazine, and they are included in a special online collection, SELF-e Select, which is available to readers across the United States. The review process takes one to two months.
Another great opportunity for authors who upload their books through MN Writes MN Reads: adult and young adult fiction submitted by June 30, 2018, can be entered into the first annual Minnesota Author Project. Two winners receive $1000 and will be featured in Library Journal. Some neat promotional opportunities come along with winning that contest.
If you’ve got a dream of being discovered as an author, or just of having your book published and available for people to read, these new resources may be good things for you to explore. And if you’re a reader looking for something fresh and different, both our local author expo and these new online resources may lead to you discovering an author you haven’t read before.
Stop by anytime between 5:00 and 7:00 on Thursday evening to learn more and to take a look around the library to celebrate National Library Week.