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The Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) joins libraries throughout the state in announcing the call for entries in this year’s Minnesota Author Project statewide contest. Submissions will be accepted April 1 - May 31.


Text courtesy of MELSA.

The Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) joins libraries throughout the state in announcing the call for entries in this year’s Minnesota Author Project statewide contest for independently-published Young Adult and Adult Fiction. This is the contest’s fourth year.  The Minnesota Author Project Communities Create category, introduced last year, is also inviting entries for its second year. Communities Create seeks creative written work by Minnesota organizations and communities. 

Submissions in all three categories will be accepted from April 1 - May 31, 2021.

For the Young Adult and Adult Fiction categories, winners will receive:

  • $1000 each in adult and young adult categories (provided by the Minnesota Library Foundation and BiblioLabs)
  • Honors at the 2022 spring Indie Author Project Reception
  • Opportunities to promote your book(s) at Minnesota public libraries
  • Inclusion in a full-page print spread in Library Journal
  • Opportunities to earn royalties through the Indie Author Project Select collection
  • If available, print copies of your book will be purchased and made available for checkout through Minnesota’s public libraries.
  • Inclusion and promotion in Indie Minnesota, a digital collection of local authors available on BiblioBoard Library. (Winners and finalists)
  • Multiple submissions are welcome.

Each book that is submitted to the contest must be:

  • Indie-published
  • In an adult fiction or young adult fiction genre
  • Written by a Minnesota resident
  • Available in either ePUB or PDF file

For the Communities Create category, the winning organization/group will receive:

  • $1,000 cash prize (provided by the Minnesota Library Foundation and Bibliolabs)
  • Honors at the 2021 Minnesota Library Conference 
  • Honorary plaque 
  • Printing of the winning book
  • Opportunity to have the winning book available throughout the state in the Indie Minnesota collection on BiblioBoard Library
  • Media promotion throughout Minnesota

Each book that is submitted to the Communities Create contest must be:

  • Created by a Minnesota-based organization or group
  • A recommended minimum length of 10,000 words or 20 pages
  • Available in either ePub or PDF format

For additional details, visit the Adult and Young Adult Indie Author Project website's guides for the Adult and Young Adult and Communities Create categories.

For free resources to get started and for a link to the Indie Minnesota Collection, visit MN Writes MN Reads.

Marlene Moulton Janssen, president of the Minnesota Library Foundation, points out that “Self-publishing platforms and electronic access such as BiblioBoard Library are examples of the many ways that libraries assist readers in finding independent authors and provide access to the results of community writing collaborations.”  For indie-published authors, being recognized by libraries creates credibility and visibility in the growing marketplace of digital content and indie-published books. Bethany Atazadeh, the 2020 winner in the Young Adult category for her book The Stolen Kingdom, particularly valued “more library exposure and getting to know brand new readers.” 

According to Publisher’s Weekly, the number of self-published books increased by 40% in 2018, totaling more than 1.4 million titles. Though more recent totals aren’t yet available, it’s probable that many people started writing projects during the pandemic, and we encourage them to take this opportunity to reach thousands of new readers via Minnesota’s libraries! 

And everyone, writers and readers alike, is encouraged to check out the indie Minnesota library. Download the Biblioboard Library app or visit the website.

Written by

Zach Miller
Head of Communications