Addison resident Dennis Avelar, a talented yet not well-known writer, just moved closer to well-earned recognition and fame, and Illinois readers have just been introduced to his three great new novel. And it’s because of the growing partnership between writers and librarians.

Avelar, a patron of the Addison Public Library, has been named semi-finalists in the eighth annual Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project Indie Book Competition (STBF) for his book, El Quetzal Azul – El Mundo Desde El Cielo.

Why is this book different from most other books on library shelves? It did not come out of a major publishing house, nor has it been featured (yet) in publishing journals, but because it was entered in the STBF contest, it was read and evaluated by multiple volunteer Illinois librarian judges, trusted professionals who know what appeals to their reader patrons.

For a variety of reasons, thousands of high-quality books fly under the radar of the major publishing houses each year. Eight years ago, a group of Illinois librarians took up the challenge to find these hidden gems and demonstrate the power of libraries to create “buzz” around them—to make their authors famous—and the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project was born. Previous STBF winners have enjoyed higher book sales, increased visibility on library platforms, and at least one publishing contract. This year we expanded the contest to include a category for Spanish language works. We’re thrilled to announce Mr. Avelar’s novel as one of the inaugural group of semi-finalists.

This outstanding work, along with six other Spanish language novels, five works of English young adult fiction, and eleven English adult fiction books were chosen as semi-finalists in this year’s competition. Winners in each category will receive a cash prize, opportunities to promote their books at libraries and author fairs throughout Illinois, and the chance to compete with winners from other state competitions to be named Indie Author of the Year. They may also choose to have their book made available on online library platforms with the opportunity of earning royalties based on the number of times it is downloaded.

The judges are now back at work re-reading and further examining the semi-finalist novels and will narrow the field to three finalists next month, and after one more round of judging the winner will be announced in October.

For more information on the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project and its competitions, please visit


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