“As the program has developed and matured over the past few years, we have built a network of hundreds of librarians who are directly engaged in finding and promoting their best local authors."
In November 2019, following a concerted effort by Library Journal and public librarian book reviewers across the state, books by Scott Semegran of Austin and Michelle Rene of Dallas were chosen as the two best independently published books in Texas. On February 6, both authors will be honored by the library and publishing communities for their accomplishments at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin. Semegran and Rene will also be eligible for the North America-wide 2020 Indie Author of the Year Award, which will be presented at the Public Library Association (PLA) conference in late February.
In addition to hearing from this year’s winners, attendees will get a snapshot of the emerging creative relationships forming between public libraries and independent authors and hear from librarians and publishing professionals in Texas about the state of indie and self-publishing. The event, which will be followed by a happy hour, also provides a valuable opportunity for networking among the Texas book community.
The Texas Author Project is part of the Indie Author Project (IAP), a larger effort focused on public libraries finding and elevating the best indie and self-published books across North America. IAP is a collaborative publishing and curation community that includes Library Journal and IAP regional indie book contests run across hundreds of North American libraries each year. IAP-curated collections make it easier for librarians to add curated and award-winning content from local and indie authors to their print and digital collections.
Mitchell Davis, CEO of Indie Author Project creator BiblioLabs, believes these partnerships provide a new vision for the discoverability of new writers and provide a valuable role for public libraries in the changing world of books and reading. “As the program has developed and matured over the past few years, we have built a network of hundreds of librarians who are directly engaged in finding and promoting their best local authors. The curated collections, including winners, finalists and shortlist e-books of North American regional contests, represent the cream of the crop. We are so proud to work with libraries across Texas and look forward to working with our winning authors in Texas throughout the coming year,” says Davis.
The event is free and interested attendees can learn more and RSVP now at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/texas-author-project-awards-reception-tickets-88961505257.
Scott Semegran is an award-winning writer of humorous fiction with a dose of heart. BlueInk Review described him best as “a gifted writer, with a wry sense of humor.” His latest book is a comic sendup of state government—an entertaining slice-of-life story that’s humorous yet uplifting at the same time—titled To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel, which was the 2019 Readers' Favorite International Book Award Winner: Silver Medal for Fiction - Humor/Comedy and the 2019 Texas Author Project Winner for Adult Fiction. His previous novel, Sammie & Budgie, was the first-place winner for Fiction in the 2018 Texas Authors Book Awards. His book BOYS was the 2018 IndieReader Discovery Awards winner for Short Stories. His other books include The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood, The Spectacular Simon Burchwood, Modicum, and Mr. Grieves.
Michelle Rene is a creative advocate and the author multiple published works of historical fiction and speculative fiction. She is the author of novels, short stories, essays and video games. She has won multiple indie awards. Her novel, Hour Glass, won Chanticleer Review’s “Best Book of the Year” award in 2018. Her experimental novella, Tattoo, released with a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly and was a Foreword Reviews Indies finalist for fantasy. The Dodo Knight, a historical novella, placed as a finalist with the Next Gen Indie Book Awards. Her young adult historical fantasy, Manufactured Witches, placed in Readers’ Favorites and was honored by the Indie Author Project as Texas’s best YA novel in 2019.
Other Texas Author Project finalists include Jamie Foley, Sentinel (Bastrop Public Library); Joy H. Selak, CeeGee's Gift (Austin Public Library); Meg Lelvis, Blind Eye (Houston Public Library); and Chris Cander, 11 Stories (Harris County Public Library).
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides Texans access to the information they need to be informed, productive citizens by preserving the archival record of Texas; enhancing the service capacity of public, academic and school libraries; assisting public agencies in the maintenance of their records; and meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities. For more information, visit www.tsl.texas.gov.