Behind the Scenes

Welcome to the 2016 Community Novel Project from the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library!


WRITERS: Learn more about the self-publishing process, including peer feedback and editing, and contribute a short story to this year’s community novel. Contact Project Organizers Lissa Staley and Miranda Ericsson.

Follow along on our writing, editing and publishing progress by looking Behind the Scenes or you can Get Involved as a writer, editor, marketer, or in any other role needed to successfully self-publish a book.

Upcoming events are listed under Get Involved

Previous Events, Handouts, Photos and Notes

Create the Community Novel

Saturday, January 23, 2016 • Noon-2 p.m.
Marvin Auditorium 101C

Learn self publishing from premise to paperback or ebook. Writers will create thematically connected stories, peer critique, copy edit, layout, publish and market the book. Focus on skills including connecting to local networks, establishing collaborations and setting project timelines.

Fiction Writing Basics Workshop with Thomas Fox Averill

Tuesday, February 23, 2016 • 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Marvin Auditorium 101BC

Writing short stories and flash fiction requires a different approach than novel-length writing. Author Thomas Fox Averill will guide aspiring short fiction writers into crafting effective short fiction in this community writing workshop.

Editing Your Novel

Thursday, March 10, 2016 • 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Writing the first draft of a novel is the first step on the journey to publication. Morgan Chilson will speak from her experience as a writer, ghostwriter and editor. To move toward a manuscript worth submitting, you have to sit down to edit. Discuss types of revision in this community writing workshop including line editing, copy editing and peer feedback.

How to Workshop for Writers

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 • 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Marvin Auditorium 101BC
You can gather like-minded writers, share works, successfully workshop fiction, nonfiction and poetry and make your own writing community right where you are. We’ll show you how. Leah Sewell will speak from her experience as a writer, editor and workshop facilitator. Leave armed with new connections and resources to get started with creating or joining a writers group.

Notes from How to Workshop for Writers with Leah Sewell

BASIC Checklist from How to Workshop for Writers with Leah Sewell

Community Novel Project: Marketing Yourself

Tuesday, May 10, 2016 • 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Marvin Auditorium 101C
Create and promote your writing persona to help connect readers to your books. Learn how to improve author bios, use social media, choose head shots and give compelling written and recorded interviews. Get tips and share experiences with other writers. Presentation by Mikki Burcher.

Notes from Marketing Yourself with Mikki Burcher

Mikki Burcher’s presentation: Marketing You Handout

Self-Publishing with Createspace and Smashwords

Monday, June 6, 2016 • 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Marvin Auditorium 101C
Bringing your written work to market for sale and distribution has never been easier. Learn how to select a platform that fits your project. Join a discussion about formatting and publication options. Share ideas about marketing to reach readers. Presentation by Ian Hall.

Notes from Self Publishing with Createspace and Smashwords with Ian Hall

Miranda Ericsson’s presentation Self-Publishing: Getting Started .Adapted from Libraries Partnering with Self-Publishing: A Winning Combination, Chapter 5, by Miranda Ericsson and Lissa Staley. Libraries Unlimited, 2016.


The Big Picture: A Community of Writers
Facilitator: Lissa Staley, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

Saturday, August 20, 2016
Marvin Auditorium

What could a community of writers accomplish? Facilitator Lissa Staley will help the group strategize and prioritize goals for the writing community. This is bigger than NaNoWriMo, bigger than Washburn’s English Department, bigger than poetry readings, bigger than the public library, bigger than any one writing group — but it includes all of those parts of our community. What do you need from each other and from your community? We will NOT be assigning out any tasks or develop a strategic plan, but when we engage in a facilitated discussion with many individual authors in the same room, we help people work together to see a big picture for the writing community.

Results from the Facilitated Conversation with Lissa Staley and a Community of Writers