Behind the Scenes

How is a community novel project organized?

We are documenting our process on this page to give you a behind the scenes look at the 2015 Community Novel Project. “Behind the Scenes” combines elements from a project scrapbook, commentary, and archive to create a meaningful look at everything involved in publishing a book from creating the premise to distributing and marketing the final printed book and ebook.

Launching the 2015 project

We have learned that many previous participants in the Community Novel Project choose to contribute to future projects, and we want to always be engaging new participants as well. Our participants bring widely varying interests, skills, and goals.  We try to find ways to balance the expertise of previous participants and continue to provided returning participants with new skills and opportunities, while introducing new participants to collaborative writing and independent publishing.

We started the 2015 project by posting reminders about the initial 2015 Community Novel Project event to local writers groups on Facebook, distributing flyers at related library programs like the Local Author Workshop and the Great Writers, Right Here Author Fair and emailing all previous participants a reminder. The initial event was also advertised in the Library News publication, which was mailed to all library cardholder households.

First event: Create the Community Novel

Saturday, January 31, 2015 | Noon-2 p.m. | Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Learn self-publishing from start to finish with the library’s Community Novel editorial team. You’ll work with other writers to write, edit and publish a teen novel set in Topeka. Bring your premise ideas for a futuristic choose-your-own-adventure. Learn more at
Expected products:

  • Potential participants will express interest in writing, editing, publishing and a variety of other tasks related to writing, editing and publishing a novel.
  • Group will reach consensus on a premise idea, setting and character ideas.

Agenda and 2015 Premise guidelines (2 page PDF)



Previous Projects

Each year we work to improve the production of the community novel project. Read more: Past Project Archive