Start Your Own Community Novel

A community novel is one that is collaboratively conceptualized, written, illustrated, narrated, edited and published by members of your community.

Pilot Project Mode

Even in our 7th project, we always work in pilot project mode, experimenting, adapting, improving, and evaluating elements of this project. We are intentionally documenting and sharing our process so that other libraries and communities can build on these experiences to create their own community novels.

Previous Projects

Explore and read previous projects 2012-2016.

Behind the Scenes

Our Behind the Scenes pages include examples, handouts, pictures,  forms, documentation, screenshots, explanations, and advice from our 2012-2016 community novel self-publishing projects to inform and inspire your project.  See step-by-step documentation of how the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is facilitating a collaborative fiction self-publishing experience from start to finish in our community.

It’s wonderful to work with such creative, driven, positive writers.  I love the unprecedented level of group interaction on this project so much.” – Project Organizer Miranda Ericsson


The Community Novel Project is featured in a Trends/Perspectives article in American Libraries magazine.

“Leading Self Publishing Efforts in Communities.” Lissa Staley. American Libraries, January/February 2015, pages 18-19. View online or download the PDF.


The Community Novel Project model is featured in Chapter 7 of Libraries Partnering with Self-Publishing: A Winning Combination by Robert J. Grover, Kelly Visnak, Carmaine Ternes, Miranda Ericsson, and Lissa Staley.


Watch a one hour webinar with Miranda Ericsson and Lissa Staley on NCompass Live: Engaging Writers with a Community Novel Project from July 2014.

Contact Project Organizers

Librarians Lissa Staley and Miranda Ericsson are willing to answer questions, share ideas, and provide resources based on our experiences, and to learn from your experiences as well. Reach us at