Introducing Indie Author Fest

San Mateo County Libraries is proud to offer an event for independent writers—and the people who love them—our first-ever Indie Author Fest!

Indie Author Fest

Saturday, September 16, Millbrae Library Community Room 

While quite busy planning the fest, I did manage to chat with event organizer, San Mateo County Libraries staffer and published author Kathleen Woods (check out White Wedding, if you dare!). Here's what she had to say.

What made you want to organize an event specifically for independent writers?

At SMCL, we frequently hear from indie authors requesting opportunities for reading and sharing their work. Here I should say that "indie writers" are any writers who self-publish, publish with an independent press or hope to publish. In other words, indie writers are not supported by the marketing budget or press team offered by the big five publishers. As an indie writer myself, I know how challenging it can be to find your way in the literary world, but I also know that the wider Bay Area writing community is incredibly welcoming, supportive and inspiring. SMCL wanted to find a way to champion all those independent writers who are creating great work right here in the Bay Area, offering a platform, cultivating connections and spotlighting library resources authors might not know about.

What resources does the library provide indie authors?

We provide Pressbooks, which is a user-friendly digital self-publishing tool that allows local authors to edit, format, design and produce top-quality eBooks and print-ready files in ePub and PDF formats. We have a partnership with the Indie Author Project, which helps local authors make their works discoverable through the Biblioboard platform. On Biblioboard, patrons can discover and read eBooks from local authors and top indie authors both nationally and internationally.

What do you hope to accomplish at the fest?

First, we hope to connect indie authors with each other! And also with local writer collectives such as the Horror Writers Association, opens a new window, Mystery Writers of America, Norcal Chapter, opens a new window, Golden State Romance Writers, opens a new window and Women Who Submit, Bay Area Chapter, opens a new window, who will all be present at the Fest. During Writers' Hour, opens a new window, writers will also get some great swag and hear SMCL staffer Ginny Mies walk through how to use Pressbooks and Biblioboard.

During the Book Fair, we aim to further uplift indie writers by offering them an opportunity read, sign and sell their work, as well as expose the community to great local writers they might not have discovered otherwise. 

What do you independent authors need to thrive?

Writing often feels like a very solitary act—we're most often crafting our sentences and worlds alone, early in the morning or late into the night. That said, community is an essential part of building a writing life. It is important to know writers you can trust with early drafts, or to meet people whose work excites you, feeding your own creative spark. Sharing a mutual literary passion opens up so many opportunities to present your work to the public or even start something new—why not launch a reading series or literary journal with writers who share your vision? Writers grow by giving to each other. But first, they need to meet!

How can people get involved?

Writers are invited to register using this form, opens a new window. This year's reading schedule is full, but writers are encouraged to register and attend. This is the first Indie Author Fest, but it won't be the only! If you are not a writer but you are interested in exploring the book fair and readings, please arrive September 16, at 2:00 PM at the Millbrae Library.

Which indie authors can I hope to see?

This year, Indie Author Fest features readings and book sales from:

Golden State Romance Writers
D.K. Silver, opens a new window

Horror Writers Association SF Bay Area
T.E. MacArthur, opens a new window
Sumiko Saulson, opens a new window
Tamika Thompson, opens a new window

Mystery Writers of America NorCal
Joe Clifford, opens a new window
Janet Dawson, opens a new window
Lisa Towles, opens a new window

Women Who Submit Bay Area
Cassandra Dallett, opens a new window
María Ochoa

Tad Bogdan, opens a new window
Michelle Carter, opens a new window
Peter N. Carroll
Robin Chapman, opens a new window
Jessica Chrysler, opens a new window
Pragya Jain
Paul Kiritsis, opens a new window
Lilly Mae
Sandy Miranda, opens a new window
Kristine “KP” Poggioli & Carolyn Eidson, opens a new window
Harish Pursnani
Amanda Saeed
Moazzam Sheikh, opens a new window
Elsie Sze, opens a new window