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Author Resources

The Harford County Public Library supports writers in all stages, from the novice with an inkling of an idea, to the published best-selling author. Along with research help, HCPL offers publishing and learning opportunities – for free!

For local authors, publishers and producers

The Library’s professional selection staff evaluates each published work or media production according to our Materials Selection Policy. If you are a local indie or self-published author, your work can become part of the library’s collection. Find out how!

Harford County Public Library Writes! is a listing of print books, eBooks, databases and web resources for writers! It even includes information for children that want to write.

Meet the Author and Writing Workshops are available throughout the year at various branches.  We invite authors, editors, publishers and others in the business to share their knowledge.  Check out the programs and events that are of special interest to writers.

Publishing Resources

Smashwords Self-Publishing

Upload your book to Smashwords and make it available for distribution to major eBook retailers and libraries!
Harford County Public Library has partnered with Smashwords! Now authors can connect with all tools available for self-publishing. Using the Smashwords platform and free advice contained on the website and in the Smashwords Style Guide authors can publish their works for free and make them available to a worldwide audience that includes public libraries.

Authors that use the Harford County Public Library portal will have their work tagged as originating from the Harford County Public Library. Once these works are available via library distributors, such as Overdrive and Baker and Taylor, Harford County Public Library will have the ability to consider them for purchase as part of its eBook collection. Materials that are purchased will have to meet the Library's existing Materials Selection Policy.

Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) is a not-for-profit membership association serving and leading the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. IBPA makes it easier for independent book publishers and self-published authors to navigate the sometimes intimidating publishing process.

Children's Book Council website has a section dedicated to answering the question, "How do I get my book published?"

Blurb: Where Your Ideas Become Great Books
Highlighted in Publishers Weekly, Blurb is a complete publishing platform, with free book creation and layout tools that allow authors to publish print books, magazines, and ebooks in a wide range of formats.

Kindle Kids Book Creator
Kindle Kids' Book Creator is a free tool for authors and publishers to turn their illustrated children's books into great-looking Kindle books. Kindle Kids' Book Creator makes it easy for authors and publishers to import artwork, add text to pages, and preview how their book will look on Kindle devices. 

SwoonReads (Macmillan)
These two publishers are looking for unsolicited manuscripts that have a stamp of reader's authority.  invites writers to post their manuscripts for visitors to read online. Readers rate the work, comment on it, assist with problem areas, etc.  And publishers keep an eye on the submissions and how they do in the reader's eye. 

Each site has its own rules for posting and reading submissions but both are committed to reading the top rated postings, looking for the next breakout, best-selling author!  These sites are free to the authors.

Review Sources

is a website from Publishers Weekly dedicated to indie authors. The site provides a free and easy way to submit self-published books to Publishers Weekly for review, and offers editorial content -- success stories, interviews, author profiles, how-to pieces, news, and features -- geared toward aid indie authors achieve their goals.
If you are not using a service like Booklife and sending your book directly to review sources, select review sources that target your specific market in terms of genre and intended audience. Market guides such as Writers Digest and Writer's Market can assist you with your research. Be certain to read and follow the specific guidelines for each source before submitting your work. Local newspapers or magazines often review works published by local authors.

One of the best ways to have your work included in Harford County Public Library's circulating collection is for it to be positively reviewed.  The review sources we use include:

Library Journal
School Library Journal
Publishers Weekly
Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
NYTimes Book Review
Entertainment Weekly

Social Media For Authors

Goodreads users don't like marketing; Facebook is one of your best bets for PAID advertising; Instagram video may make more sense for authors than YouTube. Take time to understand the audience and what works on each platform then use it.  If you don't do some homework, you may be wasting your time.

WattPad has 16 million engaged readers every month -- a captive audience looking for their next great read. Wattpad is leading the way in social reading by enabling its readers and writers to be interactive.  Share a short story or prequel to whet your readers' appetite; collaborate with another author; serialize a story; ask for suggestions!  Similar sites include Figment, Miss Literati, and Booksie.

Author's Den allows you to create an author bio with links to your books, articles, news and blog posts.

GoodReads gives you a way to reach readers who READ and like to connect with other readers. Post information about yourself, what books you are reading and have written (with sales links to Amazon).

Library Thing. If you are an author with a book that can be found online e.g. on Amazon, you can have an author page that links to your book and find readers who read what you write.

Word Press provides a free and easy way to get blogging.  Word of caution: If you decide to do this, DO IT.  Keep it up to date with regular, interesting posts.   


Author Oriented Crowd Funding

Inkshares invites authors to submit a manuscript for crowdfunding and offers the publishing and support services needed once the work is funded.

Kickstarter is the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. Reach millions of people who can pledge money to help fund your book!

Pubslush is a crowdfunding platform focused on the literary world. It services authors, publishing professionals and literary trendsetters.


Writer's Groups

As an aspiring author, you may want to join an area writer's group. The Library hosts a monthly group:

  • 1st Thursday of the month, 6-8pm

Harford Writers' Group @ The Library
Jarrettsville Public Library
3722 Norrisville Road
Jarrettsville, MD  21084

Find others around the region


Maryland Writer’s Groups

Black Writers' Guild
P.O. Box 11481
Baltimore, MD  21239

Haiku Society of America - Mid-Atlantic region
Ellen Compton, Regional Coordinator
5425 Connecticut Avenue NW, Apt 217
Washington, DC 20015-2764

Gunpowder Pen Women. Gunpowder Branch, National League of American Pen Women

Maryland Chapter of Romance Writers of America
PO Box 442
Highland, MD 20777

Maryland Writers Association
3 Church Circle #165
Annapolis, MD 21401

MCC Writers Group
Mountain Christian Church
New Life Center, Room 111/113
1824 Mountain Road,, Joppa, MD
Time: Sundays: 2:30-4:30 PM

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (DE, MD, WV)
P.O. Box 2834
Montgomery Village Maryland 20886;