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Library Resources for Writers: Publishing Tools, Writers Groups, and More



Shelby is an adult programming librarian for the New Orleans Public Library.

Here at New Orleans Public Library, we love supporting writers as much as we love supporting readers. Wherever you are in your writing journey, from the first spark of an idea to publishing your completed work, the Library has resources to aid you along your way.


The Library catalog contains a plethora of creative writing guides that will help you get started generating ideas and putting them on paper. Following a writing prompt or a contest theme can be a useful way to focus your attention on a single idea and work on developing it in your own unique style and voice. And, it just so happens that we have a writing contest open now!

Another great way to get inspired is learning about the process of other writers. Attend one of our monthly author nights and listen to local and national authors speak about their recently-published works. Authors discuss topics including developing their initial ideas, research and background material, stumbling blocks they encountered, and any other interesting tidbits they learned while writing their books.  

For more inspiration from fellow writers, check out Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process. 

The First Draft  

When you’ve got a draft started and are ready for some feedback, join the monthly Just Write: Virtual Creative Writing Workshop and get comments and suggestions on your work from fellow writers in a friendly and supportive environment. Meetings are held over Zoom, so it’s easy to attend from wherever you are.

Writers of all genres and levels of experience are invited to submit their work for discussion. But, if you’re not ready to share, you can still attend the workshop and take part in the conversation.

Email for more information or to register for the workshop. 

For more advice on revising your work, check out The Art of Revision: The Last Word.  

The Final Draft 

Once you’ve finished revisions and have a polished story or poem, and you’re ready to share with the world, enter it in the Summer Fun Adult Writing Contest. Nothing inspires writers to complete those final edits more than a deadline. The contest runs through July 31st, so there’s just enough time to give your muse a nudge and get your work submitted.

The theme for this year’s contest is “renewal” and writers are invited to interpret the theme any way they like. Submit your story or poems electronically, or bring a printed copy to any Library location. Amazon gift cards will be awarded to the top three pieces in each category. Entering a writing contest like this one is a great way to share your work with your community and maybe even win a prize.  

For up-to-date listings of publications, contests, literary agents, and much more, check out Writer’s Market.  


Now that you’ve gone through all the hard work of writing, it’s time to think about getting your work out into the world. 

The Library now offers access to Pressbooks Public. This self-publishing platform helps create beautifully-formatted manuscripts, without relying on traditional publishers or spending a lot of money on editors and designers to ensure your finished book reflects the hard work you’ve put into it. You can even write directly in the Pressbooks platform and envision your book coming to life as you write.

For more in-depth instruction on layout and design, attend the Self-Publishing Workshop at Nora Navra Library on Saturday, July 15, from 2-4pm. 

An instructor from local print shop and book bindery, Paper Machine, will guide you through the process of getting your manuscript print-ready. The workshop will cover page design, text and image sequence, book layout, and cover design. 

For more information on self-publishing, check out Successful Self-Publishing: How to Self-Publish and Market Your Book. 


For more information on our writing resources and handy links to much of the information included here, browse the Library’s “For Writers” page for an inspirational push to the next step on your personal writing journey.  

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