Calling all indie authors and aspiring writers in Darlington County!

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By Jimmie Epling
Darlington County Library System

Calling all indie authors and aspiring writers in Darlington County, if your New Year’s resolution is to get your story, poem, memoir, or other writings published and read, the Darlington County Library System can help!

The Library is not just a book warehouse. It is a place where readers and writers connect! The Library is the best place to discover and give a new author a try. All you need is a library card to borrow numerous books by a bevy of authors. If you are consumed by the words of a new author on who you took a chance by borrowing his or her book for free from the Library, you can then invest with a clear conscious in a copy of the book from the local bookstore or In the past year, the Darlington, Hartsville, and Lamar locations have hosted author visits and signings in our continuing effort to bring authors and readers together. These authors have happily shared tales of true crime, a daring wartime raid, a mystery set in the world of baseball, and a precocious cat, to name just a few.

In the coming year, we will not only continue to host authors, we are offering writing workshops, access to SELF-e (a free electronic self-publishing system), and a book fair.
We are happy to announce a series of five introductory writing workshops to be taught by C. Hope Clark, a freelance writing expert, author of the Carolina Slade and Edisto Island mystery series, and editor of, a weekly newsletter service that reaches 40,000+ writers (

The five workshops will be held at the Darlington Branch on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. beginning January 26th.

The first will be “The Habits of a Successful Writer” on January 26th. In this workshop, you will discover the pleasure of writing, learn to plan a daily schedule to fulfill your personal writing goals, see how writing can be done in small chunks of time as individual tasks, and recognize how reading is a necessary tool to being a writer.

A month later, on February 23rd, begin “Telling the Story You Want to Tell – Plot Development.” What is story telling versus showing? Plot development is basic and very similar from genre to genre. Learn the three formulas for a short synopsis which is the bare bones beginning of your plot, helping you stay on task, and understand different ways to outline your plot.

At the halfway point, March 22nd, the workshop “From Cardboard Cutouts to Real People – Character Development ” will help you bring your characters to life. Discover the types of characters you need in a story besides the main character. Learn how to determine the proper point-of-view for the story, why a character arc is important, and how to define three-dimensional characters. Lastly, understand why dialogue can make or break your character, your scene, and the entire book.
“Write It…Read It…Rewrite It…Repeat! – Successful Editing” on April 26th will show you how to start with self-editing and then move out to peers, mentors, beta readers, and professional editors. Learn the different types of editing and how to recognize those flaws that differentiate the writings of a novice from a veteran.

The final workshop on May 24th is “Get Your Story Out There! – Getting Published.”
Find out why having an online presence is essential in order to be successful and get published, regardless of the route you take. There are pros and cons when it comes choosing between indie and traditional publishing you need to know. Learn the differences between indie/self-publishing, small press traditional, larger press traditional, and hybrid.

The Library can now help you get published! Getting published has become so much easier and less expensive with the advent of the Internet and online publishing. You now have a chance to get your work published electronically through a system called SELF-e and have it included in a special collection of South Carolina authors. The South Carolina State Library is the first state library in the country to make the SELF-e digital self-publishing platform available to all libraries and their customers in the state for free. SELF-e, a partnership between Library Journal and BiblioBoard, enables the Darlington County Library to help indie and aspiring authors get published. Authors can upload their works for free to a SELF-e’s online e-book collection called IndieSC. Once the collection reaches forty books, the IndieSC collection will go live, allowing library customers to read the e-books on any device at any time. The works of some IndieSC and other “indie” project authors will be selected by Library Journal to become part of a unique library of indie published books available to libraries across the country.

If you are interested in getting your works published today, all you need to do is go to the Library’s website at and look for the SELF-e link. It will take you to the South Carolina State Library’s SELF-e webpage for more information and how to upload your book!
Lastly, on June 11th, the Darlington County Library System and Burry Book Store will be hosting a book fair in downtown Hartsville. It will be an opportunity for readers, book lovers, and aspiring, indie, and seasoned authors to connect in a celebration of their passion, the written word. The book fair is still very much in the planning stages. Authors and readers are encouraged to check with their local branch of the Library for updates on the Fair.

Whether your New Year’s resolution is to become the writer you want to be or to read more of the writings of your favorite authors or discover new ones, the Darlington County Library System is your connection to the world of the written word.

Author: Jana Pye

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