Thursday, April 28, 2011

Publishers Weekly Review

As part of the semifinals round of ABNA, my  book has received an official Publishers Weekly review. And here it is!

From Publishers Weekly
This warm-hearted and atypical romance takes place during the dot-com bubble of the mid 1990s. Recently minted MBA Annie leads a complicated life between putting in long hours at a start-up internet dating service and trying to catch the eye of Paul, a college friend going through a messy divorce. Meanwhile, Annie's loving -- if slightly dysfunctional -- family schemes to set up their romantically unlucky relation with kindly used car salesman Eddie, even as a medical crisis hits them hard. As Annie struggles to make her romantic and professional dreams realities, she is forced to come to some hard conclusions about her behavior, both to those who love her and toward herself. Although the book's romance and some of its larger plot points are predictable, its fast pace and memorable characters, from romantically levelheaded roommate Elke to Annie's precocious young cousin, make this a most enjoyable romance. Annie is as appealing and fully-realized as any recent romantic heroine, due to her balance of professional competence, confidence, and vulnerability.

Annie advances to the Semifinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

On Tuesday, Amazon announced the 50 semifinalists in the General Fiction category of the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and Annie Begins is on the list! (There is a second Young Adult category with another 50 semifinalists.) There were 5,000 entrants in my category to start with, so I'm proud to have made it this far. The next round will narrow to three finalists, in late May, chosen by Penguin editors.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Library Journal Review Friday, April 15

I had a happy surprise on Friday when I saw that Annie was reviewed by Jane Jorgensen in Library Journal. The review opens like this:

Though the blurb for this self-published title suggests a lighthearted “girl in the city searching for love” story, it has more depth and heart than that description implies. 

And wraps up like this:

VERDICT Toth’s debut continues the genre’s trend away from glam life chick lit and toward a more realistic view of a young urban woman mastering life. It will appeal to Harriet Evans fans. [Toth is blogging about her adventures in self-publishing at—Ed.]—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

I'm pleased as can be to have been included (not to mention compared to Harriet Evans, the talented and successful London-born/based writer of commercial fiction that women love, like the wonderful A Hopeless Romantic).

The challenge is, of course, because Annie is a self-published book, it isn't as easy as it should be for a librarian to access it. I spent part of the weekend working on distribution issues and options, specifically looking into Baker & Taylor, a leading distributor of books, videos, and music products to libraries, institutions and retailers. Issues of distribution -- especially for physical books -- are among the biggest I face because the Createspace options for libraries have restrictions that I didn't like (specifically, I would have had to use a Createspace ISBN rather than a (sixoneseven) books ISBN).

So my likely solution now is to either publish a separate library edition via Createspace, or to set up a direct relationship to Baker & Taylor (which takes time to put in place and requires that I handle shipping and returns, like any publisher would). As I analyze and make this decision I will report on it, as it may be helpful to others to hear how I sort this out!

In other news, I attended the lovely book launch party for the fabulous Kathy Handley yesterday for her new books, both self-published through Riverhaven Books, which has a great model of supported self-publishing. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

She's Here! It's Annie's Debut...

Annie Begins
Today is Pub Day for Annie Begins!

Annie Begins, a 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award quarter finalist, is now available at Here are the links to sample or buy and following that is more information about the book. I hope you enjoy it! 

Click to sample or buy Annie Begins as an eBook for Kindle
Click to buy Annie Begins as a Paperback

Praise for Annie Begins: 
"Rarely have I encountered a debut novel that manages to pack so much heart into so much pure entertainment. By turns hilarious and poignant—and always compulsively readable—this novel was impossible to put down. The characters were so vividly drawn that Annie Begins felt less like reading a novel and more like spending time with people I already knew and loved. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up!" —Gwen Cooper, New York Times bestselling author of Homer's Odyssey and Diary of a South Beach Party Girl

"Beautiful, moving, sweetly seductive."
Alethea Black, author of I Knew You'd Be Lovely

"Annie Begins is not only a delicious, fast-paced comedy, but a deeply moving exploration of life’s constantly shifting kaleidoscope of emotions and events, in particular the different mechanisms, or avoidance strategies, for coping with loneliness and loss as well as the myriad ways we find love and connection, even in the most unexpected of places.”
—Sophie Powell, author of The Mushroom Man

 "Readers will root for sweet, relatable Annie as she struggles to learn how to push work aside in favor of searching for her “good match.” When she trusts an unlikely matchmaker, her brave little cousin with challenges of her own, Annie Begins becomes a story as much about the meaning of family as it is about finding true love."
—Lynne Griffin, author of Life Without Summer and Sea Escape

"A winning debut—a moving and engaging novel that will have you rooting for Annie from page one."
—Jennifer Sturman, author of the Rachel Benjamin and Delia Truesdale series

About the book: At almost 29, Annie Thompson is as brilliant in business as she is disastrous in relationships. It’s the dawn of the dot-com boom, and Annie is determined to make it big. But her single-minded focus on work is put to the test when the man of her dreams announces that his wife is divorcing him, and designates Annie “the best listener he knows.” Suddenly she’s juggling his mixed signals and her entrepreneurial ambitions—not to mention a complicated friendship with her new supervixen of a roommate.

Annie's pursuit of Mr. Tall, Dark and Barely Available takes a turn for the unexpected when her young, terminally ill cousin, April, makes it her mission to find Annie a husband. But the fiancĂ© April picks is definitely not the kind of man Annie would have chosen. Now, Annie has to ask herself what exactly she wants and values most deeply in a man—and in herself.

Click to sample or buy Annie Begins as an eBook for Kindle
Click to buy Annie Begins as a Paperback