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. 


  1. What a wonderful review. Michelle, I absolutely LOVE your blog! Love! Please keep writing. I appreciate the crisp writing, well-thought-out advice and even the design that isn't junked with gadgets and ads. I have finished a novel and am currently querying to literary agents, but I follow self-publishing because I think it is also an excellent option for writers. I don't even think we can call it a "back up" as it's come so much into its own recently. I wish you the best of luck with Annie Begins!

  2. By the way, I can't find you or Annie Begins on Twitter. Are you there? It's an excellent place to network and market your book. My advice is to follow book lovers, many of whom will follow you back and then be able to view your tweets about Annie Begins.

  3. Hi, Melissa. Thanks so much for your comments! It is true, I am behind the twitter curve. I do have a, a what do you call it? A handle? I am michelle_toth and I now have a Twitter coach (a writer friend offering to help me figure it out) -- Sharon Bially, another self-publishing author who believes exactly as you do, that Twitter is essential. By the way, for your literary agent queries, I know there are many ways to narrow your search, but one potentially good source is to look at the list of agents who are attending Grub Street's annual writing conference. I say that because Grub selects great agents who are terrific people, so in case you don't already know them all and in case one or more might be a good fit for you, it could surface some potentials for you. Here is the link of authors/agents/editors:

    I agree self publishing is a more and more legit path, but now that I've been at it for a while, I have to say I see clearly the appeal of having a publisher instead of being a publisher! So I wish you the very best.

  4. Congrats on the review! And yikes! That distribution work load! I feel like every time I think I'm "done" with one major aspect of this self-publishing adventure, a whole new set of issues related to it unfold and I'm never done. It's more than a full-time job, but fortunately, a labor of love.

  5. It is so true, Sharon! Being a publisher is serious work...definitely a fulltime job.