LJ Best Books 2016

A jury of our peers discussed, debated, disagreed, and finally declared LJ’s annual Top Ten Best Books of the year, selected by our editors, as well as Top Five lists for genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, and SELF-e titles. VISIT THE WEBSITE

SELF-e Circs: The Top Ten Most Read Titles in SELF-e Select

Romance

1

Scott, Jessica. Before I Fall. Jessica Scott. (Falling, Bk. 1). 2015. 228p. ebk. ISBN N/A. Contemporary Romance

2

Whitman, Charlene. Colorado Promise. Ubiquitous. (Front Range, Bk. 1). 2013. 416p. ebk. ISBN N/A. Historical Romance

3

Ardito, Gina. Duet in September. CreateSpace: Amazon. (Calendar Girls, Bk. 1). 2013. 290p. ebk. ISBN N/A . Contemporary Romance

4

Ridley, Erica. The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress. CreateSpace: Amazon. (Dukes of War, Bk. 2). 2015. 164p. ebk. ISBN N/A. Historical Romance

5

Rizzo, Cindy. Exception to the Rule. CreateSpace: Amazon. 2013. 250p. ebk. ISBN N/A. LGBTQ Romance

6

Hutchison, Sandra. The Awful Mess. Sheer Hubris. 2013. 408p. ebk. ISBN N/A. Contemporary Romance

7

Jeane, Sheridan. Gambling on a Scoundrel. Flowers and Fullerton. 2014. 344p. ebk. ISBN N/A. Historical Romance

8

Quarles, Angela. Must Love Breeches. Unsealed Room. (Must Love, Bk. 1). 2014. 308p. ebk. ISBN N/A. Historical Romance

9

Appel, Jacob. The Biology of Luck. Elephant Rock. 2013. 220p. ebk. ISBN 9780975374696. Contemporary Romance

10

DeWees, Amanda. With This Curse. CreateSpace: Amazon. 2014. 296p. ebk. ISBN N/A. Historical Romance

These titles are currently the top Romance novels being read through SELF-e Select, a subscription-based digital discovery platform that culls the best self-published submissions. To bring SELF-e to your library, visit here.

Q&A: Jessica Scott

Jessica ScottAn Iraq War veteran, Jessica Scott (“Homefront” and “Coming Home” series) found inspiration in her military background and a hole in contemporary romance. Before I Fall, the first installment in her “Falling” series, tackles the effects of war on those who serve as well as the people who love them. Here, Scott discusses the therapeutic process of writing and her journey in self-publishing.

What drew you to the romance genre?
I’ve always read romance. I got hooked on my grandmother’s Danielle Steele books when I was in seventh grade and never looked back. When I was in officer candidate school and in Iraq, I desperately needed an escape, and romance was definitely a big part of it. What I felt was missing, though, was a contemporary look at soldiers’ lives, which is what prompted me to start writing.

Were you looking to reflect your military experiences in the character of Noah, who is struggling with life after battle? What was it like to write his story?
This story is deeply personal to me. It came at the end of my first year in graduate school, which was a significant emotional event on many different levels. I wrote it in about ten days, which has never happened before and will probably never happen again. It was hugely cathartic for me—I was dealing with my husband’s injuries, our frustration with not being able to be seen at the VA [Veterans Affairs], and grad school, among other things. It just flowed, and I’m still amazingly proud of how well this novel turned out. It’s my best-selling book by far.

Describe your path to self-publishing.
I dabbled with self-publishing while I was still traditionally published. I wanted to see if I could do it, and as much as I loved my editor at Grand Central, I couldn’t justify the cost. I took my next two series and self-published them and I’m so glad I did. The biggest challenge we had was trying to brand the series—what says contemporary [romance] but also military? I loved coming up with the covers for my “Homefront” series, and the “Falling” series was also really fun to design. It’s a ton of work, but I enjoy having [say] over marketing and redesign and pricing.

JessicaScott_BeforeIFall_cvr1.jpgfinalWhat has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned when self-publishing? Is there any advice you’d give to authors trying it for the first time?
You have to balance writing with the business side of things. You can’t give up on the writing to tend to the business, but you can’t just put your book up on retailers’ websites and wish it well. It’s all on you, and if the idea of doing everything yourself makes you break out in hives, then stay with a publisher. The stress can be a lot, but overall, for someone like me, the control is critical.

For anyone attempting it for the first time, I’d say have a plan and be realistic about your goals. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Know what you want before you start throwing money at a problem. I paid [a lot] for covers that I never used because I didn’t know what I wanted. They were great covers, but they didn’t really have the zing that I needed. Definitely don’t spend any money until you’re sure it will have a solid return.

What are you working on now?
Right now I’m finishing up the third book in the “Falling” series, and then am working on the fourth book. After that, I’m playing with a couple of new ideas, and we’ll just have to see if they pan out or not.—Kate DiGirolomo, Library Journal

 

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Kate DiGirolomo About Kate DiGirolomo

Kate DiGirolomo is the SELF-e Community Coordinator at Library Journal. She received her Master's degree in Library and Information Science at Pratt Institute. Follow her on Twitter @KateDiGirolomo.

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