Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 1, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers and Writers 12-01-2016

Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | November 29, 2016

Philcon 2016

panel-star-trek-the-problems-of-the-federation-with-hugh-casey-ariel-cinii-debra-baker-elyse-rosenstein-and-stuart-hellinger-11-19; Philcon; The Author Chronicles

Panel:-“Star Trek – The Problems of the Federation” with Hugh Casey, Ariel Cinii, Debra Baker, Elyse Rosenstein, and Stuart Hellinger, 11-19

From November 18 through November 20, the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society sponsored the 80th annual Philcon, the longest running science fiction convention in the United States, which was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ — just across the river from Philadelphia. Activities began at 4:00 pm on Friday and concluded at 4:00 pm on Sunday.

Author reading: L. E. Modesitt, 11-19

Author reading: L. E. Modesitt, 11-19

Author reading: Jane Fancher, 11-19

Author reading: Jane Fancher, 11-19

This year’s convention featured Principal Speaker C. J. Cherryh, multi-Hugo Award winning author, Artist Guest of Honor Dave Seeley, whose fabulous artwork has graced the covers of many well-known science fiction and fantasy novels as well as the Philcon program book, and Special Guest, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., author of over seventy science fiction and fantasy books.

The Dealers' Room, 11-20

The Dealers’ Room, 11-20

Numerous authors, scientists, artists, gamers, costumers, and professionals in other fields sat on panels that discussed a variety of topics. In addition to the panels, activities included: the Art Show; the Dealers’ Room; the Sandy Swank Memorial Masquerade; open gaming; video screenings; open filking; fan tables; author signings and author readings; remembrances for Dave Kyle, a very active fan who attended the first Philcon and many other conventions, and Neil S. Lerner, a long-time Philcon attendee who worked in the Print Shop and Art Show; a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Space and Time magazine; the Con Suite, for those who need a snack or a place to relax; and much more.

Panel: "Generating a Balonium Field: Pseudoscience in SF Storytelling" with Joan Wendland, Earl Bennett, John Ashmead, Lawrence Kramer, and Lawrence M. Schoen, 11-19

Panel: “Generating a Balonium Field: Pseudoscience in SF Storytelling” with Joan Wendland, Earl Bennett, John Ashmead, Lawrence Kramer, and Lawrence M. Schoen, 11-19

Here’s a sampling of some of the panel topics:

  • Anime: Anime You Should Be Watching; Anime Opening and Closing Themes; AMV Hour; Making Your Voices Heard; Anime for the Little Ones
  • Art: Drawing for Comics and Graphic Novels; Art Creation and Disability; Artwork Tour with Dave Seeley
  • Comics: Women In Comics; The Marvel Cinematic Year In Review; Supergirl’s Super TV Series; DC Comics: Getting the Band Back Together; The Black Panther
  • Costuming: Safe Bleaching and Dye Removel from Fabric; A Beginner’s Guide to Hand Embroidery and Beading; Dressing for the SCA; Using Stencils on Fabric; Wigs: Styling, Care, and Feeding; Cosplay Basics; Sourcing Your Material
  • Diversity: Cultural Representation vs Cultural Appropriation; Representation of the LGBATI and Queer Characters in Recent SF & F; How Diversity in Fiction Impacts Everyday Life
  • Fantasy: Foundations of Worldbuilding: Sustenance and Economics; Vampire Fiction in Modern Eras; Effectively Lampshading Anachronism in Fantasy; Intrusive vs Immersive Fantasy; Developing Cultures and the Historic Rise of Civilization
  • Gaming: Why Gaming is Important to Fandom; Taking Your Game from Concept to Creation; Shared Storytelling in Games; Rolling for Special Skills: Interactive Media and Interpersonal Development; Augmented Reality Games; Tabletop Games for Families
  • Media: Post 9/11 TV and Film; Things to Know Before You Write the Script; The Changing Media Landscape
  • Miscellaneous: Russian and Soviet SF; The State of the Hugo Awards; Sherlock’s Siblings: The Other Works of A. C. Doyle; Everything Is SF
  • Photography: Seeing the Wild: Animal Photography, Art, and Conservation; How to Take Headshots for Author Bios
  • Podcasting: An Auditory Introduction: Welcome to Night Vale
  • Reading: Stories That Haunt Us; Everything You Know About Fairy Tales Is Wrong; Slooow Books; What Should I Read Next?
  • Science: How Do We Make Science Education More Engaging?; The Gardens of Space; Telling Science from Pseudoscience; The Future of Work; The Unsung Heroes of Science; Space Colonies: Can We Meet the Challenge?; The Cloak of Invisibility; Stargates: The Theory and The Practice
  • Science Fiction: Can Interplanetary Governments Really Work?; Environmental SF; The Prehistory of SF; The Best of Military SF; Hardboiled SF & F; Utopias That Make Us Cringe; Writing for Aliens: Constructing Languages; Generating a Balonium Field: Pseudoscience in SF Storytelling
  • Star Trek: Where Has It NOT Been Boldly Going?; The Impact of Star Trek on Literary SF
  • Writing: Writing for Media; Speculating With Respect: Using Religious Texts as Inspiration for Fiction; What to Do When Real Science Outpaces Your Current SF Project; Continuing Your Series After the Original Conflict Is Resolved; Writing Hand-to-Hand Combat; Time Management for Writers; Writing Relatable Heroes; Giving and Receiving Criticism; Marketing Multi-Genre Works
Panel: "Can Interplanetary Governments Actually Work?" with John Skylar, Tom Purdom, Michael A. Ventrella, James Beall, and Neil Clarke, 11-19

Panel: “Can Interplanetary Governments Actually Work?” with John Skylar, Tom Purdom, Michael A. Ventrella, James Beall, and Neil Clarke, 11-19

Also available were:

  • Contests: Young Writers Contest; Songwriting Contest
  • Demonstrations: Dryer Lint Art; Watercolor Painting; 3D Printing; Designing Quilts
  • Workshops: Origami Spaceships; Writing Workshop; Writing Dialogue; Make-N-Take Encaustic Monoprints; String bracelets; Reading Your Work Aloud
Panel: "What SHould I Read?" with Stephen Mazur, Jeff Young, David Axler, Robert E. Waters, and Scheherazade Jackson, 11-20

Panel: “What Should I Read?” with Stephen Mazur, Jeff Young, David Axler, Robert E. Waters, and Scheherazade Jackson, 11-20

I attended the panel in the photo above and thought I’d share a few of their book and author suggestions:

  • The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch [detective stories with magic]
  • The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency series by Jordan Stratford [middle grade]
  • Naomi Novik’s Uprooted
  • Gail Carriger’s YA steampunk
  • Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea series
  • Timothy Zahn’s Dragonback series [young adult] and Conqueror series
  • Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword [young female protagonist]
  • Steven Harper’s Blood and Iron series
  • Mary Gentle’s fantasies
  • Robert A. Heinlein’s Glory Road and young adult books
Panel: Time Travel - "Hard Reset or Branching Continuum" with Gil Cnaan, Robert C. Roman, Elektra Hammond, C. J. Cherryh, and Jeff Warner, 11-20

Panel: Time Travel – “Hard Reset or Branching Continuum” with Gil Cnaan, Robert C. Roman, Elektra Hammond, C. J. Cherryh, and Jeff Warner, 11-20

Next year’s Philcon will be November 10th – 12th, 2017, and will feature Principal Speaker Seanan McGuire (Mira Grant). Register early for the best price.

Panel: "Artificial Intelligence: Should We Fear the Rise of the Machines?" with Anna Kashina, Rebecca Robare, Jon Kilgannon, Bob Hranek, Mitchell Gordon, and Jeff Warner, 11-19

Panel: “Artificial Intelligence: Should We Fear the Rise of the Machines?” with Anna Kashina, Rebecca Robare, Jon Kilgannon, Bob Hranek, Mitchell Gordon, and Jeff Warner, 11-19

Hope I’ll see you at Philcon next year!

Panel: "Writing Hand-to-Hand Combat" with Elizabeth Crowens, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Anna Kashina, [convention attendee], and Bernie Mojzes, 11-19

Panel: “Writing Hand-to-Hand Combat” with Elizabeth Crowens, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Anna Kashina, [convention attendee], and Bernie Mojzes, 11-19

C. J. Cherryh and L. E. Modesitt at the autograph table, 11-20

C. J. Cherryh and L. E. Modesitt at the autograph table, 11-20

 

Panel: "Stargates: The Theory and The Practice" with John Ashmead, 11-19

Panel: “Stargates: The Theory and The Practice” with John Ashmead, 11-19

 

Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | November 24, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 11-24-2106

Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 22, 2016

Defining Success

ribbons-blurredWe all say it: “I want to be a successful author.” But what (or who) defines success? Society defines success by measuring money. Most of us are aware that the chances of becoming independently wealthy as an author are infinitesimal. We are also painfully aware that even making a living from our writing is a hard row to hoe. So if we already know that finding society’s definition of success is unlikely, then how do we define success?

There is no single correct answer, and the answer to that is as varied as the authors you ask. Some writers are content just to have their book available on Amazon and don’t care if it never makes a penny. Some are thrilled with finding a traditional publisher, no matter how small, who believe in the story enough to publish it. Others won’t be satisfied unless they see their book with a Big 5 publisher. Then there’s the elusive New York Times Bestseller List that so many authors aspire to in their dreams. Movies? TV series? The levels of “success” are endless, and what defines success for you may not define it for someone else.

Of course, all of the examples above are business successes. There are craft successes, too. Just finishing a story is an amazing success—a milestone many aspiring writers never reach. The incremental improving of your craft is a ladder of success, as the style and elements of story in each new book get stronger. I remember the thrill I felt when I finally “got” how to go deeper into POV to bring the world of the story alive. Writing a good story encompasses so many elements, from the obvious like character and plot to the subtle like metaphor and word choice, that there is always a new achievement to strive for, a new mountain to climb. And each new skill mastered is a success.

We humans have a tendency to always look ahead, at the next level, the higher rung, and forget how far we have come to get to where we are already standing. With Thanksgiving this week, I wanted to take a look back and remind myself of how far I have come. I wrote a book. I finished it. I got a publisher for it. I have held it in my hands, seen it on bookstore shelves. I have sold some copies. I have signed some copies. I have faced many fears about putting my introverted self out in front of people. I have seen kids’ faces light up when I tell them about my book, and watch them start to read it as they walk away with their new purchase. I have heard my little girl say with pride, “You’re an artist, Mommy. You write really good books.”

I have come a long, long way, and that long way is paved with success.

So what is success for me? I thought I knew my definition of success: I wanted to sell a certain number of books, make a certain amount of money per month. And those goals would still be nice to reach. But real success, for me, is knowing that my book helped someone. Maybe it simply entertained them and made them happy. Maybe it served as an escape for them during a hard time. Maybe it held a message they really needed to hear. If I touched even one person, then I have succeeded.

What’s your definition of success? And this Thanksgiving, don’t forget to look back and catalog the successes you’ve already had.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 17, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 11-17-2016

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Halloween mummy at Lambertville Library

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’re about halfway through NaNoWriMo—how is everyone doing?

This week the world said goodbye to Leonard Cohen, who was best known for his music, but was also a poet.

In brighter news, C.E. Morgan, Susan Faludi and Jason Reynolds have won this year’s Kirkus Prize, and check out The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2016.

If you want some chuckles, read Literary Agents Reject “Election 2016: The Novel.”

Holly Korbey examines how to help students develop a love of reading.

Libraries foster reading love, but they do so much more. The Dallas Public Library has launched a campaign to preserve shrines to the slain Dallas police officers, and you can help.

Roxane Gay brings “fierce women who could be as intimidating as they are intriguing” to her Marvel comic series, World of Wakanda.

To draw attention to freedom of speech, an artist is building a Parthenon made of banned books in Germany, while Sarah Nicolas lists bookish ways to fight the good fight.

Looking for a critique partner? Mary Kole is hosting a critique connection on her blog.

CRAFT

Roz Morris shows how to figure out the genre and age-range for your novel. In many cases, voice is the deciding factor. Libby Heily gives us 3 acting tips to strengthen voice, and Margaret Dilloway tells us how to get a middle grade voice right.

Writers juggle a lot of elements when writing. Melissa Donovan defines theme and tells how to find yours, Zoe M. McCarthy shows how juxtaposition boosts comparisons, and Janice Hardy explains the importance of an Act Three Plan.

Characters grip the reader. Jordan Rosenfeld explores when to use multiple points-of-view characters and when to avoid it, K.M. Weiland reveals a surefire way to raise the stakes in your story, and C.S. Lakin shows how to develop a strong novel concept starting with an archetype.

Editing is unavoidable in the writing life. Christina Delay discusses the first draft jungle, Jane Friedman asks: should you hire a professional editor?, Mary Kole shows how you can find the boring parts of your story, and Juliet Greenwood has structural edits for the faint-hearted.

Larry Brooks treats us to a mini-clinic in storytelling, and Janice Hardy lists 3 ways to improve your storytelling.

We all know that real life can inform our writing, but sometimes fiction can connect us to reality as well. Kim Bullock shows how to use genealogy to enhance your writing, Sabina Murray explains how fiction can get us deeper into real history, and K.B. Owen shares 7 resources for history research.

Want to know how the big guns do it? Karin Gillespie demystifies 4 traits of a master writer and how you can develop them, and Lois McMaster Bujold, a master herself, answers 4 questions about the writing process.

Need inspiration? Pat Fredshaw demonstrates how mind mapping can help organize your writing process, and Chuck Wendig lists 25 ways to unstick a stuck story.

BUSINESS

It may come as no surprise that Penguin Random House tops the children’s book market. What may surprise you is by how much.

Joel Friedlander shares 7 signs your book is professionally published, and gives us some self-publishing basic by illustrating 5 bookbinding styles.

Roz Morris looks at traditional vs. self-publishing and find they are not so different anymore.

If you do self-publish, John Doppler gives us his KDP rules roundup, while Randy Stapilus explores the next Amazon indie offering: KDP Print.

If you’re headed traditional, Jane Friedman tells us how to find publishers and agents.

Frances Caballo answers the question: can social media really sell your books?, and Steve Laube explores the many reasons why your book might not sell.

Karen Myers explains how to design and use business cards to market your books, while June Stevens Westerfield shows how to create an author brand when you write in multiple genres.

THE UNIQUE SHELF

We all feel lost and down sometimes. Here are 23 inspiring quotes  that might lift you up, and 32 beautiful quotes to help guide you through.

Unsung heroes: for 30 years a mailman named Victor Green write an essential travel guide for black motorists to steer them away from the worst of the racist areas while traveling.

For those of you who love Anne of the Green Gables, a new digital collection unveils the other stories of her creator Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Ancient manuscripts can be fascinating. Take a peek into how experts are digitizing and conserving old manuscripts, see what hi-res photography reveals about the Aberdeen Bestiary, and find out what in the world made people bind their books in human skin.

This is what happens when you are pen pals with a world renown illustrator. See the letters and envelopes of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer’s correspondence.

The legal dispute over Maurice Sendak’s epic book collection gets wild.

So how close to the truth did Shakespeare get? A comparison of the Scottish play and the real Macbeth.

Although we five chroniclers don’t live close to each other, we do live in the same region — southern and central New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania — and we’re going to show our support for libraries by concluding with a photo of a local library for the next several weeks (until we run out of them!) This week, we’ll give a shout out to the Lambertville Free Public Library in Lambertville, NJ.

Lambertville Library

Lambertville Library

That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’ll see you on Thanksgiving!

 

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Posted by: Gwendolyn Huber | November 15, 2016

Why I Write and Why You Should Too

I want to tell you something deeply personal. It’s also the big reason I keep one toe in the writing world when I know that I’m so focused on making ends meet that I’m truly not giving this the energy it deserves.

Some people, or so I hear tell, were raised by wolves. I was raised by books.

The first 20 years I was raised by my parents, who as most parents, did the best they could.  It was, for me however, an “Emperor Has No Clothes” kind of a world – a world where faith was more valid than facts, a world where everyone was “out to get you”.  It was a world where when I got lost on the beach as a young child, a number of hours and five miles later, I expected that the stranger that offered me a glass of water was trying to poison me. Later, as a teen, I might have prayed for a nuclear war or some other apocalyptic disaster in my neighborhood on the theory that bad change was better than no change, certainly, it would be more exciting.

As a young adult I walked out into the world with little more information about that world than that. My saving grace was a passion for books and music, and the world was full of a greater trove of books and songs than I had ever imagined. They taught me about empathy, and villains and heros. They gave me words for my feelings, my experiences. They showed me what was possible. I read stories about people full of kindness and human decency who solved problems with information and I learned how to believe kindness and human decency were real and I looked for and found people like those in the stories I read. There, there were people who did not question the reality of their eyes, hands and instincts. In an “Emperor Has No Clothes World” your perceptions are useless. This paragraph can’t do justice to what I learned from these books but perhaps it is enough.

I believe books saved my life. They raised me.

So here we are, and I must mention politics briefly (stay with me, I’ll be gentle).

The Republican Campaign reminded me a lot of the “Emperor Has No Clothes” reality in which I grew up – falsehoods poisoning the well of truth in a world where there is no human decency – “he’s a man what do you expect?”  I understand the attraction of that way of thinking very well and I fear it.

However, the election is settled. Done.

I have a suggestion for all of us. It’s more of a Challenge really.

Whenever or not you worry about what just happened, write, or sing, create. Write about people full of human decency who solve problems with facts, who make their way through the maze of the human condition in all its forms. Write about strong men and women who protect the weak. Write about human decency. Write about people who trust their instincts. Write about people who have enough self knowledge to know when they’re attracted to something because it’s exciting but not because it’s what they want. Then, market those stories, sing those songs, get your creations out into the world as if lives depend on them. I believe they do.

Words matter.

Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 10, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 11-10-2016

Posted by: Matt Q. McGovern | November 9, 2016

Take me away and fill my mind

A few weeks ago, the Philadelphia Film Society held its 25th annual film festival. As I have done for at least ten of the past fifteen years, I took a week off for it.

Though there is something to be said for the kind of vacation where you travel somewhere, I like this stay-cation where I try to fill as many films into the week as possible. I remember the first day I had off (okay, the second day – I needed one day to be lazy) I selected films based on where they were filmed. This gives me that “take me away” feeling that needs to accompany any extended time off. I tried to keep that theme going into the week, but I changed it as the schedule permitted.

My selection of films seems to change every year. Years ago, I selected mostly horror films. I remember that it was a Thai film (immediately after a string of horror films from all over the world) that did me in, and I needed a break from horror films after that film which opened my eyes to other genres. Some of the selection criteria is location and climate based; I find I have a great fondness for Scandinavian countries, as well as any that are around the Arctic circle. There were some years where my attention was all over any Asian countries from the far east, particularly fishing cultures. France and Italy will get my attention at any time in their history. England and Germany I tend to like in an older era. America I barely tolerate.😉 I’m kidding, but I tend to like to “get away”, so you can understand I’m looking elsewhere.

Each year the schedule features 5 time slots each day with which you may select your films. There are times where you will have conflicts because one film will not end before your next film starts. This year, there was one instance where I needed to hop a cab and go across town to the next theater in a hurry. I aim for 3 or 4 films a day, and if there are no films in that time slot that I like I need to think about the reason why. Is there something I need to challenge? Perhaps a taboo that’s keeping me away? Every film-fest I try to answer a few of these challenges. It doesn’t always work such that I move my predefined preferences in film, but sometimes I do and regardless of the result I’m always glad I tried.

This year, partially because of the movement of immigrants across the world (and here), I was interested in a documentary about the work of medical professionals that assisted people in Philadelphia that don’t yet have their citizenship yet. Their work was volunteer, and the director and medical personnel featured in the film were on hand at the theater to answer questions afterwards. Quite the response to the interest of a film-goer, and mine was already a pre-meditated interest (as opposed to the challenge I mentioned above).

This subject is only one of what consumes the minds of people in the world today, and the Philly film-fest selects films to cover them every year. If there are conflicts in the world, you can expect some film creator to screen a love story or something that takes place in that area, perhaps featuring families at odds over the conflict themselves.

After the film-fest was over, I felt that I had more time off than I really did. I was exhausted each night, and I felt truly refreshed for work when I got back.

My pick from the film-fest for all the writers that are reading this: See ‘A Quiet Passion’, starring Cynthia Nixon about the life of Emily Dickinson. And feel free to visit the links below to see what other movies you might want to keep an eye out for.

http://filmadelphia.org/festival/

Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 3, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 11-3-2016

Princeton Library Children's area

Princeton Library Children’s area

Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of November! As we recover from the Halloween sugar-coma, we plunge into the yearly madhouse that is NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month.

Angela Ackerman has 5 NaNoWriMo hacks to keep the words flowing and Meghan Ball shares 10 writing guides to help navigate NaNoWriMo, but Janice Hardy has 5 reasons NOT to participate in NaNoWriMo.

Have you wanted to join The Authors Guild but weren’t eligible? Eric Myers discusses the new rules that allow unpublished authors to join The Authors Guild.

In a nod to Halloween, Peter Lindfield explores how Gothic buildings got associated with Halloween and the supernatural.

Tuck Everlasting author Natalie Babbitt has died at age 84.

What to know about Shakespeare and his newly-credited collaborator Christopher Marlowe.

CRAFT

Princeton Library

Princeton Library

If you’ve ever your novel turned into comic books, Grant Alter reveals his method for adapting novels into comic books.

Author voice is something we writers hear about constantly, although sometimes defining what author voice is can be tricky. James Scott Bell investigates the perils of author voice.

The point of view used in the story is part of author voice. John Gilstrap discusses taming POV by thinking of camera placement, Mary Kole shows how to get around 1st-person POV limitations, and Janice Hardy explains how filtering the POV affects show, don’t tell.

Zoe M. McCarthy reminds us that readers thrive on tension, so we should always make it worse. However, nothing in our novel should happen without sufficient causality or the reader loses faith in the story. Steven James shows how to craft a believable chain of events, while K.M. Weiland tells us how to write backstory that matters—that helps cause the events of the present.

No author sets out to write a one-dimensional villain, yet many come out flat in early drafts. K.M. Weiland explores how to properly motivate your bad guy—and make his character pop at the same time.

Words are everything to a writer—they are our medium. Stephen Wilbers reminds us that the key to great writing is to make every word count. Kim English shows how to edit out the words that don’t add anything to the story, and Ruth Harris directs us in 11 ways to find slang, jargon, insider, and lingo words to make our manuscripts sing.

Writers often are looking for ways to be more efficient and creative. Ginger Moran urges us to break large writing projects into smaller components to get them done, and Dan Blank gives us ways to deal with a creative slump. Sometimes, as A.A. Abbott says, the key to being more efficient and more creative is as simple as getting more sleep.

The great thing about a writing community is that we can share the things we’ve learned with others. Heather Webb explores what we can learn about fiction from cute videos on social media, Chelsey Pippin collates 33 authors’ best advice for aspiring writers, and Nathan Bransford has 4 tips for extroverted writers—an often over-looked writerly demographic.

BUSINESS

Princeton Library balcony

Princeton Library balcony

There are 2 main paths to publishing these days—self-publishing and traditional publishing. If you go the self-publishing route, you are responsible for everything, all the little details like ISBN, copyright, and vendor issues (as discussed by Joel Friedlander), sales figures (as defined by Janet Reid), and, of course, the book product itself. Julie-Ann Harper explains how to format a book with DIY design tools and services.

If you use the traditional route, you usually need an agent and someone else is your publisher. Jane Friedman clarifies 3 things traditional publishers likely WON’T do for you, and Mary Kole tells you what to expect from an agent.

When submitting to agents and editors, we are often faced with long waits for responses and very often with rejection. Steve Laube ponders how long you should wait for an answer from an agent or editor, Sierra Godfrey lists 3 reasons your manuscript gets rejected by agents, and Janet Reid has a satisfying rant about how requiring personalization in query letters is bunk.

Much of book marketing falls to authors, for better or worse, and many of us are not comfortable with it. Deanna Cabinian shows how to start networking locally, Janet Reid discusses what to do about market saturation, and Carla King talks book marketing with virtual assistants and media kits.

Social media is a big way for authors to connect with readers. Ricardo Fayet explains how to carefully use Reddit to market books, and Angela Ponsford shares 5 Facebook advertising features you probably didn’t know existed. Some of us, however, may be slightly sick of social media, so Frances Caballo lists 10 steps to revive our social media enthusiasm.

THE UNIQUE SHELF

If you get giddy over bookstores, take a look at the fabulous El Ateneo Grand Splendid bookstore in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Or go gaga over the soon-to-reopen al-Qarawiyyin Library, the world’s oldest continuously operating library.

From Abraham Lincoln to Elizabeth Kolbert, the 10 books that shaped President Obama.

English stage and screen actress Harriet Walter writes an open letter to Shakespeare.

How mathematics uncovered the truth behind the world’s greatest literary hoax and Ossian, the “Homer of the North.”

Although we five chroniclers don’t live close to each other, we do live in the same region — southern and central New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania — and we’re going to show our support for libraries by concluding with a photo of a local library for the next several weeks (until we run out of them!) This week, we’ll give a shout out to the Princeton Library in Princeton, NJ.

Princeton Library

Princeton Library

That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week, when the election season will finally be over!

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Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 27, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 10-27-2016

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