Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | September 21, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 09-21-2017

*Once more we watch with overflowing hearts as so many lives are impacted by Hurricane Maria and the earthquake in Mexico. The Author Chronicles hopes that relief will come soon and recovery and rebuilding will progress as quickly as possible — and that we have seen the end of such disasters for this year.*

Welcome to this week’s Top Pick’s Thursday!

Can you believe it’s the last day of summer? With predictions for 90° weather here this weekend, it won’t feel much like autumn. We do hope cool weather moves in soon so the conditions no longer favor fierce hurricanes. If you’d like to do something for writers affected by this weather, Rebecca Renner encourages supporting Florida writers by buying their books: 30 books by Florida writers affected by Hurricane Irma.

The community of writers is amazing. If you’re a writer who hasn’t yet become part of it, Suzanne Purvis spells out the benefits of writerly camaraderie.

Something for parents: Nora Krug shares tips on how to get kids to look away from their books and take pleasure in reading.

Something for writers: Joanna Penn reveals lessons learned from 6 years as an author entrepreneur, and Phyllis Smallman has suggestions for writing in the small spaces.

If you don’t think your life is interesting enough to spark great story ideas, Ivy Grimes writes about 4 everyday events that inspired famous writers.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Bill Ferris reminds us there are only 45 shopping days left to NaNoWriMo, while Jennie Nash takes a look at fast-draft writing for NaNoWriMo and every other month.

Sooner or later we all need help, but too often we hesitate to ask for it. Aimie K. Runyan makes a good point — and not just for writers — if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash, The Author Chronicles, pen and notebook, Top Picks Thursday

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


Anyone thinking of writing has to make a number of choices. To help you decide what form you want to write, Nils Ödlund stresses 5 things to consider when writing a novella, Joanna Penn presents writing memoir with Roz Morris, Kim Alexander advocates breaking the same olde fantasy stereotypes to put the fan back in fantasy, and Hannah Kent wonders how much actual history do you need in your historical novel? In addition, Anja de Jager lists practical hints and tips on writing a series.

Whether you’re a pantser or plotter, Sarah Ahiers recommends pre-work (basic project planning) to achieve your best work, and C. S. Lakin explains how you can avoid making structural mistakes in your novel.

The plot forms the basic structure of a story. K. M. Weiland catalogs 5 tips for organizing subplots, James Scott Bell explores how to cure mid-novel sag, and Jami Gold demystifies what our story’s climax should include.

To help you craft effective characters, Laurence MacNaughton shares 6 ways to make readers fall in love with your characters, and Kristen Lamb shares tips for creating villains audiences can’t get enough of.

Conversations between characters add life to stories. To help with the finer points of character dialogue, Stravros Halvatzis explores using deflection in dialogue, and Mike Cooper gives 5 tips on making jargon and tech work in your manuscript.

For those refining their manuscripts, Scott McCormick asserts that the drama is in the details (the humor, horror, and suspense are too), Cait Reynolds suggests using physical distance to up story stakes, pace, and tension, and Kathryn Craft urges writers to say a little less and mean a little more.

Language is the medium all writers use. Terri Pous details 16 ways you may be butchering the English language, and Joel Friedlander lays out everything you need to know about hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes.

If your manuscript is ready for editing, Debbie Young provides a list of standard editing reference books and advice for hiring an editor, Jeff Lyons sets out 5 questions to ask before hiring editing help, and Roz Morris advocates book editing as a form of creative discovery.

Writing non-fiction? Amron Gravett explains why Indie writers of non-fiction need indexes and how to create one.

Ramey Channell writes about avoiding the unmentionable (writer’s block).


For writers seeking an agent, Janet Reid lists 7 quick ways to get your query rejected and answers the question: how do I tell agents I love to revise?

If your manuscript is ready for publication, Jane Friedman shares her publishing industry status report for 2017; and Melissa Bowersock gives the scoop on types of publishers, particularly service publishers, who offer a la carte services; and Amy Dean explains how publishers find their illustrators.

Marketing information: Steve Laube explains marketing vs. publicity, Ben Cameron details book publicity opportunities in newspapers, Seth Dellon differentiates different types of book reviews, and Marcy Kennedy asks: are your book’s ads earning or losing you money?

For Indie authors: Damon Freeman discusses the psychology behind good book cover design, Beth Bacon advises don’t upload your ebook to an online bookstore without reviewing this checklist, and David Kudler presents 5 tips for validating your ebook (a bit technical, but important for self-publishers).

Confused by conflicting advice on using social media? Jane Friedman explains why social media is so hard to advise authors on. Want to make your time on social media more productive? Alfred Lua gives 14 ways to increase your Facebook page engagement, which includes posting less; Anne R. Allen asserts that you need to get rid of popups if you want to increase your blog readership and engagement; and Darren Rowse points out 7 common newsletter problems (and how to solve them).


James Gaines highlights two scientists, Cecilia Bembibre and Matija Strlic, exploring why old book smell is special.

NYU professor and novelist Zadie Smith has been selected to receive the Langston Hughes Medal for Writing.

Laura Hudson describes how some writers progressed from writing Star Wars fan fiction to contributing to the official Star Wars universe.

Isabella Biedenharn reports on a conversation between Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson on writing and murder.

Author Libba Bray shares her thoughts on the planned all-female remake of Lord of the Flies, while James Atlas addresses the trials and triumphs of writing Saul Bellow’s biography while he was still alive.

Brigit Katz tells us that lost languages have been found in one of the world’s oldest continuously run libraries and how we can brush up on ancient Akkadian with a new online dictionary.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. See you in the fall (next week)!

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash, The Author Chronicles, laptop and coffee, Top Picks Thursday

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Posted by: Nancy Keim Comley | September 19, 2017


The week before school started my family and I took our summer vacation at the Jersey Shore. For five days we walked and lolled about on the beach, read and played silly games. It was glorious.

On the first night my daughter gave me one of her favorite manga’s to read (she had brought more books than clothes). She was impatient for me to read it so we could talk about the stories. For those who don’t know what manga is (like me before my daughter arrived) it’s a Japanese comic based on a style developed in the late 19th century (thanks, wikipedia). Written in Japanese by Japanese creators, though they may be translated into English, their original format is usually kept intact.

What does this mean? Japanese is read from right to left so my daughters’ manga were from right to left.

Have I mentioned that I’m dyslexic?

Well, I am. Usually not a problem thanks to the Pennsylvania school system but when attempting to read from right to left my brain at first tied itself into a granny knot. After several squeaks of confusion my daughter chose a shorter one and carefully showed me how to read from right to left. It took a long time and I still had some moments of confusion trying to sort out which picture goes where in a sequence, but finally I was able to read the book.

Delighted with my progress, my daughter then brought over her entire Cardcaptor Sakura collection (four books, each about two inches thick). These I’m reading s-l-o-w-l-y, but I’m reading. The art is beautiful and the story engaging and we’ve been talking about it, which was the original point.

My brain feels stretched and tired after reading these for a while, but isn’t that the entire point of a good book?

Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 14, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 09-14-2017

*The Author Chronicles hopes all those impacted by Irma, Harvey, and the wildfires out West are able to find peace and safety and begin the process of rebuilding.*

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday!

Something every author needs to know: How to register your book’s copyright.

It’s September, so that means NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. Alysia W. Morales has your 6-week prep plan for NaNoWriMo.

Words matter. Stories have power. Detroit redefines itself by hiring America’s first official “chief storyteller.


Check out 7 offensive mistakes well-intentioned writers make.

This week, Jeff Lyons finishes his series Don’t Believe These Writing Myths, with the top 5 worst advice myths for writers.

Stories feed on conflict, and every scene must have some. Janice Hardy explores why your story conflict isn’t working and how to fix it, and Mary Kole examines how to know which scenes to include in your novel.

Joyce Scarbrough shares 7 tips for writing great love scenes, Nancy L. Erikson explains how to conflate and tighten your story, and Sunny Singh reminds us to dissect how your characters inhabit their world.

We often talk about single protagonists driving a story, but what about when you have more than one? H.M. Bouwman talks about writing with an ensemble cast. And no matter how many protagonists you have, your book will have its share of minor characters, too. Michele Jones digs into the role of minor characters, and Donald Maass looks at secondary characters as part of the journey.

Crime fiction can be gritty in its realism. AJ Waines discusses the limits of using “real life” in crime fiction, and Margot Kinberg explores police and PIs in fiction who are set up to fail.

Get the creative process flowing. Helen Scheuerer shows how authors can use Pinterest for fiction writing and novels, Melissa Donovan lists 23 creative writing activities that don’t involve writing, and Sarah Moore gives us an easy trick for nipping creative fear in the bud.


Freelancing is a great career for some people, while others need to have a day job. Danielle Corcione explains why she quit freelancing, went to 9 to 5, and then went back.

Do you have a book that would work best if it could lay flat (think workbook, cookbook, coloring book)? Joel Friedlander discusses lay flat binding options for your book.

If you are querying, you need two things to catch an agents eye: a great title and a great query letter. Jody Rein and Michael Larsen discuss how to title your nonfiction book. Some authors think adding blurbs to your query is a good way to make it stand out, but Janet Reid explains why asking for blurbs at the query stage is a waste of resources.

Marketing knows no seasons, but marketing campaigns do. Joan Stewart explores how to tie your marketing into winter, spring, summer, or fall for timely book hooks, and Kevin Coolidge talks about selling a book to independent booksellers. Peggy J. Shaw tells how to get the word out about your book, Janet Reid looks at how not to be a bone-head promoter, and Diana Urban shares 119 book marketing ideas that can help authors increase sales.

Sydney Mathieu asks why authors should care about digital marketing, Jane Friedman wonders what’s more important: author website or social media, Publisher’s Weekly discusses reaching YA readers where they are online, Allison Tait explores whether podcasts help sell books, and Chris Syme has 5 reasons to be a social media minimalist.


In an interesting court case, a judge rules that a verse of “We Shall Overcome” is not under copyright.

As if we authors didn’t already have a hard time conveying emotions in our work: Scientists pinpoint 27 states of emotion.

Bet you didn’t know that these 10 books were written on a bet.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you back here next week for more writerly links.

Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 7, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 09-07-2017

Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of September! As a parent-writer, I am celebrating the return of school, so I have time to write again!

The KidLit Cares community is helping Harvey victims, and you can join in.

Piracy is something all of us worry about. WriteHacked shares 3 piracy protection tactics for writers.


Kathryn Craft discusses what happens when you run out of novels.

We all get deluged with writing advice, but sometimes it’s not good advice. Jeff Lyons says don’t believe these writing myths.

One thing that’s not a myth is that there are pansters and plotters and never the two shall meet. Except…Tracy Hahn-Burkett has outlining for pantsers.

Janice Hardy is everywhere this week, and the topic is conflict. After all, conflict is what drives your plot. She also shares with us 5 ways to create strong internal conflict, and 6 ways your setting can create conflict.

Characters keep readers turning the pages. Codey Amprim dissects the character of the paladin, and K.M. Weiland has a double-header explaining the problem of head-hopping POV and why doubt is the key to flat character arcs.

Some writers like to revise and edit, some do not. Daphne Gray-Grant explores how to spend less time rewriting, Melissa Donovan discusses the role of beta readers in the revision process, and James J. Murray demystifies hyphens and dashes.

When working on our careers, writers want to work more effectively and avoid mistakes that throw us off course. Daphne Gray-Grant explains how to make writing from home more effective, Alycia W. Morales has 5 practical ways to meet your daily word count, Jami Gold urges us to find our writing strengths, and Anne R. Allen shares 7 new writer mistakes that make writers vulnerable to scams.


You get one chance to make a first impression. Does your book title make the right impression on potential readers? Sarah Bolme has some tips for choosing your book title.

While Janet Reid bemoans receiving an intrusive mass-marketing email from a writer, Amy Collins points out times when mass mailing is a good first step, as long as you know what to do AFTER the mass email.

Sending out queries? Janet Reid has some ideas on how best to track your queries.

Marketing is tough, and getting reviews is especially tough. Janet Reid shares a few ways you can ask for reviews without being obnoxious.

Sure, email lists are good for marketing, but Molly Greene examines the newest trend: chatbots to get your book information out there. Other online marketing tools can be helpful, too. Scott La Counte investigates Instagram for authors, and Dana Kaye explains Facebook Pixel and how it can boost book sales.


Hilary Mitchell shares 18 stunning words from other languages you need in your life.

So, PJ Parrish wants to know: do you write in the nude?

Tasha Brandstatter tells us how to make rain gutter bookshelves.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week!

Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | September 6, 2017

Thanks to Those Whose Work We Take for Granted

Photo by tanner sheltry on Unsplash, The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, tools and gloves

Photo by tanner sheltry on Unsplash

Labor Day has passed, and we’re well into September. My husband and I spent the holiday with our children and grandchildren. Our son-in-law is a stellar barbecue chef, so we had a delicious dinner. It was a wonderful day, but our son-in-law’s time with the family was limited because he had to work. Nowadays, holidays aren’t holidays for everyone.

The meaning of many holidays seems to have changed over the years too. The first things many people associate with Memorial Day and Labor Day are the beginning and end of summer, not the reason the holidays were established.

I enjoyed our Labor Day celebration, but I admit I have mixed feelings about the fact that fewer and fewer workers seem to get time off on the day dedicated to them. I feel bad for those who have to work on any holiday. On the other hand, I was really glad that stores were open this past Labor Day Monday.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash, The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, open sign

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

You see, on Sunday night the intense itching of an allergic rash on my calf kept me from getting much sleep, despite my slathering cortisone cream on it all night. So I went to the store on Labor Day to get something else that might help. While I waiting in line to pay for the anti-itch gel, I reflected on all those employees in the store (and elsewhere) who had to work on this holiday designed to honor workers and give them a day off. I made sure to thank the cashier as she checked me out.

I have to say that I don’t think it’s wrong to see Labor Day as the end of summer or a day to celebrate with family and friends. However, we also need to take time to remember the reason behind the holiday and appreciate all those workers who make our lives possible — not just our daily, personal lives, but about our professional or avocational lives also.

Think of it like this: imagine yourself standing in the sunlight on the top of a pyramid, a pyramid whose blocks represent the work of many others that allows you to bask in that sunlight.

We writers do a lot of our creative work in solitude. Sometimes we feel totally alone, pounding out words to create a story, sequestered in our writing cubbyholes. We network with other writers and go to events and conferences so we don’t feel so isolated, and our fellow writers are generous in offering their help and support.

It’s not only other writers (and cooperative families) who enable us to do what we do. We rely on the support of hoards of other people, most of whom we’ll never know.

Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash, The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, computer

Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash

When I look at my computer, my mind boggles at the thought of how many people’s work made it possible for me to use that magnificent device. People designed the computer, the monitor, the keyboard, the printer, the modem, etc. People crafted the parts; people shipped them. Other people assembled them, tested them, and shipped the final products to wholesalers and retailers. People stocked them on shelves and sold them (not to mention the people who cleaned the stores, and so on). Then people designed the software …

I could go on, but you get the idea. My ability to write my stories on the computer has been made possible by the work of a multitude of other people. If I tried to list all those who make my life and my writing possible and easier, I don’t think I could do it. I’d probably miss as many as I listed.

Too often we take the work and support of others for granted. Let’s take a few moments this Labor Day week to recognize how much we depend on others, to be grateful for their work and, whenever possible, to say thanks.

So, to all those whose work I depend on, thank you! I really do appreciate your efforts.

Photo by Andrew Walton on Unsplash, The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, charcoal fire

Photo by Andrew Walton on Unsplash

What do you think about when you think of Labor Day? The end of summer? Barbecues? Picnics? Getting together with friends and family?

Did you work on Labor Day?

Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 31, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 08-31-2017

*The Author Chronicles’s hearts go out to everyone in Houston and in the path of Harvey. Wishing all a dry, safe place to stay while they recover.*

Welcome to the last Top Picks Thursday of August! Even though the weather here is cool, the writerly links we have are still hot.

Arthur Klepchukov rounds up fall writing contests worth your time.

Judith Briles discusses the pros and cons of learning online vs. in-person.

Terry Pratchett’s unfinished works are destroyed by a steam roller.

Rachel Deahl examines the latest publishing flap of the New York Times Bestseller that wasn’t.

Tyrese L. Coleman shares her experience of reading Jane Eyre while black.


In the age of technology, T.E. Shepherd has good reasons for writing by hand.

So you wanna write a prologue? James Scott Bell shares a prologue primer with you.

Sometimes we think we have all the elements we need to make a story soar, but it falls flat. Janice Hardy brings us a two-fer today, with how to create meaningful obstacles via conflict, and why you don’t know how to end your scene.

Characters intrigue our readers—and us. Diana Hurwitz examines Wonder Woman vs. Atomic Blonde to dissect what makes a strong female protagonist, the Character Comma lists the 7 key traits of enduring characters, and Jennifer Probst shows how to make secondary characters pop and sell more books.

But not only the protagonists have to be compelling—your antagonists have to carry part of the load, too. Kristen Lamb tells us how to avoid boring villains, The Beginning Writer has some rules for writing dialogue, and K.M. Weiland shares 7 ways to write thematically-pertinent antagonists.

We can learn about writing from other media. MacKenzie Cadenhead discusses writing lessons learned from comics, while Joan Lennon examines how movies can help you become a better writer.

Once you write the manuscript, you need to polish it to (near) perfection. Gabrielle van Welie has 5 quick proofreading tips that have massive payoffs, and Kathryn Craft shares 4 tips for translating critique-speak.

Sometimes we all need a rejuvenation. Ruth Harris directs us where to find ideas when you are blocked, Emily Ruskovich advises ignoring our instincts in order to find the real story, and Helena Fairfax shares how to rediscover your writing mojo.

In other writing advice, Heather Webb shows what a writer’s conference really buys you, Jeff Vandermeer lists the 7 writer types you should avoid becoming, Julie Munro Martin has 7 things she learned from wrecking her novel, and Colleen M. Story demonstrates how to slow time for a more relaxed creative writing sessions.


Foreign rights can add another revenue stream from your book. Daniella Levy tells us what we need to know about translating our book, and Savvy Book Writer has DIY: translate your book information.

Agent Janet Reid shares 5 reasons you heard “no” and how to avoid them, as well as her opinion on whether participating in #PitchWars is a good or bad thing.

Mary C. Moore answers the question: Do Literary Agents Reject Your Submission After Reading One Line?, while Lucy V. Hay comforts us with what creative icons can teach you about rejections.

Nathan Bransford discusses why author platform matters, Carolyn Howard-Johnson tells how to reinvigorate your book marketing, and Dan Smith gives is the inside secrets of book publicity for indie authors.

One element of marketing is getting reviews, and that can be difficult. Emmanuel Nataf explains how searching for review blogs just got a lot easier, and Barb Drozdowich has how to get your book reviewed now.

The internet reigns as the most effective way to reach readers these days. Ricardo Fayet examines MailChimp alternatives, Chris Syme lists 5 ways to use a Facebook pinned post to hook fans, and on the 10th anniversary of the hashtag, Frances Caballo shares hashtags just for writers.


Get a sneak peek at the newly discovered Mark Twain story coming out in September.

Check out 21 of the best Book Week costumes for kids.

Examine these 17 movies that are cleverly disguised Shakespeare plays.

Travel to distant lands with these iconic books set in countries around the world (infographic).

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’ll see you in September!


Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 29, 2017

Escapism Writing

We all know some people read to escape real life. Sometimes life is rough and hard and bleak, and a few hours where you can find some relief  and leave all your problems behind is priceless. Escapism reading and entertainment rises when economic times are hard, as well (just look at the movies that were popular during the Great Depression). But what about escapism writing?

A couple of weeks ago, my aunt died unexpectedly. While I was in a hotel room in New York for the funeral, I got word that a little boy my daughter went to preschool with is battling a brain tumor. Needless to say, I was staggered emotionally. Sometimes when writers get hit hard emotionally, the writing dries up. I have been there, too, at times. But this time, I turned to my current work in progress and dove into my other world for several hours.

In this case, I needed that time to escape reality and let my subconscious process everything I was going through. Did I “come back” from those two hours of writing feeling healed and whole? Of course not. That’s not how emotions work. But sometimes we need some time to not think too hard about awful things, to not dwell upon the pain we are feeling, especially if, like me, you have an anxiety disorder where your thoughts can easily spiral out of control and drag you into a black hole of panic. Escaping while letting the edge wear off and diverting my mind to break the thought spiral are valuable coping mechanisms.

So how about it, fellow writers? Do you find your writing to be a good escape when things get tough? And if you do, is your escapism writing mostly in the form of personal journaling, or is it in your fiction as well?

Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | August 24, 2017

TopPicks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 08-24-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday!

Although the summer is winding down and the heat is easing off, there’s still time to finish your summer reading list. If you’ve focused on a particular genre, you might be getting tired of the standard tropes. Perhaps you’ll agree with Jamie Canaves’ book tropes we’d like to see die.

Whether in non-fiction or fiction, writers have never shied from addressing important current issues. Alexandra Alter writes that children’s authors take on the refuge crisis.

For writers of all kinds, Sara Letourneau takes a look at struggling with and regaining confidence in your writing.


When beginning a writing project, a writer has decisions to make. Will the work be fiction or non-fiction? Long or short? Several blog posts offer help. Anne R. Allen ponders memoir or fiction: should you novelize your real life experiences? If you choose memoir, Brooke Warner lays out what to share when writing a memoir.

Sometimes what starts out as a short piece keeps growing and growing. April Bradley tells us how to keep a short story short.

Doing research? Kate Moretti explains how to successfully ask “Can I pick your brain?

Tasha Seegmiller presents an easy guide to outlining your novel, and Scott McCormick continues with narrative structure, part two: it’s okay to stray (or, don’t forget your cockroach races).

Mary Kole advises beginning writers to relax and enjoy the process of writing the first draft. Janice Hardy also discusses writing the first draft and has suggestions about how to use your word count to your advantage.

Emmanuel Nataf shares an infographic on themes in fiction, while Janice Hardy asks: is your novel exploring an idea or solving a problem?

Puzzled by point of view? Alida Winterheimer clarifies how to choose the right POV with multiple narrators, and James Scott Bell addresses the challenges of first-person POV.

For those creating their protagonists and antagonists, Laurie Schnebly Campbell asserts that there is no road she (the female protagonist) can’t travel, and Kristen Lamb adds to her series on antagonists with antagonists: the end-all-be-all of our story and antagonists: what’s driving our story.

A story needs conflict. Janice Hardy delves into why conflict isn’t just about fighting, and Vaughn Roycroft discusses the trouble with action.

Good dialogue makes characters and stories come alive. Jordan Dane presents 10 ways to make dialogue real, James Scott Bell explores how to have your characters talk tough, and Cait Reynolds discusses using controversial language and stereotypes in fiction.

Is your character reading an imaginary book you’ve created? Kim Alexander speaks about reading and writing imaginary books within books.

If you’re almost finished your novel, Barbara O’Neal writes about orchestrating the end of your novel.


For writers seeking traditional publication, agent Wendy Lawton gives her take on the broken query system, Kristen Tsetsi outlines emotional etiquette for the writer seeking an agent, and Janet Reid advises writers to make sure your contact page actually has your contact information.

Whatever publication route you choose, Jim Dempsey reminds us how a professional editor can improve your writing, and Bill Ferris gives us the hack’s guide to dealing with book reviews.

Brian Jud proposes book sales beyond the bookstore, and Courtney Milan wonders if you’re making the most of your digital shelf space, while Nathan Bransford shares the definitive guide to SEO for authors.

Orna Ross asks if we are ready for self-publishing 3.0.

For those needing help with social media, Frances Caballo offers 4 social media productivity tips for authors, and Elna Cain shares 11 powerful tools to monitor your social media presence in 2017. If you’re setting up an author newsletter, Ricardo Fayet explores MailChimp alternatives for authors.

Internet security is an issue for us all. Nate Hoffelder stresses 6 common sense steps to secure a WordPress website.


Charlotte Ahlin sets out the 12 best writing tips and tricks, based on your zodiac sign.

Lucas Maxwell shares his favorite bookstagram locations in the UK.

Science fiction readers might enjoy the Salisbury Museum’s exhibit — Terry  Pratchett: His World, open from September 16th until January 13th.

Smithsonian‘s Jason Daley reports that Medieval manuscripts are a smorgasbord of DNA, Kat Eschner reveals that the author of “Robinson Crusoe” used almost 200 pseudonyms, and Jason Daley relates the results of a study identifying the funniest words in the English language.

Susan Holloway Scott sees emotion in the words of a handwritten letter from Abigail Adams.

That wraps up this week’s Top Picks Thursday. See you next week!


Posted by: Gwendolyn Huber | August 22, 2017


Why? Why?  Why?  Would you do such a thing?

1. Perhaps your computer has broken as mine has and the repairs are not quick ones.  Truthfully,  I’m finding it a little unsettling to do everything  on a small screen but it’s not as hard as I thought it might be.

2. Convenience. Your phone is always with you and five minutes here and five minutes there will add up. Using your phone to write on five minute increments might be a plus if your schedule doesn’t have much down time for writing.
3. Organization. This could be one of my little idiosyncriticites buuuut, I have been discovering, that for me, the more stuff I have on my phone that used to be only on my computer, the more organized I feel, the more in control of my world I am.
Tell Me About the How
1. Choose a program in which to write.
It could be as simple as using an email program. That’s what I’m doing today, sending this blog to myself as an email. I also have Evernote I and like that and there are plenty of other sophisticated apps for writers out there. I’ll let others who’ve done more research than I coach you on those. I have an Android phone, and in my experience, if your phone and Wi-fi connection are not the best you’ll want to choose simpler apps.  Thankfully, my latest phone is handling whatever app I throw at it with aplomb.
2. Experiment with various keyboards to find one that works well for you.
3. Get to it. Write.
Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 17, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 08-17-2017

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