Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 6, 2011

Top Picks Thursday 10-6-2011

October is MYSTERY MONTH on the Author Chronicles! Yesterday, guest blogger Merry Jones tackled the dreaded First Line. For a chance to win a signed copy of SUMMER SESSION her latest mystery, leave a comment on her post. Deadline for comments to be eligible for the contest is Sunday, October 9 at 11:59 PM Eastern DST. The winner will be chosen at random (using from those who leave comments and will be announced Monday, October 10.

Next week Dennis Tafoya takes us for a walk on The Dark Side of The Street. Other guests will be authors Jon McGoran (a.k.a. D.H. Dublin) and Karen McCullough, plus an interview with author Lois Duncan. Also keep an eye out for chances to win autographed books from our other guests!


“Many are called, few are chosen, but it might be you.” Read the full quote from John Updike.

Obviously we all must be a little delusional to pursue a goal that is so elusive. How else would we be able to face the daily slog? Author Jami Gold explores the nature of a writer’s delusion, when it helps us—and hurts us. Rachelle Gardner posts an oh-so-true list that has been circulating on Facebook entitled “How to Feel Miserable as an Artist.”

Manuscripts give us their own brand of angst as we go through the writing and revising process. Shelly Brown shows is how to fix weak spots in our plots. Roz Morris shares 4 tips for writing good prose – not grammar tips, but language tips. Cheryl Snyder doesn’t just tell us to increase tension – she tells us how to increase story tension. And P.W. Creighton uses light in his narrative can help control the tone and emotional impact of the scene – and so can you.

Aside from all that, our characters can tie us up in knots. Adventures in Children’s Publishing lays out seven character types and their uses; Livia Blackburne shares Tips for Building Strong Characters and Emotional Depth during the revision stage; and Robin Kaye brings us an amusing Top Ten List of when Heroes know they’re in love.

Think you’re done? Think again. The ending is all important, and you have to consider what sort of ending your readers expect. And when you finish that first draft and are starting revisions, A.J. Barnett gives us 20 top tips for editing a novel, and Lynette Labelle posts this Style checklist for writers.

Don’t despair, though – even published authors have their problems. Mandy Hubbard explores things published authors were told by their editors that they over-used in their manuscripts.

We can all use these: 7 distraction-fighting strategies from Psychology Today.

Because sometimes we are asked to read rather than write, here are some tips on doing your duty as a beta reader from Sara Furlong Burr.

Need to know something about the writing craft fast? Try the Writer’s Knowledge Base and search 11,000+ free articles. And in other research links, here’s interesting info about tasers from author LJ Sellers. Because sometimes you just need to zap something.


The Hub starts a new feature “A Different Light” spotlighting LGBTQ teen literature, while Literary Rambles spotlights children’s and YA agents and authors.

Pitching and query letters are usually the first step in traditional publishing. Donna May talks about her experience at AgentFest and how to create a PitchSheet, while the Buried Editor lists the Top 5 most common query/cover letter errors.

E-books are coming to rule the publishing world, and Robert David MacNeil shows why with some eye-opening stats on e-readers in the US and what this means for the realities of the ebook revolution. Biba Pearce shares 3 Tips for Professional Ebook covers so your book can get noticed. But all is not well in e-book land. The price-fixing case against Apple and the major book publishers mushrooms. People are saying they’ve overpaid for e-books since the agency model went into effect.

The new landscape has led to some interesting intersections. A graphic novel about…copyright law? You bet. Bound by Law explores copyright and fair use. Meanwhile, Tor Books, NASA and Goddard Space Flight Center have entered into a collaboration designed to inspire a new generation of American kids to pursue science, math and engineering dreams.

Social media is a great way to build your brand and spread the word about your book. Michael Hyatt touts consistently across all platforms and building your personal brand with these 5 simple tools. In case you’re new to the idea of platform, agent Rachelle Gardner lists 10 tidbits about author platform. One part of your platform should be your website. And what’s the most important thing on an author website? Answer: Your book! Here’s how to properly showcase it. Meanwhile, here’s 11 Twitter tips for writers. The last post not withstanding, Twitter and Facebook are not the only game in town – and shouldn’t be, if you want to be successful at engaging your readers. And one of the best ways to use the Internet to spread the word about your book is to cultivate relationships with book reviewers.

While social media has empowered many authors, there are certain rules of etiquette to follow on social media. Jen Jenkins shares 12 fundamental don’ts when writing your social media bio. Linda Formichelli stresses how to use the power of silence, both in real life and online, to boost your writing career. Mary Kole points out some definite DON’Ts for social networking, while Nathan Bransford reminds us of the most important rule of all: Don’t be a jerk – not only because it reflects badly on you, but because it can cause real and lasting emotional damage to those you behave badly toward.

Derek Haines provides an amusing look at how to make your book a bestseller. In all seriousness, success is not all about talent and luck – Michael Hyatt lists 7 ways successful creatives think differently. But Jody Hedlund sums it up best: To be successful, expect to work hard.

Don’t forget to check in on our contests to win signed copies of our Mystery Month author’s books!

Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back here Monday with our first winner and a review of Dennis Tafoya’s The Wolves of Fairmount Park.


  1. Thanks for the link love! And a great roundup. 🙂


    • We can always count on you for some quality content!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: