Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 20, 2011

Top Picks Thursday 10-20-2011

October is MYSTERY MONTH on the Author Chronicles! Yesterday guest blogger Karen McCullough talked creating villains we love to hate. Next week Jon McGoran (a.k.a. D.H. Dublin) tells us how to make your mystery story shine. And we wrap up with an interview with author Lois Duncan.

There’s still time to enter to win a signed copy of Karen McCullough’s A Gift for Murder. Click over to her post and leave a comment – it’s that easy!


SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) Winter Conference Registration is now open.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) Madness starts November 1st! Roz Morris gives tips to get the most out of your NaNoWriMo experience.

East Harlem has no independent bookstore. One woman’s quest to open an East Harlem bookstore, and how you can help.

The National Book Award Finalists were named this week, and the debacle that followed, with a book being nominated in error and then the author asked to step aside, has been the subject of many posts on the Internet. One of the most concise is Libba Bray’s overview of the event. And Lauren Myracle herself speaks out in an interview with Vanity Fair.


Ian MacGregger reflects on storytelling and storytellers who inspired him, both in Scotland and in Florida. Johanna Pitcairn tells about the power of writing – how a book changed her life, and how she hopes to be able to do the same for someone else.

Melissa Foster tells all of us storytellers how to deal with writing anxiety. A large part of that anxiety is fear of rejection. Lisa Schroeder gives us 5 ways to battle the fear of rejection.

Fear can hold us back, and so can the dreaded writer’s block. Io9 examines 10 types of writer’s block and how to beat them to help you get back on track. Meanwhile, Shannon and Toni from DuoLit give us 4 Ways NOT to Find Your Writing Motivation. Terri Windling examines creative burn-out and the vital part burn-out plays in the creative cycle. Sometimes great things come out of our darkest moments. Amy Butler Greenfield talks about writing through the bleak periods and taking a leap of faith.

We’d all like to strike gold with our first novel, but most of us live in the reality of writing many books that don’t sell before we get that one that hits. Ava Jae explains why this is not a bad thing and reminds us that time is on our side. In fact, it takes 10,000 hours of practicing any craft to master it, and that is the real secret to writing success. So if you find the novel you’ve just poured your heart into isn’t “the one,” don’t despair. Shelving that novel might be the best career move you could make.

Having trouble starting that novel? Try Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method. Warning-plotters will love it; pantsers will run screaming. If you’re writing a series, Jane Friedman explains what a story bible is and how to create one. And as for character names? Joanne Sydney Lessner discusses whether characters name themselves through our subconscious knowledge of their true personalities.

Once you’ve written the novel, it’s time to edit. Lynda R. Young explains how to make editing a joy rather than a chore. Look out for these 10 common errors writers make, listed by Daphne Gray-Grant. And while you’re editing, use Jody Hedlund’s 4 ways to add caffeine to your story and make it a page-turner.

Carrie Ryan examines what makes a horror novel scary. Rookie Mag delves into the season of the witch and why teenage girls are so scary. Finally, for the fantasy and historical writers among us, J.R. Tomlin talks writing realistic sword fighting.


Harper Perennial is an imprint willing to take chances on new talent – and support them. Will Harper Perennial’s model reinvent publishing? Meanwhile, Amazon is going head-to-head with traditional publishers, actively wooing authors for their new publishing arm.

Even as the publishing rules change yet again, authors still need to get their book proposals accepted. Marcia Yudkin lists the top 10 reasons book proposals are rejected and what you can do to remedy them. And you know how some agencies say a NO from one is a NO from all? Do they REALLY mean it? Agent Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown says, “Yup.”

Jane Friedman talks about fear most authors have: idea theft. Jami Gold talks plagiarism, examining one man’s scam and the wave of victims it created.

Bonnie Trachtenberg gushes on the top 10 reasons virtual book tours blow actual ones away, while Jenny Hilborne takes the opposite view in support of face-to-face book signings. Meanwhile, R.L. LaFevers shows us what sells middle grade books. These promotion tips are a little different than usual because of all the gatekeepers between you and the kids at that age.

Author platform seems to be on people’s mind this week. Kristen Lamb lists 3 blunders that can kill your author platform. Agent Rachelle Gardner freaks out authors everywhere by explaining that platform is all about numbers (metrics) these days, while Kristen Lamb demystifies metrics for the writers shell-shocked by Rachelle’s post.

Since it’s now something of a numbers game, how do you increase the numbers that count? Randy Thio says no matter what social network you’re on, it’s all about the human element, and gives 5 key habits to supercharge engaging your audience online.

If you’re on Twitter, Misty Belardo lists 5 reasons to participate in Twitter chats; Leo Widrich shares 5 things blogging taught him about tweeting; and Darren Rovell teaches us 13 rules of Twitter.

Blogging is another good way to build platform, so here are 4 tips on how to write a great blog post from Jeff Goins, and Neil Patel’s guide to writing popular blog posts.


Get a good laugh with The Rejectionist’s A YA Op-Ed Mad Lib, For Your Editorial-Writing Convenience: Is YA Literature Ruining Our Children? A Trick Question.

What to do when you run out of bookshelf space at home? Short of buying a bigger house, some people are paying to get their old books scanned and recycled to make room for new books.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art beings us a short history of Manuscript Illumination in Northern Europe. Breathtaking and unique works of art worthy of the royalty that commissioned them.

Ever wonder who wrote the manuscripts of the Middle English authors? Wonder no more. Late Medieval English Scribes catalogues all scribal hands (known and unknown) in the manuscripts of Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, John Trevisa, William Langland, and Thomas Hoccleve.

That’s all for this week!


  1. Thanks for the link love! And a fabulous round up of links this week. Wow!


  2. Did you design the site this well with the default blog tools? Your blog is incredible.


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