Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 24, 2011

Top Picks Thursday 11-24-2011

Happy Thanksgiving! We  here at The Author Chronicles are thankful for your continued readership and wish you good food, good friends and family, and safe and unimpeded journey if you’re traveling.

In the vein of thankfulness, Jane Lebak posts on being grateful and thankful for your readers – from beta to buyer, while Krystal Wade has a beautiful post on being thankful for faithful supporters. And Rachelle Gardner advises making a Holiday Writing Plan to keep you sane.

In sad news, sci-fi/fantasy author Anne McCaffrey passed away this week at age 85.


Phil Giunta gives us a brief report from the Great Allentown Comic Con, day one.

Matt Q. McGovern details the PhilCon2011 experience in two blog posts, with photos by J. Thomas Ross.


Introducing The Golden Goose Award from Winter Goose Publishing for fiction manuscripts.

Chuck Wendig hosts a 100 word flash fiction challenge at #terribleminds.


We’re nearing the end of NaNoWriMo, and for many the bloom is off the rose. Rochelle Melander gives us 10 tools to keep your writing fresh. And once NaNo is over, Anthony St. Clair gives 7 tips for shaping up your novel after NaNoWriMo. (All those tips are good for any time of year!)

Once the motivation of NaNo is gone, where will the inspiration come from to get you to the computer every day? Trish Nicholson is inspired by laundry; Bob Mayer outlines the common traits of successful writers; and Susan Bearman says those voices in your head mean you’re a real writer.

Chuck Wendig outlines 25 reasons readers will quit reading your story. For help avoiding these pitfalls, Lynette Labelle addresses 6 common backstory problems; Grammar Girl outlines 10 tips to banish typos; Jody Hedlund talks about zombies as a metaphor for creating tension on every page; and Tim Kane discusses making a quest story structure work in a story.

Every writer faces rejection and fear—it comes with the job description. Havi Brooks faces her writing fears by using a Proxy; Courtney Summers posts about how to deal with being read and liked or not liked; Allison Winn Scotch advocates writing continuously while waiting to get published—it improves your craft and staves off the rejection jitters; and Tiffany Schmidt wonders if she is engaged in procrastination or science while carrying out The Copyedit Colored Pencil Experiment.

Multimedia author Matt Forbeck gives trans-media writing advice from novels to games; Ava Jae discusses why writers must read; Sarah Woodbury loves bringing history to life in historical fiction; and author Malaika Rose Stanley brings us a post on the nearly non-existent mixed-race characters in children’s and YA books and a list of books that have mixed-race characters.


Penguin has had a rough week. First Penguin fights Amazon’s Kindle Lending program by cutting off libraries from accessing books they already own. Then, Penguin’s writing community Book Country creates a backlash by opening a self-publishing service that many are decrying as unfair to the author.

Porter Anderson has wonderful round-ups of the best blogs about both of Penguin’s issues. Cory Doctorow posts about the library fracas, while Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware adds some sanity to the vitriol with her viewpoint on the Book Country brouhaha.

Agent Jennifer Laughran gives an official answer to any and all questions about what “the market” is looking for. Agent Janet Reid identifies and explains 10 query letter mistakes. And no matter how good you are, you get rejected—read these famous authors’ harshest rejection letters.

Self-publishing—to do or not to do? Roz Morris says that self-publishing isn’t for those who can’t get published–it’s for those who can; and James Scott Bell describes how to find self-publishing success by eating the publishing elephant.

Whether you self-publish or not, much of the promotion of your book will fall to you. Joshua Grover-David Patterson explains how to launch your book; David Robinson tells how to create a video book trailer; Working Writers and Bloggers tackles 5 blog tour mistakes (this is the wrap-up, be sure to check out all the posts); and EPublish A Book talks promoting vs. marketing a book (again, the last in a series).

Social media is a cornerstone of any book promotion these days. Jenn Reese provides a thoughtful Social Media Survival Guide; Jody Hedlund describes how to build a blog following; and Kathleen Pickering shares her moment of epiphany on the power of Twitter.

In the darker and more confusing side of social media, Schmutzie joins the de-koutification movement with a comprehensive look at Klout’s problems and how to opt out of the service; and the monetization of blogging continues to stir controversy when the Book Maven’s popular #FridayReads hashtag was discovered to be part of a business venture.

Even in cyberspace, people are human, and David G. Hallman explores love and loss on Twitter. In another type of virtual world, the rising popularity of romance novels raises concerns that they skew people’s views of what real-world relationships should be. And author Ann Patchett believes so strongly in the community benefits of an independent bookstore that Patchett is paying to open a bookstore in Nashville.

In an interesting dichotomy, the New York Times found that even avid e-book readers insist on paper books for their children. The School Library Journal explores what teens are reading for fun, and Kirkus Reviews put out its Best Children’s Books of 2011 list.


Visit the lovely new Library Journal reviews website.

Glenn Starkey talks about the lost art of letter writing.

Chuck Wendig on SKYRIM and emergent narrative.

The Evil Editor might close down the evil blog due to lack of participation.

In this New Yorker piece, Eric Idle makes a point by explaining exactly who wrote Shakespeare and why.

Ever read a book and then want to travel to the places depicted in it? Blogger Clover shares books that make her want to travel to the UK.

Princeton’s new blog from its rare books staff. NOTABILIA: An in-progress registry of provenance, bindings, annotations, and other evidence for book history from the rare book collections at Princeton.

The Black Hours—a stunning illuminated MS on black-stained vellum—has been digitized by the Morgan Library and Museum.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


  1. I tried to sign up to receive these posts. Don’t know if it worked. Please advise via @louise3anne@twitter


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