Posted by: Kerry Gans | January 5, 2012

Top Picks Thursday 01-05-2012

Happy 2012!

To get 2012 started right, Icy Sedgewick gives advice on getting back into your writing routine, and Kristen Lamb helps you plan for success in 2012.

Lit World’s Read Aloud Day 2012 is coming up in March. If you are a teacher who would love to have an author Skype your class that day, or an author who would like to volunteer, check out the possibilities.

2012 is the year of the Apocalypsies, a group of debut novelists coming out this year, including friend of the blog Tiffany Schmidt. Take a look as Tiffany’s twins demonstrate some Apocalypsies pride for their mom and her book SEND ME A SIGN, due out in October.

Finally, Neil Gaiman’s New Year Wish for us: that we make mistakes.


Start 2012 with a clean slate (literally). Jeff Goins tells you how to get rid of the clutter killing your creativity, while Patrick Ross explains the connection between creativity and wasting time.

Some wonderful writing advice from the pros. Kelly Simmons shares lessons learned from agents & editors over the years; Kiersten White gives writing advice you don’t know you should ask for; Kat Howard urges us to write what only you can and never apologize for it; and Shelley Souza brings us J.K. Rowling’s writing process, compiled from interviews over the years.

Jennifer Brown Banks talks what bad movies teach us about good writing; Alicia Rasley discusses the “call to action” in your manuscript; Rebecca Joines Schinsky shares surprise plot twists that have been done to death; Stavros Halvatiz explains tone in storytelling.

Before diving into your next writing project, use this handy 40-point checklist for improving your story from Adventures in Children’s Publishing. Susan K. Perry shares seven of Mike Nappa’s reasons why you might be accumulating rejections. Once you finish writing, Tim Kane explains the need for professional camaraderie and critiques among writers. In order to find that camaraderie, Elise Stephens explains how to form a writer’s critique group.

Chuck Wendig shares 25 Things Every Writer Should Know and also warns about 25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing RIGHT NOW.

Roni Loren shares her 10 Commandments of a successful author; P.S. Demian asks the question: Should You Read How-To-Write Books?; and Susan J. Morris gives us 52 writing exercises for the new year, because the best way to write better is to practice.


For writers going the traditional route, agents are a must. Jami Gold tells us how to write a good pitch (to entice that agent). Jane Friedman tells us how to know if you have found a good agent. Speaking of agents, Gordon Warnock of the Andrea Hurst agency is now open to submissions.

Publish Your Own EBooks tells where to find images and artwork for your ebook, while librarian Marlene Harris explains how to get your self-published book or ebook into the library, and Maxwell Cynn shares his successful tricks to making his self-pubbed book a bestseller.

And for steampunk enthusiasts, asks: Where is steampunk going in 2012?


For those of you looking to add to your reading lists, here are three more book lists:
Kirkus Reviews has 10 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books For January 2012.
New York Public Library announces the 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing: Children’s Books 2011.
11 Books To Help You Turn Over A New Leaf (in life, not just in writing).

Book Riot shares the top 5 signs you’re reading too much YA lit.

The Chipper Muse discusses the poetry of headlines—an art form unto themselves.

For research, here’s a great new resource: Britain’s National Trust Collections are now online.

Ebooks are taking over the world right now, but centuries ago a similar world-shaking media appeared: Awesome Horrible History presents aBook, the new Roman invention.

See you next week!


  1. *Fantastic* collection of links! Seriously. I’ll be here all day. 🙂 Thanks for including me!


    • We love sharing the good stuff we find. I got a laugh out of the “aBook: the new Roman Invention” video down in The Unique Shelf section!


      • That’s fabulous! Thanks, I needed the laugh! 🙂


  2. Great round-up of resources. Thanks for mentioning my post!


    • You’re welcome, Stavros. We don’t often see posts on tone, so we were happy to find yours!


  3. Thanks so much for including me in this! 🙂


    • Happy to do so! Your post provides some valuable information for writers who are trying to start or find critique groups.


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