Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 18, 2012

Top Picks Thursday – 10-18-2012

October is anti-bullying month. Cassandra Clare writes an amazing post about the bullying she has been dealing with of late, and Jo Knowles pens a heartfelt post in support of gay YA.

In honor of Dyslexia Awareness Week, author Sally Gardner lists her top 10 picks for children with dyslexia.

The 2012 Teens Top Ten winners were announced; and Rachel Seigel explains why book awards chosen by the children rather than adults are so awesome.

In SCBWI news, registration for the winter (NY) SCBWI conference starts October 19th; and Tomie DePaola wins the Society of Illustrators Lifetime Achievement Award.


Stina Lindenblatt points out that emotion drives your story; Martina Boone evokes emotion by gluing plot to characters and theme; and Kristin Lamb wants your structure to be simple and primal to raise emotion in the reader.

Emotion in the story stems from the readers caring about the characters. Nicole from Word for Teens talks about what makes characters brilliant; Mette Ivie Harrison lists 15 questions to ask yourself about your heroine; and if all else fails and you can’t take it anymore, Allison Brennan tells us how to kill your characters.

Dara M. Beevas with the do’s and don’ts of revising your book; Aimee L. Salter exposes common manuscript mistakes; Jill Kemerer shows us 3 ways to fix a story problem; and Kay Kenyon explains how to keep readers engaged by keeping them guessing.

Even after all your best efforts, your work will inevitably draw criticism once out in the world. C.S. Lewis, R.J. Anderson and Sarah Rees Breenan comment on what makes good vs. bad criticism; Flavorwire brings us bad reviews of now-classic novels; Tamela Hancock Murray on handling criticism; and Kimberly Hitches has a theory as to why a large portion of the new generation of self-pubbed authors seems to take criticism so badly.

Advice from those who have been there and done that. Elizabeth Miller Wood with 7 lessons from advertising; Steph Auteri lists 5 time management tips for those writers and freelancers who can; Chuck Wendig’s 25 things writers should know about conferences and conventions; and 8 tips to bring your readers along for the ride from Susan Squires.

Colleen Lindsay updates the ever-changing rules of word count and novel length. Nathan Bransford ponders the strangeness of re-reading older children’s books; Jeffrey Davis and Peter Desberg advise to write it funny or they’ll cut it; Katie Axelson on how to build your house with your pen; and Martha Alderson shares the secret of pre-plotting for NaNoWriMo.

Luckily, as Gail Gauthier claims, you can’t get too much advices from writers. So read this great interview with author Terry Pratchett, and learn about his next books.

Want a writing career? Krissy Brady says success comes from awareness; Charles Duhigg captures the power of habit loops; K. M. Weiland examines writing personalities; Alexander Chee gives a lighthearted but true look at 21 lies writers tell themselves; Jon Bard has 5 ways for writers to blast through self-doubt; and Jason Boog has wise words for writers: forget about the money and just write.


In a blow to the Authors Guild that could impact their Google Books lawsuit, the judge ruled against the Author Guild in the HathiTrust case, claiming that the scanning and distribution of in-copyright books by the universities was fair use.

Amazon has instituted Amazon Author Rankings, so authors can have one more number to obsess over. John Scalzi discusses who actually benefits from these rankings, and Carolyn Kellogg brings a dose of reality to the hysteria.

At the Frankfurt Book Fair, traditional publishers from the Euro-zone gather to battle the euro crisis and figure out how to weather the storm.

For those self-publishing, Roz Morris lays out a publishing schedule for indie writers.

Interested in serial fiction? Plympton says serial fiction is making a comeback. Also rising from the ashes are literary journals, in digital form. Emily Wenstrom introduces 5 innovative digital literary journals to check out. And the next big thing in contemporary YA fiction? Kelly Jensen says there is no next big thing—contemporary fiction is and always has been a staple of the YA genre.

Interview & QUERY CRITIQUE CONTEST with literary agent Pooja Menon with Kimberly Cameron & Associates! The contest runs from Oct 5-31st.

On Twitter under #slushworks agents and authors have been discussing the dreaded ‘slush pile’ and how many authors have have been found that way.

Author/agent Marie Lamba gives the view of conference encounters from the Agent’s side of the table.

You’ve gotten your book deal—now what? Christina Farley writes about the first 3 months after the book deal; and Kristen Halbrook on writing that second book.

Jill Corcoran with some marketing tips that work; Laura Pepper Wu with 6 things to check to see if your author website is doing its job.


For J.R.R. Tolkein fans and King Arthur fans—Tolkein’s epic poem on King Arthur will be published in 2013.

Mallory Ortberg examines the relationship of Maurice Sendak and his editor Ursula Nordstrom—two people who believed in speaking truth to children.

Speaking of truth, here are some truthful titles of classic books.

And if you’re seeking a place for writerly inspiration, a two bedroom garden apartment formerly occupied by Charles Dickens is on the market.

That’s it for us this week!


  1. […] the Author Chronicles, there is a Top Picks post listing many more links for the […]


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