Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 15, 2012

Top Picks Thursday 11-15-2012

In Sandy-related news, Scholastic will donate 1 million books to hurricane-ravaged areas.

For other charitable news, here are 3 charities based on and for the comic book world.

In people news, T.S. Eliot’s widow and literary executor, Valerie Eliot, has died at 86. And John le Carre lays his feud with Salman Rushdie to rest.

The election may be over, but here are 12 literary quotes for the next election day.

YA is all over the blogosphere this week. If you didn’t know it was Contemporary YA Week, Stacked Books has gathered all the Contemporary YA Week posts and book lists in one spot; Kirkus Reviews listed new and notable teen books for November 2012; teens write reviews of new YA titles for the School Library Journal; The Book Addict Girl hopes that criminals are the new vampires in YA; and check out this amazing United States of YA map.


NaNoWriMo is in full swing – at the halfway point! Writer’s Digest has collected all their NaNo-related articles in one place; here’s a NaNoToon on 200k YA zombie dystopian romances; a couple of pep talks to get you in the right frame of mind for a writing marathon; and if all else fails, try Chuck Wendig’s uplifting Battle Song of the Storyteller.

Ash Krafton talks about the importance of finding and keeping your voice. If you’re writing a YA, Mary Kole suggests 12 cliché YA openings to avoid. If you’re writing about music, author and composer Antony Jones tells us the most effective way to write about music.

We always want the critiques we do to help the person we’re reading for. Kathy Steffan gives us a checklist for a good and helpful critique.

George R. R. Martin’s editor Jane Johnson gives her top 3 writing tips; Andy Ihnatko on the thousands of things that unconsciously influence an author; and a group of authors passes on the best writing advice they ever got.


Etan Smallman tackles the question on everyone’s mind: What will Penguin Random House merger mean for book industry?; Jospeh Esposito looks at why publishers got so big; Forbes’ Jeremy Greenfield tells us which publishers do best at ebook sales; and Forbes’ David Vinjamuri explains why drowning in indie books is a good thing for publishing.

Alexandra Bracken tells us how to get a job in publishing, while Amanda Nelson gives a glimpse into a life in publishing.

Livia Blackburne on why she signed with a traditional publisher, and Kfir Luzatto on when to say no to a publication offer.

Grabbing an agent’s attention is key for traditional publishing. Rachelle Gardner has the formula for writing a one sentence summary for fiction, while Jane Friedman shows how to write a non-fiction book proposal.

Since this question seems to keep coming up: Agent Janet read answers, Should you copyright your work prior to submitting to agents?

There’s a new UK agency, if you’re looking for UK representation: Diamond Kahn & Wood; Bree Ogden tells how to know a good agent from a bad one; a story of second chances for both agent and author; and #PitchWars begins Nov 14 on Twitter.

In the marketing department, Rob Eager shows how to sell more books by tapping into book clubs, and Jon Gibbs lists 10 marketing techniques that annoy potential readers.

Blogs are the centerpiece for a lot of author platforms. Rachelle Gardner has possibly the best blogging advice ever, plus she asks you to examine what your online activity says about you, and Caitlin Muir lists 50+ things to blog about when you have writer’s block.

There’s an app for that! The New York Public Library uses Biblion to engage readers with their books, and Mashable lists 8 apps every writer and blogger should know.


Okay, this is my dream house: a house built around a 3-story-high bookshelf. Failing that, I might try this DIY headboard made of books.

From classic writers: Beatrix Potter’s “picture letters” at the Morgan Library; Andrew Forrester’s The Female Detective (1864), the first crime novel with a lady sleuth has been republished by the British Library; Flavorwire walks us through the many cover designs of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA; and Erik Kwakkel brings us a strange but beautiful photo of where books can take us.

For those of you feeling a little Medieval: the University of Victoria has acquired a new manuscript; this week the app store is launching a Book of Kells app for the iPad; Middle Tennessee State University hosts an explanation of medieval leaves and the Art of the Book; the University of Exeter is to create an app showcasing Anglo-Saxon manuscripts; see digitized handwritten material of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin; and Cambridge University is bringing science and art together with MINIARE, a new interdisciplinary study to unlock the secrets of illuminated manuscripts using non-invasive means.

Starting to think about holiday gifts? Check out the picture book and middle grade novel suggestions in this holiday gift post.

That’s it for us this week!

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