Posted by: Kerry Gans | January 3, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 01-03-2013

Welcome to 2013! We wish all of our readers a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

Along with the new year often comes a desire to help make the world a little bit better. Some ways you can help: Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, is in “desperate need” of picture books; you can help your local library by using one of these ways to advocate for them; and Bleeding Cool is creating a comics collection to support children handling tough times called You Are Not Alone.

It may be 2013, but 2012 still has some lists to give us! At Early Word, librarians pick their 5 favorite books of 2012; librarian Abby Johnson recommends 5 YA books that should have gotten more buzz than they did; MediaBistro has the top 10 most read books in the world; Forever Young Adult has their Best of YA 2012 list; Rachel Arons recaps the notable literary feuds of 2012; and Donna Dickens lists 27 science fictions that became science facts in 2012.

For those who read Westerns, author Jack Ballas passed away.

If case you ever wondered, Steven Roger Fischer has A History of Reading.

And this has to be the best “page not found” message ever.


Predictably, the new year brings resolutions and predictions.

Stephanie Kuehn suggests making resolutions of process rather than outcome; Susan J. Morris has 10 resolutions for writers; Carolyn Kellogg brings us 2013 resolutions from other writers; J. G. Harrison has 5 resolutions for historical fiction writers; and Chuck Wendig has 25 writer resolutions for 2013 (and beyond).

As for predictions, Kristen Lamb has predictions for the future of publishing and authors in the digital age, while Lauren Davis lists 18 predictions for the year 2013 from science fiction stories.

Coming soon to a theater near you: adult books becoming movies in 2013 that teens will care about seeing.


How do you write? If you’re looking for a writing software program, here’s Carolyn Kaufman on why she uses yWriter.

Even nonfiction writers should pay attention to the craft of fiction writing. Sue Bradford Edwards explains how to use fiction techniques when writing nonfiction.

On the other hand, even fiction writing takes research, and Kaitlin Ward lays out research and its varying levels.

Once you’ve got your information in hand, check out Bob Mayer’s slide show on outlining and plot to hook it all together.

Take some tips from Melissa Tydell on how to captivate your readers, while Jami Gold helps you clean up the info dumps polluting your manuscripts.

And, for anyone (or any one) interested: the correct usage of anytime vs. any time.

Characters need to be compelling. Ava Jae advises: make your characters angry to get the most out of them. But anger can make people unlikeable. Courtney Summers talks about writing unlikeable female characters without apology.

After that first draft, it’s revision time. There are probably as many revision processes as there are writers, but Danyelle Leafty shares her process of color-coding her manuscript to make visual editing easier. Meanwhile, Clancy Metzger tackles the age-old question: How do you know when it stop revising and simply give up on a manuscript?

Got a novel out there? Roz Morris talks about when you should and shouldn’t write a sequel.

If you are a kidlit writer or illustrator, Kathy Teaman highlights her best posts on kidlit writing/illustrating tips and tricks.

Rob D. Young lists 8 reasons intelligent writers must read Twilight.

Good news for the procrastinators of the world! Dr. Noa Kageyama says procrastination can be useful—if you do it for the right reasons.

Joe Fig’s book Inside the Painter’s Studio interviews various painters. Chuck Close talks about creativity, work ethic, and problem-solving vs. problem-creating.

Are you ever unnecessarily creative? Chad Allen explains how unnecessary creativity changes everything.


Jane Friedman’s got her December 2012 Best Business Advice for Writers link roundup posted.

What’s with this “new adult” category we keep hearing about? Leslie Kaufman tells us what publishers are making of new adult, and how some authors are responding; while Jessica Negron clarifies what “new adult” is—and isn’t.

In the world of e-readers, Pearson makes a $89.5 million investment in Nook Media.

Speaking of e-readers, one study shows that e-reading rose while print reading dipped. Unless you live in the UK, where a study showed that print book sales rose last year.

If you’re self-published, you already know you have to learn it all about book design and marketing. But how about the law? The Passive Voice brings what authors need to know about legal issues in self-publishing.

Searching for an agent so you have backup in all this legal stuff? Check out Sarah LaPolla’s end-of-year query stats to see how one agent’s 2012 search for new clients went.

Maybe Ms. LaPolla isn’t right for you, but one of these agents might be: Stacey Glick of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, or new agents Samantha Dighton of D4EO Literary (literary, historical fiction, mystery/thriller, YA & more); Pooja Menon of Kimberley Cameron & Associates; or Liat Justin of Serendipity Literary (YA, historical fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction).

Once you’ve got your book out there, you’ve got to sell it. Ellen Cassedy gives us 10 ingredients to a successful book talk.

And, Sté Kerwer has 10 simple productivity tips for bloggers.


Julia Spencer-Fleming takes us home for the holidays.

Speaking of home, here are some real-life Hobbit-houses. If you like to visit famous author houses but can’t travel, Writers’ Houses gives virtual tours of famous authors’ houses, such as this tour of E.B. White’s home. Hemingway’s house is having troubles with the Department of Agriculture over the famous six-toed cats living at the museum.

Reading can happen anywhere: either in this gorgeous tea house library, or in the NYC subway.

Ever wonder what happens to the personal libraries scholars leave behind when they die? Andrew D. Scrimgeour takes us inside the world of a librarian who handles scholars’ libraries.

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes: in this 16th century prayer book, and in the personalized Christmas cards from Robert Frost on display at Dartmouth College.

For those of you writing historical (or doing genealogy), here is a family tree chart of European royalty back to Maximilian I (d. 1519).

That’s it for us! See you next week.

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