Posted by: Kerry Gans | January 17, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 01-17-2013

Author Jay Lake has aggressive cancer, and he needs help paying the many bills insurance won’t cover. Here’s the link to the fundraiser.

McDonald’s in the UK is doing its part to get kids to read: giving a £1 deal on 15 million children’s books.

On this side of the Atlantic, you can get great deals in the Best Used Bookshops in New England.

And take a look at what REALLY goes on inside a library with Teen Library Toolbox’s series The Year in the Life of a Library 2013.

Sol Yurick, author of THE WARRIORS, has passed away. Publishers Weekly brings us a list of notable publishing-related deaths in 2012.

Robert Jordan’s final book in the Wheel of Time series is out on shelves—but the delay in ebook release has fans angry.

Literature goes to the Oscars: a lot of book adaptations got Oscar nods this week.

Publishers Weekly lists the top 20 bestselling books of 2012 as listed by Neilson Bookscan, Amazon Kindle, and Amazon Print.

Oh, my. These people were in serious need of a copy editor: 41 tattoos that are all wrong.


Dr. Kate Gale talks about the importance of finding stakeholders in your writing life; Jane Lebak discusses writing after you live through a tragedy; and Chuck Wendig tackles the notion that writing cannot be taught.

How to start your novel is one of the most problematic parts of writing. Chuch Sambuchino examines what movie beginnings can teach us about starting our novels.

What to call your work is another sticky problem. Roz Morris helps you find the right title with a brainstorming workshop.

Tim Kane shows us how to manipulate time to nail your pacing, while Chuck Sambuchino explains word counts to aim for in various genres.

Scott Richards examines the difference between writers and editors, while Chuck Sambuchino returns once more to tells us how to hire an editor for your book or query letter.

Grant Faulkner revels in his inner editor during revisions, and Stephanie Burgis gives some perspective on the task of rewriting.

Martina Boone explains how passionate characters can overcome passive opening incidents; John Hansen tells how to write a believable male characters; Amy Lukavics shows how to face killing off one of your characters; and Stephanie Burkhart lists the types of romantic men.

Stephanie Orges discusses the 7 narrator types. Choice of narrators can affect choice of voice—and voice is vital to a successful book. Veronica Roth tells us how to embrace your own voice, while S.L. Duncan shares how to capture the authentic voice of a period.

Advice often comes in list form. Here’s How to manage expectations, step 6, and evade the wrong question from Matt Bird; Matthew Turner’s 4 ways a storyteller learned to write; 7 creative writing tips for increasing productivity by Melissa Donovan; and Mark Nichols’ 10 tips about basic writing competency.

Lauren Grimley explains how to NOT write what you know; Julie Cross on how to find writing ideas all around you; and the last 10 Newberry and Caldecott Medalists explain how “the call” changed their lives—or not.

Good Books and Good Wine gives tips on how to have more time to read. Timothy Egan examines his hypothesis that short days and long nights make for better creativity; Paula Scher likens creativity to a slot machine; and Dr. Noa Kageyama asks how we can develop a more courageous mindset (and reveals the secret of life).

Nicholas Royle talks about the special magic of a first novel; Jen Doll takes us on a literary tour of historical YA; and Alex Clark discusses why Jane Austen still matters after 200 years.


Self-publishing, ebooks, and print books, oh my! Author Jennie Nash reveals 5 surprises about self-publishing; Wise Ink tells us why self-published ebooks will be preferred by readers; and Savvy Bookwriters gives 11 reasons why you should offer print books, too.

After feeling snubbed by Random House UK’s offer on royalties for ebooks, mountaineer Joe Simpson set up his own digital publisher, offering higher royalties to authors than traditional publishers do.

What you need to know about public domain (or lack of it) in the United States.

Authors in court: Patricia Cornwell sues her financial managers for money mismanagement, and A BEAUTIFUL MIND’s Sylvia Nasar sues Columbia University for almost $1 million.

Speaking of money, Chuck Sambuchino answers 11 frequently asked questions about book royalties, advances, and money.

When querying agents, Trevor Shane advises querying agents in tiers, and Mary Kole shows us the difference between situation queries and plot queries (and which are more effective).

And here are some agents you might consider: John M. Cusick, who recently moved to Greenhouse Literary; Gemma Cooper of the Bent Agency; and Margaret Bail of Andrea Hurst & Associates.

We can only hope to land as talented an agent as Sterling Lord, the literary agent who launched Jack Kerouac.

Most posts about successful school visits focus on the logistics or the technical side. Michael Northrop discusses successful school visits by focusing on how he gets the kids involved.

Did you know that negative feedback can hurt your Facebook reach? And here are 15 common Twitter questions authors ask.

Time management not your forte? Daniel Sharkov has 4 ways to start writing more content while spending less time on it.


Tired of your overflowing books piled on the floor? Never fear! Pam Peterson introduces 17 ways to use books as home decoration.

Newtown library has been flooded with grief-related book donations. Please contact the library before sending on any more donations.

Peter Pan, meet Peter Panzerfaust. A new take on a classic character.

For the beauty lovers in all of us: The online edition of the St Albans Psalter, and a 15th century Black Hours book.

That’s all for us this week!


  1. Thanks for the link back!


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