Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 11, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 04-11-2013

Help author David Farland’s son Ben, who is fighting for his life after a terrible accident. Like many authors, David has no insurance and the costs of Ben’s care are expected to top $1,000,000. Join others in a “book bomb” to support them, or simply donate to the cause—and please spread the word.

On a sad note, author Iain Banks has terminal cancer.

Is the digital age killing authors? Scott Turow argues that American authors are dying a slow death. Mike Masnick counters Turow’s arguments, and Kristen Lamb replies that the Old Paradigm authors are dying—but authors as a whole are rising.

It’s April, and Heather Dawn brings us tax tips for bloggers & small business owners.

Video games helping kids scholastically? In California 10th graders improved their writing skills through an interactive fiction game.

Libraries reboot by helping researchers with their data and becoming partners in the research enterprise.


If you write non-fiction, how do you keep from having articles you write be too similar to a children’s book you wrote on the same subject? Mary Kole tells us how to keep from having conflicts when it comes to first rights of publication in magazines versus books.

Lynn Joseph tells us how to write believable racial and ethnic diversity into our characters.

Hannah Gomez explores the epistolary novel form, then and now.

Be careful what words you use. Inside the curious phenomenon of word aversion.

Brian Yansky takes the process back to the beginning and asks how you begin a novel idea—with character, dialogue, or plot? Meanwhile, Darcy Pattison gives us 15 questions to help us decide what our next writing project should be.

Kristen Jett shows how breaking down novels can improve your own writing; Roz Morris gives us plotting tips from Mama Mia; and Tom Pawlick lists the 9 ingredients of character development.

Jami Gold gives 3 tips for being a better beta reader, while Nora Zelevansky has 5 ways to get better critiques from your beta readers.

Veronica Roth on the power of gestures in conveying romance; and C.S. Lakin highlights redundancies in our writing.

Love your audiobooks? Have trouble deciding which books would be better heard than read? Mia Cabana on how and why she chooses some books to read as audiobooks.

Andrew Jack reminds us that desperation is our enemy, and that no deal is better than a bad deal in publishing.

Chuck Wendig tells us that we writers are all connected by our self-doubt, while Kerry Gans explores the phenomenon of devaluing our own skills while envying others theirs.

Here are some writing tips from a master: what Walt Disney knew about storytelling, from Janalyn Voigt.


As a follow-up to the Amazon-Goodreads buyout, SCBWI brings us links to three different viewpoints. If you are one of the many readers uneasy about the new alliance, here are 12 alternatives to Goodreads.

Agents answer the question: what is different in how you read the first page of a manuscript versus reading a published book’s first page?

Tim Kane reminds us that literary agents are gamblers at heart.These gamblers, er, agents are looking for clients: David  Haviland (US & UK clients) of the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency and William Callahan of Waxman Leavell Literary.

Agent Rachelle Gardner busts some publishing myths.

Want to sell books on your website, but find it daunting? Tom Umstattd explains MyBookTable, a plug-in to make selling books on your website easier. He also shares 5 (bad) ways to fool agents and editors into thinking your platform is bigger than it is.

Like Pinterest but wonder how you can use it to help sell your books? Amanda Luedeke has 5 ideas for authors on Pinterest.


What you never knew about Willliam Shakespeare’s day job as “hoarder, money-lender, tax dodger.”

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