Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 25, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 04-25-2013

Welcome to the last Thursday in April!

Lists of great reading abound this week. Granta names the Best Young Novelists of 2013; YALSA’s 2013 Teens’ Top 10 Nominations are announced; the Los Angeles Times Book Prize winners are unveiled; and in a hilarious change of pace, lists 34 Top 10 Horrible Book Covers.

E.L. Konigsburg, author of the beloved The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, has died at age 83.

Increasing literacy lifts all of us up. Check out France’s subtle but powerful literacy campaign posters. Tying in with Earth Day, the organization STELLAA keeps used books out of landfills by redistributing them to people in Africa. Free books are never a bad thing: Booktrust and Pearson give 1.5 million free books for English and Welsh 4-5 year olds through Booktime.


Part of the difficulty in being a good writer is that much of what makes or breaks a book are the “intangibles” of the writing. Jamie Lee Wallace gives an unconventional definition of a writer’s voice, while Beth Hill tackles tone, mood, and style in fiction.

Writer’s Digest tells us how to develop any idea into a great story, and Susan Dennard explains how to handle changes to your story that happen mid-draft.

Chuck Wendig shares 25 ways to plot, plan and prep your story, while Liz Bureman examines in detail the “overcoming the monster” plot type.

Victoria Mixon shows us how to characterize wrong in 3 easy steps; Amie Kaufman lists 4 things to consider when ending the world; and Leanne Shirtliffe tackles the art of being funny in writing.

After you’ve got your draft, Jody Hedlund’s 5 tips for finding a competent and compatible critique partner will point you in the right direction.

Once your manuscript is ready to go, check out Jane Friedman’s best links on how to publish an ebook. Joel Friedlander talks about the most common problems with self-published book design for the interior of the book.

One way to make your book stand out is an awesome log line. The Script Lab has a huge logline example library to give you an idea how to write a compelling one. Standing out it great, but Diana Kightlinger tells us how consistency contributes to success.

Walter Benjamin has writer’s technique distilled into 13 theses; K.M. Weiland explains how getting organized can make you a better writer; and Jonathan Gunson says the biggest cause of writer’s block is fear that your work isn’t good enough.

Need more time? Here’s a recipe to force yourself to make time to write. Need to learn stuff? Here are 14 ways to acquire knowledge. Are you an introvert? Extrovert? Or something in between? Kristin Lamb examines the personality of the ambivert.

Advice from the horse’s mouth: an interview with John le Carre; Sophie Blackall’s take on subversive storytelling, missed connections, and optimism; and an interview with Pamela Paul, the new editor of the New York Times Book Review.

Christine Steendam examines the myth of overnight success, while Chuck Wendig reminds us that readers owe writers absolutely nothing.


Jane Friedman takes a look at the growing practice of paying part of an author advance AFTER publication—as much as a year after.

Janet Reid tells us what level of sales is considered successful in publishing.

At the London Book Fair, a panel seeks to define the new role for literary agents in publishing.

One agent looking to define that role is Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis, who seeks new adult, young adult, mid grade & picture book.

How’s this for a marketing strategy? Tell no one anything about your next book, be an almost total recluse, and give it a befuddling title that reveals nothing about the content. Seems to have worked for Japanese author Haruki Murakami, whose new book is flying off the shelves in Japan.

Are you a blogger? Jami Gold answers WordPress questions, while Dan Blank gives 2 strategic reasons to keep blogging, and one good reason to stop.


I think if I had this level of “disappointing” sales for a poem, I would be happy. The disappointing sales of Sir Walter Scott’s poem Rokeby in 1813.

Check out the oldest European Medieval cookbook ever found.

How’s this for reuse of resources? A library information desk made entirely out of books

That’s all for this week! See y’all in May!


  1. Thanks for linking to my post! And just an FYI, Lisa Hall-Wilson hosted the WordPress Q&A on Facebook (so I can understand the confusion), but I was the answer person. 🙂


    • Thanks for clarifying–I’ll fix it. I was very interested to read it because I think it’s about time to go “org” and integrate my website and blog. But I’m nervous about it!


  2. Kerry,
    Thanks so much for including my post on voice. And thanks for taking the time to put this great list together. As someone who does a lot of curation for her own blog and social media, I know the kind of time it takes to put something like this together. Really nicely done. I look forward to “exploring.”


    • Explore away! With 5 of us, it doesn’t take as long to gather the list, which is a plus. And I really liked your take on voice. It’s something I struggle with and when I read your post a lightbulb went off!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: