Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 9, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 05-09-2013

Happy Mother’s Day to those mother writers out there!

Help the British Library figure out how to leverage their new digital archives best for professionals, and the Library Lab will finance your idea.

Tor went DRM-free a year ago. Julie Crisp talks about the results of the experiment.

Maureen Johnson challenges her readers to create new covers for books by imagining that the authors were the opposite gender of what they are (called Coverflip), as an experiment in eliminating gender-bias in marketing and covers.

Ebooks are creating a reading revolution, but in the 1940s the paperback book changed the reading habits of an entire nation.

Libyans celebrate life after Gaddafi by buying banned books in Tripoli.

Speaking of banned books, Harper Lee sues her agent over an alleged copyright scam.

With it being convention season, agent Evan Gregory writes about convention expectations and etiquette.


The end of an era: Dewey’s own card catalogue in Columbia’s library is to be retired.

Good news for library patrons—the last major US publisher has agreed to lend ebooks in libraries. Terms and conditions vary from publisher to publisher, but they are now all on board.

New York Public Library’s Donnell branch is designed for the digital age.

One of the most amazing stories about libraries—how a team of sneaky librarians in Timbuktu duped the Islamic extremists who tried to burn their ancient library.


Alexander Gordon Smith explains why “write what you know” is not a limitation to creativity, Chuck Wendig on how to find you voice, and Amy Deardon explains why deep POV is better than objective POV.

Mark Nichol wonders if tense shifts in a sentence are advisable, Chuck Wendig with tips on how to maximize word count, and K.M. Weiland tells us when to nix “suddenly” in our manuscripts.

The writing community, like most communities, has its own rules. Jessica Baverstock explores the pros and cons of brainstorming with other writers; Mike Duran teaches blurb etiquette; and Deborah Copaken Kogan lays bare the still-prevalent sexism in the book industry.

Jami Gold asks you to consider whether the writing path you are on will reach the goals you want to achieve, and Janalyn Voight advises how to avoid the second book slump.

Roz Morris explains which publishing services are worth spending your money on; Mike Wells warns against the time-wasting “Slow No”; and Jody Hedlund explores what makes a reader pick up a debut novelist’s book.


Jane Friedman’s Best Business Advice for Writers for April 2013 is out.

Nathan Bransford thinks publishers should empower authors to sell their own ebooks. And if you are already selling you own ebooks, Lisa Grace explains how to pick Amazon keywords that work.

Carolyn Kaufman answers the question: Do you need a literary agent? Agent Miriam Goderich explains why indie authors should not immediately dismiss the idea of also using traditional publishers. Rachelle Gardner explains the perils of being a hybrid author from the publisher’s point of view, while reiterating strongly that an agent is first and foremost an author advocate.

Marcy Kennedy explains how to write the perfect pitch; Susan Finch lists 6 steps to writing a great query letter; and Ava Jae reminds us that query letters need critiques, too.

Jodi Meadows shares how to prepare for interviews and such, while Terri Giuliano Long tells us how to sell 100 books a day.

Here are 5 social media platforms you might not be familiar with, Jurgen Fauth lists some great apps for writers, and Catherine Ryan Howard reminds us that social media is not about advertisement—it’s about engagement.


Even the greats sometimes don’t want to take credit for their work. Lord Byron asked his publisher to lie for him about authorship of a poem called The Waltz in 1813.

Today we have many ways of hearing our favorite author’s voices in interviews and readings. Here are some audio recordings from favorite authors of the past.

Liverpool University houses a rare 12th century example of bookbinding, while a hidden Medieval archive is discovered in another bookbinding.

A typographer is turning Sigmund Freud’s handwriting into a digital font, and you can help.

If you’ve got a little one at home, those kids’ songs get stuck in your head all day long. Here’s some little known 2nd verses to children’s songs you thought you knew.

You thought projecting your author image was tricky before—now it’s gone to the dogs. Kathryn Lilley does an in-depth investigative report into authors and their canine doppelgangers.

That’s it for us this week!

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