Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 23, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 05-23-2013

We are thinking of all the people affected by the tornado in Oklahoma this week. The writing community has several options to help, such as Publishing Peeps Help Oklahoma and KidLit Cares for Oklahoma. Find a way that works for you to help these people get their lives back together.

Meanwhile, things are still happening in the writing universe.

Victoria Strauss warns of a French copyright grab. If you’ve got any works in French, check out this database before you get swindled out of your digital rights.

Why getting books from the library is NOT the same thing as downloading a pirated version.

Young Adult novels are finding their way deeper into the adult market. That said, there are issues with the subconscious cultural messages often found in YA literature. We often hear about the body-image issues, but Karen Jensen focuses on another disturbing YA trend: no doesn’t mean no, and girls can’t rescue themselves.

SCBWI peeks at some new apps for children’s and teen literature.

While Amazon seems to rule all in the book world these days, Nathan Branford looks to the future and theorizes on a post-Amazon world.


When stuck for what to write about, take Joe Bunting’s advice: write about life and death. Contrast is what makes great art.

Beth Revis examines when and how you can get away with plot holes in your writing.

The Lucky 13s discuss how authors deal with social issues in middle grade books.

Psychologist and author Sarah Fine continues her series on traumatizing your character with posts on the types of trauma and the factors determining the severity of the trauma. Roz Morris takes a look at when it is safe to allow readers to fill in the blanks for your character and why this is such a powerful tool; and the New Yorker holds a forum on character likeability—is it necessary for readers to “like” your character to be successful?

A lot of the writing process contains writing that isn’t actually in your story. Pre-story, that often involves and outline. Flavorwire brings us famous authors’ handwritten outlines for their great works, so we can see how the best did it. Post-story writing often involves a book description, whether in a query or back cover copy. Richard Ridley lays out how to write an effective book description.

Do you avoid beta-reading outside your genre? You don’t have to. Jami Gold lists 4 tips for effective beta reading outside your genre.

Words are powerful. David Brooks takes an interesting look at how the words used in our books reflect the state of society over time, while Maya Angelou shares the 9 words that changed her life.

We all struggle to find balance in our lives, to find fulfillment. Steve Tobak shows us how to find that work-life balance, while Heather Havrilesky gives us straight talk that challenges us to put up or shut up.

With so many options out there for publishing these days, there are many roads to success. Jennifer Niesslein gives us her 6 rules of thumb for not letting the submission process get you down. Jane Friedman addresses how to know if you should self-publish, while Kristin Lamb shows us our REAL odds of success in the publishing world.


Jane Friedman brings us an infographic on the 5 key publishing paths available to authors today.

With Apple as the only litigant left in the agency pricing case, the US paints the corporation as the ringleader of the ebook price fixing.

A relationship with an agent, like most relationships, usually has a beginning and an end. Marie Lamba tells us what “The Call” is like from the agent’s side, while Jenny Bent outlines the right way to fire your agent. Writer’s Relief talks about what to do when an agent wants an “exclusive” of your manuscript.

If you are querying, Chuck Sambuchino answers 10 query letter questions, while agent Sara Megibow shares a query letter that worked.

If you are querying, here are some agents looking for clients: Emma Patterson of Brandt and Hochman Literary seeks literary/commercial, women’s, historical, memoir, food, YA & MG; Danielle Smith of Foreward Literary wants all things children; William Boggess of Barer Literary reps literary, mainstream, southern, memoir & more; and Marie Lamba of Jennifer De Chiara wants middle grade, young adult, women’s & adult fiction, and memoir.

When promoting your book, not all bookstore events are created equal. Matthew Dicks breaks down bookstore events into categories, so you can find the style that’s right for you.

Got a blog? Nina Amir has 7 tips for turning your blog into a book.

Do you think Twitter is making us less judgmental of people, especially their physical appearance?

Kristin Lamb warns us not to be a Frankenfriend.


Have you ever wondered why there are no apostrophes in geographical names like Harpers Ferry and Pikes Peak?

The Bodleian library has put more than 300 portraits online.

Are you struggling with your to-be-read pile? There’s a Japanese word for that.

That’s all for us this week!

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