Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 27, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 06-27-2013

It’s the last Thursday in June—is your summer slipping by too quickly, or not quickly enough?

In sad news, Richard Matheson, author of I AM LEGEND and many other classics, died this week.

On the heels of the DOMA ruling by the Supreme Court, Robin Talley gives a poignant look at what gay marriage means for teens today.

In a not-so-surprising revelation, a study finds that having books in the home is the single most important indicator of student performance.

NPR’s Backseat Book Club seeks nominations for the best books for kids ages 9-14. If you’ve got a teen, Kelly Jensen’s got the Ultimate Guide to Summer YA Reading.

Teachers and librarians, check out TeachersWrite 2013, a free workshop/mentoring program put together by four authors.

Children’s literature seems to be beset by two eternal conflicts: diversity and sexual content. Yet another study shows that kids’ books are overwhelmingly white even in an era of shifting demographics. Meanwhile, Malorie Blackman and others contend that honest (not necessarily graphic) sex scenes in YA will stop teens learning about sex from porn.

Catherine McKenzie explains why authors should help other authors, and Debbie Ridpath Ohi puts it into practice by reaching out to Simon & Schuster Children’s authors who were shut out of Barnes & Noble during the recent dispute.


If you don’t “get” why people like dystopian literature, author Clark Thomas Carlton explains the secret lure of dystopian literature.

If you’re writing a dystopia or a historical, or really any type of book other than contemporary, you are writing about places or times that you have never experienced yourself. Patrick Ross has some tips for writing scenes that you haven’t seen.

Victoria Gefer shares some epiphany-inspiring creative writing tips she’s gotten from her blog comments, while K. M. Weiland tells us how to avoid the error of exclusive dialogue.

Editing makes or breaks your book. Elana Johnson says when in doubt, delete; Austin Kleon explores choosing what to leave out; and Anthony Wessel gives tips on how to make proof-reading easier.

All authors want to be able to crank out the pages, but life and creative block often get in our way. Joss Whedon shows us how to be prolific with guidelines for getting it done; Ariel Djanikian shares 7 writing routines that work; Jami Gold suggests a brainstorming warm-up to rev up your writing; and Chuck Wendig has 50 “snidbits” of compelling storytelling advice.

It can be a long road to publication, especially if you go the traditional route. Chris Miller explains how to keep your spirits up before you get published, while Myke Cole tells us that even after publication “the dream” can still be elusive.

Writing can be lonely. Denise Urena lays out the rewards of creative collaboration, while Christian Jarrett reveals the surprising benefits of a creative rivalry.

Tackling some of the issues and questions authors face today: Mary Kole set up a Critique Connection for authors to find critique partners; Kristin Lamb wonders if it’s FAIR to readers for authors to review books; and Rachelle Gardner lays out the pros and cons of blogging your novel.


With Barnes & Noble’s announcement that they are discontinuing the Nook tablet business, many people fear Barnes & Noble is going the way of Borders.

If you’re looking for an agent, Rhonda Helms has some good advice on finding an agent right for you. Once you settle on some agents to query, be sure to avoid these most common submission mistakes. And if you’re going to pitch an agent face-to-face, Kevin Hanrahan has 10 steps to a great pitch.

If you’re agent hunting, check out Jamie Bodnar Drowley of Inklings Literary, who reps YA, MG, and many adult genres, and Steven Hutson of WordWise Media, who reps adult and kids’ books and is looking for US and Canadian authors.

We’ve all heard how much of the marketing burden now falls to the author. Mike Shatzkin has advice for publishers on new ways publishers need to approach book marketing to get more bang for their buck for more of their authors.

A synopsis is a necessary marketing tool, from querying agents to submitting to publishers, so you’ve got to get it right. Stina Lindenblatt lays out what you need in a good synopsis.

If you are like me and the idea of learning Tumblr makes your brain hurt, Teen Librarian Toolbox demystifies the platform with how to Tumblr, part 1.


Wondering how to pick your pen name? Here’s how George Orwell, born 110 years ago on June 25, chose his pseudonym.

Meet Oscar Wilde’s nemesis, the Marquess of Queensberry.

PRIDE & PREJUDICE is 200 this year. The BBC has recreated Jane Austen’s famous Netherfield Ball scene in a documentary for the occasion. And because nothing says love like being on money, Sir Mervyn King, the outgoing Bank of England governor, reveals that Jane Austen is in the running to be the new face of the ten pound note.

Finally, because nothing says love like being on someone’s fingernails (unless it’s being on money), here are 15 awesome Young Adult book-inspired manicures.

That’s all for us this week!

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