Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 12, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 09-12-2013

We at the Author Chronicles remember 9/11 and all those who lost their lives 12 years ago.

In sad news, A.C. Crispin has lost her battle with cancer. We all remember not just her books, but her fight for writers against scam artists through WriterBeware. On another sad note, Carolyn Kaufman, who wrote for Querytracker and was often featured here on Top Picks Thursday, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm.

Nathan Bransford lists the bestselling novels by year from 1900 to the present, and the bestselling non-fiction books from 1900 to the present.
Books are so important to our culture. Matthew Yglesias argues that cheap books are good for society and authors should stop complaining about the low prices; HuffPost Books gives us 13 reasons you should always buy used books; and David Shields lists 8 favorite books that could save a life.

In good news, Barret Bookstore, the oldest indie bookstore in Connecticut’s Fairfield County, reopened with a new layout.

Check out an upcoming, New York City, talk with Lois Duncan and Maureen Johnson about YA issues in literature and the YA industry in general.


There are some big-picture items every author must deal with to write a successful novel. Two of them are voice and world-building. Lauren Miller discusses what voice is and how to find yours; Laura Pauling explores the big lie: getting readers to suspend their disbelief and live in your world; and K.M. Weiland shares 5 misconceptions about your story’s normal world.

We all dream of movie deals for our books. Monica M. Clark gives 4 tips to writing a novel that will be adapted into a movie. One key is vivid setting, and Beth Hill shows us how to master technology in our setting so our settings don’t seem dated or unbelievable.

Interesting characters are also a key to catching movie-makers’ attention. Sophie Novak lays out how to build a strong character; The Bookshelf Muse tackles the physical attribute of slender build; and Lori Freeland has 5 tips for cheeseless dialogue.

Kenna Griffin shares 11 tips for editing your own writing so it shines, while Carmel Bird reminds us of the power of understatement.

Writing is emotional, and one of the emotional enemies of a writer is feeling like a fraud. One way to combat that feeling is knowing the market you are trying to break into, thus boosting your chances of writing something that will fit the audience expectation.

We can learn from any path in life, if we pay attention. Here are 7 lessons on the creative life from the US Forest Service, as well as 27 pieces of advice for writers from famous authors.

Advice is immortal, and Writer’s Digest posted these 5 tips from A.C. Crispin in honor of her passing. More advice is forthcoming in writing tips from Robert Newton Peck and 4 rules to writing humor from Lance Manion.

Jeff Goins reminds us poignantly of why we write–we never know how powerful our story is until we share it.


Jane Friedman’s best business advice for writers August 2013 edition is out.

Writer website Wattpad will partner with Sourcebooks for print and ebook editions of some YA works.

Rachelle Gardner tells us how to pitch your projects at conferences.

Networking is important to any business, but writers are often quite nervous about it. Author Tony Conaway gives us 7 tips for working a room, and Christina Katz offers 5 networking mistakes to avoid.

Looking to get media exposure? Lauren White tells us how to get on local radio or TV and work our way up from there.


Ever wondered what Shakespeare’s plays sounded like back when they were produced? Linguist David Crystal and his son, actor Ben Crystal, make the case for performing Shakespeare’s plays with their original English accent.

James Joyce tackles the many outrageous myths about him in a letter to a friend; the inspiration Jane Austen found in Chawton; and could Jack Kerouac’s downward spiral been caused by football head injuries?

Judging books by their covers: 105 years of Anne of Green Gables covers (including the controversial 2013 cover); and your favorite classics redesigned with pulp covers.

Finally, since Halloween is coming up (and is probably already in a store near you), Jackie Reeve put together 21 children’s book characters born to be Halloween costumes.

That’s all for us this week!


  1. Thank you for linking back to my article on Cheeseless Dialogue on Writer’s in the Storm!


    • You’re welcome! Dialogue is so important and so easy to mess up. It’s always nice to see how to get it right.


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