Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 19, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 09-19-2013

Welcome to another week of writing links!

In library news, ex-librarian Carol Snowden saves more than $1 million over her lifetime to be distributed to libraries to help the disadvantaged; and a bookless (you read that right) public library opens in Texas.

The New York Times Book Review gets a makeover.

Harper Collins Children’s lists 7 awesome things about middle grade books; why horror in YA is a staple, not a trend; and why the problem of gendered reading negatively impacts all children.


Cross-media stories can be wonderful. Ken Atchity shares innovative ways to turn your book into a movie, but Kevin Pettway gives 6 reasons why your beloved role-playing game might NOT work as a novel (and how you can make it work).

Karen S. Wiesner lists 5 mistakes to avoid when writing a fiction series; Chuck Wendig shares 25 things you should know about world-building; Susanna Calkins has 7 tips on writing accurate and authentic historical fiction; and here is some info of different types of explosions for your story. Because sometimes you just have to blow things up.

There are many tricks to the trade of writing. Victoria Gefer discusses what reading can teach a writer that TV and film can’t; Jane Lebak delves into stereoscopic writing; and K.M. Weiland shows how honest authors can make themselves look über-smart–and fill plot hiccups at the same time.

So much goes into a successful story. Kendra Leighton demonstrates how to graph the tension in your story; Sophie Dawson talks about how character names can distract from the reading experience; and Jennifer Laughran offers advice on conference critiques.

Writers need two things to be successful–time to write and a lot of heart. Jamie Engle dispenses time-balancing advice, while Juliana Baggott explores losing and gaining heart and nerve.

In the advice column, Brenda Moguez lists the 7 deadly sins of writing; Annie Dillard talks about the writing life; and K.M. Weiland has 15 signs that you’re being a writer wrong.

Writing is an emotional job, and we all need support to get through the rough times. Janet Reid has some advice on how to deal with frustration; Kristi Holl explains how to surround yourself with supportive vs. toxic friends; and Anne R. Allen and Alex J. Cavanaugh share safe havens for writers on the Internet.

It takes a long time to write a good book–and even longer to learn enough to be able to write a good book. Maybe longer than we think. Gigi Pandian explores if the books we eventually write begin in our childhood; Thomas Kaufman reminds us of the theory of 10,000 hours to greatness; and Seth Godin parses the difference between workaholism and all-consuming purposeful work.


Many authors are looking warily at Amazon’s new MatchBook feature, but Michael J. Sullivan explains how Matchbook (and other bundles like it) can actually help authors sell more.

For those considering self-publishing, Rachel Thompson lists the 12 most relevant reasons to self-publish.

If you are seeking the traditional route, Chuck Sambuchino has compiled a collection of great advice from literary agents.

Marketing success can be elusive. K.M. Weiland discusses how to improve the searchability of your book titles and subtitles; Midge Raymond walks us through planning book tours 101; and (since all authors are brands now) Cecily Kellogg shares 5 business logo design tips.

As you engage in social media, here are some things to consider. Lisa Hall-Wilson lists 5 reasons to use a Facebook Profile rather than a Page; Beth Belle Cooper has 7 counterintuitive tips for social media success; and Rachel Thompson tells us how to run all of our social media from one place, saving us time.


For those who love to travel, find out how to pack like Nellie Bly, pioneering journalist.

Finally, 25 jokes only book nerds will understand.

That’s it for us this week!


  1. Thanks so much for the link to my post! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.


    • We’ve been enjoying all the posts we’ve seen from you lately. Hope your book is selling well, because it has some great advice in it!


  2. Kerry, thanks as always, for the great links – and the WITS shout out!


    • You’re welcome! We always check out Writers In The Storm–good advice on there.


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