Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 26, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 09-26-2013

Happy Autumn, everyone! Welcome to the last Thursday in September.

For Banned Book Week: The 10 most frequently challenged books, and the reasons behind the challenges.

If you’re ever at a loss trying to explain writing to the non-writerly people in your life, try using the parenting model to explain the writing life. And here are 11 ways everyone can help their favorite authors when their newest book is released.

Goodreads changes their policies to fight back against the nasty behavior (on both sides) on their site.

The National Book Awards longlist for Young People’s Literature is announced! And SCBWI has a new award! The Spark Award is for independently published books.

Anne R. Allen and EBUK point out that English is spoken all over the world, and you should think globally for your ebook market. But local is great, too–James Patterson is giving $1 million to indie bookstores.

We loved these vintage ads for libraries and reading!


Structure is vital to a strong story, yet many of us get intimidated by things like outlines and beat sheets. Jami Gold comes to the rescue with a basic beat sheet to beat the intimidation factor. And while writing rules can be helpful, Lisa Cron points out 3 writing rules that can derail your story if interpreted incorrectly.

Sometimes it’s hard for us to nail down our characters, so Alicia Rades lists 4 ways to find our characters. The antagonist can be even harder to pin down, so K.M. Weiland has 10 ways to make your readers loathe your antagonist.

Erin Bartels describes how the pre-writing process can be as creative as the actual writing; James Scott Bell explains how to hook readers on page one; and Nicola Morgan reminds us of the sheer guts it takes to rewrite and rewrite until we get it right.

Vaughn Roycroft sheds light on the plight of the uni-tasker, and how to deal with the waiting if you are a uni-tasker who can’t move on until on project is done. One way to deal with waiting is to learn new stuff. James T. Mangan has 14 ways to acquire knowledge. While you’re waiting, new creative opportunities might come along. Emily Wenstrom has 3 questions you should ask yourself to decide if the chance is an opportunity or a distraction from your goals.

John Gregory Hancock reminds us never to let the market write our book for us; Dear Editor defines middle grade and its variations; and Swati Avasthi lets us know that diversity in YA is achieved by speaking the truth of your experience.

Looking for ways to be more productive and creative? L.L. Barkat says disarm the technology and hype: Quiet Zones are proven to promote productivity. And creativity? Creativity is really just persistence, and science can prove it.

If you want success, beware of “end-of-rainbow thinking.” But even if you are not a success, that does not mean you are a failure.

Melissa Donovan gathers together 42 fiction writing tips for novelists, and here are famous authors explaining why they write–and why you should.


Chuck Wendig tells it like it is in his open blog post to “Dear Publishers.”

Nicole Evelina has querying Dos and Don’ts, plus how to decide who to query. Agent Janet Reid explains how to handle a 2-protagonist query. Meanwhile, Jennifer Udden of the Donald Maass Literary seeks science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries.

A little lost as to how to build your platform or fan community? Start with what you’re best at: story! Joel Friedlander talks building engagement with story, strategy, and structure. And if you want to tell your story to the media, Heather Booth has 6 tips for talking to the media so you get the most out of the exposure. Unsure how to make certain your brand is clearly defined? Jami Gold talks about what brand is and isn’t, and how we craft our brand.

Got a book out there? Check out these 15 places to promote your book for free. And while you’re promoting, please avoid these 5 creepy social media tactics.


Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a haunting interpretation of “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats.

Here are the 20 stages of reading–and here are 11 faces you make while reading.

What was it like to be an author in 1813? Read Jane Austen’s letter to her sister Cassandra from September 15, 1813.

Ever use something other than a bookmark to mark your place in a book? Check out this site dedicated to “forgotten bookmarks”–things discovered tucked inside used books.

It’s great to be on the cutting edge of technology. This incunabulum pop-up book was probably the first of its kind when it was printed…in 1482.

That’s all for us this week!


  1. Thanks for sharing my post! Caught a few new awesome resources from you!


    • You’re welcome! In this world of multi-tasking, we are so programmed to believe that we CAN do everything, we rarely stop to think if we SHOULD. Your post was a great wake-up call.

      Glad you found some new resources! We find great new bloggers all the time.


  2. Thanks for mentioning my post! This is a fabulous roundup. Will be passing this on.


    • You’re welcome! Querying is so important, and seems so basic, but is so hard to master. We’re always happy to find different takes on how to do it right.

      And thanks for passing us on!


  3. Wow. Thank you so much for the mention!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: