Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 7, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 11-07-2013

Welcome to Top Picks Thursday! It’s November now, and NaNoWriMo is in full swing! Here’s a NaNoWriMo pep talk from Chuck Wendig.

With all the noise about boycotting Ender’s Game because of Orson Scott Card’s stance on homosexuality, Peter Gutierrez discussed how to make the media frenzy into teachable moments in media literacy for today’s teens.

Lack of diversity in publishing is not a new issue, but drop in as literary agents discuss the diversity gap in publishing.

USA Today takes a look at 20 years of bestsellers and what they say about us and what we read.

Independent bookstore Finally Found Books finds a new home in Auburn, WA.


Writing for young readers? Here are 3 tips for creative graphic novels aimed at young readers, while Ron Bates has tips for writing humor for kids.

Dianna Winget explains how to get the reader to feel the emotion you want to evoke; Jami Gold explores the emotional power of putting rhythm in your writing; and K.M. Weiland tells us why readers might put down a book even if they love it.

Avoid this common writing mistake: under-explaining; make sure you stir in plenty of conflict to bring life to your fiction; and add in some archetypes to resonate with readers.

Improve your writing with Nick Cross’ 8 rules to write better action scenes and Jeannette Chesney’s advice about killing your darlings.

Be a part of history and settle the burning question: Is it “you’ve got another THING coming” or “you’ve got another THINK coming”?

Some numerically-themed craft advice: 10 screenwriting tips from Braveheart; 4 tips for writing a first draft; and 5 ways your journal can take you deeper into your story.

Facing the synopsis nightmare? Clare Allan-Kamil has synopsis tips to help you out.

Jeff Goins shares the little known secret to getting things done, while Maureen Johnson dishes on how an MFA will teach you to write but not to get published.

Katherine Bolger Hyde shares advice she wishes she’d been given when she started; Roger Colby lists 10 things he’s learned about being a novelist; and Courtney Summers shares her experience writing YA for girls and some of the unbelievable feedback she’s gotten.

As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, Rachelle Gardner asks: is privacy a things of the past?, while Carolyn Arnold explores the related issue of how much of your writing to share with others in order to protect your work.

Kerry Howard shows how investing in your creative self can pay off, and Rachelle Gardner reminds us to write where our passion meets the market.


MacMillan expands its book-to-film unit, MacMillan Entertainment, to cover all MacMillan titles.

Searching for an agent? Agent Janet Reid expresses a minority opinion on the dreaded query personalization; the Daily Dahlia has links to many recent agent interviews; agent Sarah Younger of Nancy Yost Literary Agency is searching for any kind of romance or women’s fiction; and Lynnette Labelle asks: are you ready for THE CALL?

How to people find your books? Online, in libraries, and by hand-selling. Martina Boone explores how book discovery works on Goodreads; C. Lee McKenzie tells us how to get our books in libraries; and Angela Ackerman shows us how to be savvy at hand-selling our books.

Building platform is important, but can be overwhelming. Lisa Hall Wilson explains how authors can use Facebook groups to build followers while avoiding the trolls; Joel Friedlander shows how to build a Twitter following in 6 minutes a day; Michelle Nahom lists 10 reasons why no one is commenting on your blog; Joel Friedlander returns with 5 steps to author blogging success; and Dahlia Adler walks us through the necessary evils of self-promotion.


For all you gamers out there: behold Ever Jane: a massively multiplayer role-playing game that explores the world of Jane Austen’s novels.

Remember card catalogs at the library? Check out these amazing library catalog cards for classic books.

Did you know that Seventeen magazine has Braille editions? Take a look at a vintage Braille copy of Seventeen’s May 1976 issue.

We’ve featured literary beer. Now taste-test Prologue teas inspired by literary classics while nibbling on snacks from The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook.

This week in 1924, F. Scott Fitzgerald sent his editor an early draft of THE GREAT GATSBY. Read the letter exchange that followed.

A new online archive allows you to explore original Mary Shelly manuscripts, as well as other manuscripts from her talented literary family.

Finally, this wouldn’t be the internet without pictures of cute cats and dogs: 15 types of readers, as told by cats and dogs.

That’s all for this week!


  1. I want to to thank you for this fantastic
    read!! I certainly loved every little bit of it.
    I have you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you post…


    • Glad you found it helpful! We aim to pay it forward by helping out others as much as we’ve been helped.


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