Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 28, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 11-28-2013

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you have a warm and comfortable holiday.

Now that Thanksgiving’s out of the way, here comes Christmas. Janice Gable Bashman pulls together 10 great gift ideas for readers and writers.

Here is a beautiful tribute to Doris Lessing, based on her Nobel Prize speech.

James McBride wins the National Book Award!

Keith Yatsuhashi takes us inside the Frankfurt Book Fair.

In a fun challenge, how many of these best-selling books have you read?


Hoping your book will catch fire and demand a series or spin-offs? Adrienne deWolfe has tips for developing spin-offs and sequels. Since good characters are at the core of most long-lived series, Becca Puglisi gives 7 tips for using the Trait Thesauri in the early stages of writing and crafting your characters.

Proving that inspiration can be found anywhere, Diane O’Connell shares 5 lessons her cat taught her about writing, and Daniel Wallen lists 15 common places that can inspire your creativity.

Sara Kankowski DeSabato says you know you’re a writer if…, while Cate Russell-Cole tackles the bane of many a writer: minimizing the strain on your neck while at the computer.

A just-found essay on the imagination from C.S. Lewis brings insight into the creative brain; Chuck Wendig wrestles with the age-old question: write what you love or write what sells?; and Lydia Kang reminds us to focus on our own work and stop constantly comparing ourselves to others.

Raquel Byrnes shares the Book Cover Archive, where you can research thousands of book covers past and present; Becky Parker Geist investigating computer-generated speech for making audio books; Antionette van Heugten has 5 myths and 4 realities about publishing a book; Rachelle Gardner talks about balancing the artist-self and the business-self; and Patrick Schwerdtfeger dares us to think bigger about our non-fiction book and writing business in general.


If you’ve got a book with Amazon, you’d better check you Keywords and book description. Amazon is no longer allowing other authors’ names or book titles in your Keyword of book description.

Publicist Jennifer Hudson Taylor delineates the roles of publishers, literary agent, and publicist. Agent Janet Reid tells us how to query when you’re collaborating, and why tenacity matters.

If you’re looking for an agent,Anna Olswanger of Liza Dawson Associates has put out a call for queries. She seeks mid-grade,adult nonfiction & historical mysteries. Shannon Hassan of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency seeks literary fiction, commercial fiction, YA, memoir & nonfiction.

Let your social media work as hard as it can for you. Jane Friedman on how to make bios for each platform that will showcase you best, as well as WordPress plugins she can’t live without. Chris Robley shares 21 ways a reader might find your author website, and James Scott Bell explains why you should always own your own email list.


In the spirit of feasting that pervades Thanksgiving, Pen Volger examines Jane Austen’s use of food in her works.

Ever wonder if famous novelists intentionally put the symbolism in their work? One college student did, and the answers from the novelists are enlightening.

We’ve all heard of writer’s block, but what about reader’s block? Rose Fox has 6 ways to beat reader’s block.

That’s all for this week! Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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