Posted by: Kerry Gans | March 13, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 03-13-2014

Welcome to Top Picks Thursday!

In Cairo, Egypt, Owen and Mzee photographer Peter Greste is awaiting trial with two other journalists.

Libraries are lifeblood of the community. In New York, the controversial New York Public Library renovation plan waits for the go-ahead from the new De Blasio administration. In England, author Philip Pullman champions school libraries, and in Manhattan, a six-year-old decides that homeless kids deserve books, too.

In the United Kingdom, the Hugo Awards announced this year’s hose: celebrity Jonathan Ross. Then Twitter exploded against Ross and he stepped down. Neil Gaiman expressed his disappointment in the SF/F fans, and Andrea Phillips says the SF/F community needs to practice the tolerance, forgiveness, and education they claim to espouse, because no one is perfect.

There is a movement afoot to get publishers to give up gender-labeling for books.

This is not a post about writing, but it is an important post for many writers and for our society at large. Libba Bray opens up eloquently about what it’s like to live under the burden of depression. Many writers suffer from depression and other mental illnesses, and our society is woefully uneducated about them. Help can be hard to find. If you need help, reach out–there is help, and you are not alone.

On a lighter note, this 16th century arms manual shows rocket cat weaponry (yes, I said rocket cat); and check out these insanely titled books that actually made it to the shelves.

CRAFT

Time to write! Roz Morris shows us how to plan our story checklist; Janalyn Voigt tells us how to fix flat writing; and Ava Jae shares 5 tips for writing dual POV stories.

If you write for children, Allan Boroughs says it is imperative to research your novel, and Wise Ink shares some rules for writing for struggling readers.

When you’re done writing, you need feedback. But what if you’ve chosen the wrong critique partner?

Even before your book is out in the wild, you’ll need an author bio. Heather Hummel has 10 tips on how to write an author bio. And if your book eventually goes out of print, Laurel Snyder shows us an awesome way to go out of print.

Writing about real life events, or basing your characters on real people, can work wonderfully, or it can prove dicey. Judith and Dennis Fradin retold Oscar-winner 12 Years a Slave for younger children successfully–and they pulled no punches. John le Carré, on the other hand, is defending himself against accusations that his portrayal of the espionage world had hurt his former mentor, the inspiration for le Carré’s George Smiley.

Speaking of inspiration, Janice Gable Bashman explores the inspirations that keep us writing; Jenny Mayhew discusses the weirdness of published life; and Alice Walker talks creativity.

BUSINESS

Amazon workers seek justice from a business-friendly Supreme Court. Can they prevail?

In other Amazon news, Audible (owned by Amazon) cuts its royalty rate from up to 90% to a flat 40%. Porter Anderson examines what this means for Audible, authors, and what it might portend for book royalties from Amazon.

Kristen Lamb discusses if authors should have to market themselves; Alex J. Cavanaugh tells us where to advertise your ebook discounts and freebies; and Kristine Kathryn Rusch explains how networking can help discoverability.

In this day and age, we do need to have internet visibility, whether we like it or not. Anne R. Allen reminds us of a simple way to build platform; Kimberly Grabas tells us how to get book reviews; Pauline shares 43 strategies to grow your blog with Pinterest; and Jeff Bullas has 11 tips to double your Twitter followers.

THE UNIQUE SHELF

Read Across America month celebrates Dr. Seuss. Heather Newman gathers 21 delicious treats for Dr. Seuss fans.

Books stir the imagination and the emotions. Check out these 17 ingenious photos of people posing with books; some of England’s iconic authors dressed up as favorite children’s book characters; and books for comfort reads.

Jane Austen fans: take a video visit to Jane Austen’s Chawton Cottage home, and read an 1814 letter to her sister Cassandra.

Kat Lister debunks the myths surrounding Zelda Fitzgerald.

Finally, here are 10 huge misconceptions about famous Medieval figures–including Gutenberg.

That’s it from us this week!

 

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