Posted by: Kerry Gans | March 27, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 03-27-2014

Welcome to the end of March—and the end of our wintry blast! With temps forecasted in the 60s this weekend, we’re hoping spring is finally here to stay.

In case you missed The Write Stuff Conference last week, J. Thomas Ross has an excellent conference recap with photos.

Chelsey Philpot lists the YA novels to watch for this spring, and Kelly Jensen teaches a censored history of ladies in YA fiction.


Monica M. Clark suggests entering contests to boost credentials. However, read the fine print. As Penny Sansevieri warns us, look for warning signs of author scams in everything you sign or buy.

As writing tools, Mary Kole suggests building emotional anticipation, while Eileen Cook tells us to turn conflict resolution upside down to enhance the conflict in your story.

Jami Gold shows us how to learn show vs. tell using macros and word lists, Kristen Lamb warns of the dangers of premature editing, and K.M. Weiland talks about the benefits of multiple POVs.

Leila Austin explains that plot and action are not the same thing, Laura Harrington gives us 10 steps for analyzing plot, and Ted Thompson examines how to write a believable happy ending.

To write faster, Kevin J. Anderson advises dictating your first draft.

To write better, K.M. Weiland says to put your ego away, Jennifer Williams offers a grab-bag of writing advice, Natalie Bakopolous shares notes to the first-time novelist, and Amber Kelly-Anderson lists 7 types of writers that don’t play well with others.

In other writing advice, Stephen King has 20 tips for writers, while Sam Sykes and Chuck Wendig expound on fantasy, YA, and the true test of a writer.


Publishing is evolving at lightning speed, and Jane Friedman has 5 charts that show how publishing is changing. Alison Coleman wonders if the rise of small publishing means a return to niche publishing, while McKay Coppins takes a look at the niche of conservative books and their rise and fall.

Joseph Stromberg takes us on a trip through the shadowy, surreal world of an academic book mill.

Every competitor except Apple has abandoned the US ebook market to Amazon. Jane Little examines what Amazon’s virtual ebook monopoly means for authors and readers.

Agent Janet Reid answers the question: do you need a business plan for your novel when querying? Whether or not you need a business plan, you’ll need a synopsis. Chuck Sambuchino tells us how to create an effective synopsis. If you are seeking an agent, check out Holly Lorincz of MacGregor Literary, who is seeking literary fiction, women’s fiction, thrillers, historical romance, and Western. Victoria Strauss reminds us why poets should not seek literary representation.

Does having a strong online presence up your chances of getting an agent? What numbers do you “need” to get noticed when building a platform? Janet Reid explains how much of an online presence you need at the query stage, while Anne R. Allen tells us frantic platform builders to stop worrying about the numbers.

For those in the marketing stage of their book, Tiana Warner shares 7 marketing tips from the world’s best marketers, Melonie Dodaro has blogging tips to increase engagement, and Victor Luckerson warns that free marketing on Facebook is over.


Thomas Medicus traces J.D. Salinger’s retreat into solitude as Salinger searched for solace from his PTSD.

That’s it for us this week!

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