Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 3, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 04-03-2014

Welcome to the first April links round-up! And spring may finally have come to our neck of the woods. Gray, rainy, chilly spring, but it’s not snow and it’s above freezing, so we will celebrate!

Do you know how to find out if your blog posts, books, or even your testimonials have been plagiarized? Arlene Prunkl tells us how to detect plagiarism and what to do if we find it.

Okay, this explains a lot. Seriously. Cody Delistraty explores the neurological similarities between successful writers and the mentally ill.

Nina Amir challenges you to NaBoBloMo – National Book Blogging Month. In which you blog, polish, publish, and market a short book in a month. Are you up for the challenge?

Anna James bemoans the closing of more school library services in England, saying that “libraries are an equaliser”, while Patrice Caldwell explains that diversity in children’s literature is about far more than representation.

Poems written by teenaged Douglas Adams and Griff Rhys Jones are found in a school cupboard. And they’re about candles. Really.


We all do research, and organizing all that data can be an enormous headache. Jenny Hansen tells us how to use OneNote to organize your research notes.

Roz Morris addresses the question of how many words to write per day to be successful, while Ninie Hammon reminds us not to be afraid of the crappy first draft and Ali Luke wants us to write like no one’s watching.

We also need to think about themes and how they reflect our worldview. And be careful of clichéd characters—they are interest-killers for your readers. Then there’s the all-important first plot point, creating conflict with a purpose, and figuring out the difference between a symbol and a motif.

After we’re done dealing with all those things, we need to polish it up. Janalyn Voight shows how to self-edit fiction, while Grace Bello brings us 19 writing tips from writers and editors for The New Yorker.

If you like historical fiction, here’s an interesting piece on historical accuracy vs. “historicity” on TV. Can it also apply to books?

Ghost stories your thing? Neil Gaiman talks about the value of ghost stories.

Because writing can be scary, here are 25 quotes that inspire you to be a fearless writer.

If you are self-publishing (and even if you’re not), your book needs to look good and have an enticing blurb. Joel Friedlander tells us how to design running heads for your book, while Ruth Harris gives us 8 tips for writing a killer blurb.


Jane Friedman looks at questions raised about the ebook market and Big 5 survival. Rachel Deahl wonders if, for major publishers, print will no longer be the norm. For self-publishers, Susan Klopfer examines 4 reasons why indie books fail.

Agent Janet Reid answers the question: is it a red flag if an agent is not in AAR? Marleen Seegers explains everything you need to know about foreign rights agents and why you may want one.

If you’re getting ready to send to agents, read agent Juliet Mushens’ tips on the most common mistakes she sees in queries. And if you write literary, commercial, new adult, YA, middle grade, picture books or magic realism, consider querying Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary.

Overwhelmed with marketing? Jason Kong describes how to keep your fiction marketing lean and focused. Rachel Thompson tells us how knowing your keywords can help your marketing take off.

If you use Google+ as part of your marketing, you may want to check out Martin Sheverington’s tips for mastering the Google+ platform and unleashing its full potential. And Garrett Moon shows us how to share our content more than once without spamming.


The first of April was a day to celebrate Chaucer! The University of Rochester has some Middle English text series online. Speaking of Chaucer, his contemporary John Lydgate is being resurrected thanks to coded graffiti on a church pillar.

For research, browse the entire blog collection of the National Library of Australia, as well as thousands of historic maps released online by the New York Public Library.

Take a look: 10 of the world’s most beautiful book shops, 16 classic children’s books retold for adults, and 14 female authors who were totally badass.

And finally, because the quiz craze has caught us too, find out which fantasy city do you belong in

That’s it for us this week!


  1. Kerry, I just saw that you included my OneNote post at Jami Gold’s blog…thank you so much! I so appreciate it. OneNote’s made research (NOT my best skill) so much easier.


    • I haven’t tried OneNote–I tend toward Excel. But I also don’t have a smartphone or a tablet or anything other than the laptop to write on, so not having my research available for multiple platforms isn’t an issue for me. It sounds like OneNote can be an awesome tool, though!


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