Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 10, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 04-10-2014

Welcome to this week’s writing links round-up!

Tuesday April 8th was International Sir Terry Pratchett Day!

Are we losing our ability to read long and complex formats? New studies find that our new skills at online reading disrupt our ability to read deeply.

What does this mean for the last big bricks-and-mortar bookstore chain? Liberty Media, a major investor in Barnes & Noble, announced that it will sell most of its investment in Barnes & Noble.

In independent bookstore news, New York City’s Rizzoli bookstore is the flashpoint in a heated dispute between preservationists and developers.

With Mother’s Day coming up, here are the 10 best bad mothers in literature.


Every writer does some amount of research for our books, but try as we might mistakes will creep in. Veronica Sicoe tells us how to deal with Error Terror!

Claire Scobie discusses how to make your word powerful and affect change, while Becca Puglisi highlights weak writing as one of the main reasons readers stop reading.

Roz Morris describes how to make your plot more plausible by controlling your timeline, and Bill Holland shares the definition of an epilogue and when to use an epilogue in your story.

We love our characters! But sometimes we just have too darned many of them. Janice Hardy tells us how to decide which characters to eliminate. Jami Gold explains how we can build theme through character arc.

Writing’s fine points can sometimes trip us up. Writer’s Relief shares the art of using correct verb tenses in your writing, Liz Bureman describes circumlocution and its literary uses, and former police officer Derek Pacifico gives us inside information about homicide scenes.

Editing and revision is where all the polishing happens. Savvy Book Writers extols the benefits of beta readers, Alythia Brown warns us not to ignore our story revision instincts, and Marc Baldwin shares 5 steps to editing a book from the inside out.

We are creatives. Jeremy Collier takes a fresh look at creativity, Lesley Vos lists 20 things that can help you find inspiration for writing, and Amanda Patterson examines the author’s promise to their readers.

We are creatives, but we also want to be successful. James Chartrand explains that writers who get paid have a habit that amateurs don’t. Natalie Whipple gives tough but honest advice to writers. Kristen Lamb urges us to find our niche not just in genre but in story length–there are readers out there for every length, so write what you love.


Jane Friedman explores the future of hybrid authors, as well as who or what influences our buying decisions these days. Author Anthony Horowitz declares that Amazon is “evil” in his Digital Minds Conference keynote address.

For publishers, can Big Data help improve book business practices? And speaking of data, here are the bestselling ebooks of 2013.

In self-publishering, T.L. Bodine lists 5 essential publishing skills author-entrepreneurs must have.

If you are looking for a traditional deal, Nina Amir asks: do you have what publishers really want? And if you are seeking or have an agent, Nathan Bransford gives us 8 ways to know if you have a good agent, while Sharon Bowers of Miller Bowers Griffin explains what agents look for in query and sample.

Marketing scares a lot of writers. Nina Amir lays out how a business plan helps your book get read, while Erin Bowman talks about self-promotion and marketing materials that work.

There are a lot of ways you can raise your visibility, even before you have a book published. Sarah Allen has 10 ways pre-published authors can start building their careers, Karin Abarbanel shares 10 steps to building grassroots support, and Stina Lindenblatt lists 12 tips for increasing your book’s visibility.

Then there is the oft-dreaded “platform.” Agents weigh in on how important (or not) a platform is when querying fiction. Jim Devitt shows us how to beef up our platform by making Google+ circles work for you.

Even after your book has been out a while, you can find ways to connect with new readers. Jen Blood advises revamping your cover to better appeal to your target audience, while Bill Morris suggests that we can do better with our second novel than our debut, as he ponders a golden age of the second novel.


Brett Janes compiles a complete chronological list of Charles Dickens’ opening sentences, since Dickens is known for his compelling openings.

Take a trip through 19th century Paris in this installment of Literary Tourism.

Game of Thrones is dominant in both books and TV. Will Baude examines how the Game of Thrones TV show helps us understand the books, while Erin La Rosa challenges you to find out what your Game of Thrones name would be.

That’s it for us this week!



  1. Thanks for the mention!


    • You’re welcome! Keep up the good work.


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