Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 1, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 05-01-2014

Welcome to May! Hard to believe we’re here already.

The New York Public Library is hosting the exhibit The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter. And if you think kids reading ebooks is the same as reading paper, think again: what you need to know before letting your kids read ebooks.

Diversity is always a hot topic in children’s literature. Editor Yolanda Scott shares some hard diversity lessons learned, Kate Messner urges us to voice our desire for diversity with our wallets, not just our words, while Chuck Wendig tells us why a white, heteronormative dude should talk about diversity.

Bernardo Aparicio García explains what the late Gabriel García Márquez meant to Columbia.

Victoria Lamb launches a blog: 52 Ways To Write A Novel which will explore the challenges of long fiction in one post every week for a year.


Are you ready to write? Thomas Mogford wants to know if you plot first or wing it, Josh Pahigian gives us 5 reasons to set your novel in a famous place, and Kristen Lamb shows us the hidden evil of flashbacks.

Character is the reader’s key to the novel. Janice Hardy tells us how to choose our POV character, Kristen Lamb uses character arcs to propel the story and capture the reader, K.M. Weiland gets even more specific and examines character arcs in the 2nd half of the 2nd act, and Jami Gold explores how to pick the perfect job for your character.

Of course, once the writing is done, the editing commences. Corina Koch MacLeod explains the 4 levels of editing, so you know which your book needs.

We all want our books to find a fervent audience. Book clubs meet that criteria. So do series readers. Kathryn Craft lists 7 tips for writing book club fiction, while Jami Gold asks if we MUST write series to find success.

What do writers need to be successful? Joel Friedlander explores the mindset of successful self-publishers, Glen Long gives us 3 habits that separate good writer from wannabes, and Matthew Eaton lists 7 core competencies to writing success.

Roz Morris shows us how making an audiobook works from the narrator’s side of the microphone.

Ursula Le Guin dismantles the misconception that writing for kids is “easy,” and Ty Drago tells how to write middle grade horror.

Steven Pressfield wonders if writing can be taught, while Matthew Eaton shows us how to avoid wasting time on dead projects by using zero-based thinking.

Inspiration is a funny thing. Janice Gable Bashman lists 5 things to inspire creativity. School can inspire you. Karin Gillespie shares her MFA revelation, and Nichole Bernier tells us how rejection can lead to hope.

If that’s not enough to inspire you, try thinking of your work in relation to the literary canon. Kathryn Craft gives us 5 steps to discover our truest contribution to the literary canon.


Last week we talked about Amazon’s purchase of Comixology, and this week comic legend Gerry Conway is outraged because Amazon just destroyed Comixology with one tiny change in business model. Speaking of comics, here’s a look at the brick-and-mortar comic industry.

In Japan, the government passed a bill recognizing the same publishing rights for ebooks as for print books–such as the right to go after pirates.

Looking for an agent? Chuck Sambuchino discusses what you should (and shouldn’t) put in the bio section of your query letter. If you write YA, agent Rebecca Podos of Rees Literary want to see your query.

When querying, you must know your genre. Laura Backes breaks down children’s book genres, and Elizabeth Edmondson explores just what is meant by literary fiction.

Some authors are shy about appearing in public, others have legitimate reasons for literally not wanting to show their faces. Agent Janet Reid assures one such author that being reluctant to show her face in public does not doom her career to failure in this day and age.

Marketing extends into everything you show to the public–including your book cover. We all know book covers need to be beautiful, but Carmen DeSousa reminds us that book covers need to be BRANDED as well. Once your book is out there, Ruth Harris explains how to make the bestseller lists.

Do you ever think your blog posts need a little more life? Lori Osterberg has 5 ways to add personality and voice to every blog post you write.

If you’ve been bummed by falling reach numbers from your Facebook Page, here are 13 steps to improve your Facebook reach without paying.


Shakespeare! Join the Shakespeare Postcard Competition, or read the 1791 proofs of Shakespeare’s dramas.

The repository of Harvard’s rare books and manuscripts, Houghton Library is now on tumblr.

Love Medieval manuscripts? Check out the top Medieval manuscript blogs at the UK Blog Awards.

The original Chaucer manuscript in Aberystwyth goes online, Professor Francis Newton uses Egbert of Liège’s THE WELL-LADEN SHIP as a window on the Middle Ages and some famous clothes, and find out how to make 17th century watercolors.

That’s it for us this week!



  1. Thanks for sharing our post on adding personality to blog posts in this great round-up! I’m looking forward to exploring a few more of the posts you shared.

    TWL Assistant Editor


    • You’re welcome, Heather! Finding the right “blog voice” can be very difficult, and your tips help find the right path.


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