Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 8, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 05-08-2014

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Remember your moms—or people who were like mothers to you—on this Mother’s Day.

Diversity in race, creed, culture, and sexuality is much needed in children’s literature. Brooklyn Arden talks about the #weneeddiversebooks campaign, and how we can put a diverse book on the best-seller list. Stacy L. Whitman has a diverse YA fantasy board on Pinterest. Another author, Alexandra Duncan, found her book put on a “slut” shelf on Goodreads. Her reaction? Starting a Slutshelf Giveaway to raise money for the Freedom to Read Foundation.

Libraries are working to bridge the cultural divide among their readers, STEM comics are saving students one thought bubble at a time, and Erin Batykefer dispels 7 big myths about libraries. Meanwhile, Atlas Obscura brings us secret libraries of New York City, and across the Atlantic Philip Pullman leads authors condemning inadequate prison libraries

Stefanie Zweig, author who fled the Nazis to Kenya, dies at age 81. 

Author Harper Lee agrees to a digital release of To Kill A Mockingbird.

Check out all the winners of the 2014 Edgar Awards.


Sometimes looking at things from a different angle can spark your story. Liz Bureman discusses writing your story in diary or epistolary format and the pros and cons.

Struggling to make your fantasy world seem real? Molly Cochran has 3 tools to make your fantasy world realistic.

Make your characters unforgettable. Alycia Tornetta’s one easy way to design good characters, K.M. Weiland’s character arcs and the 3rd plot point, Claire Scobie’s 11 ways to write great dialogue, and Patrick Samphire discusses scene and sequel.

When self-editing, check for overuse of flashbacks. Kristen Lamb explains why too many flashbacks signal deeper story problems. Would editors at a publishing house catch those issues? Rachelle Gardner lays out the steps of the editorial process in a publishing house.

Staying in the flow is hard. Cheryl Reif shows how to boost productivity with an idea log, while Angela Ackerman shares 8 writing tools to keep you motivated and the words flowing.

Writing is an art where connecting with your reader is the end all and be all. Joe Bunting lists the top 5 reasons you’re not a good writer, Anne R. Allen describes how to write for the skimming readers of the 21st century, and Nina Amir shares what it takes to have a successful author attitude.


Piracy is a real problem for authors and can often take a larger emotional toll than monetary toll. Author Erin Bowman shares an exchange where one commenter takes down another reader who tried to justify piracy. Meanwhile, M.G. Buehrlen has a unique take on how NOT pirating can make you into an amazing artist.

Carly Watters shares 6 reasons you need a literary agent now more than ever, Chuck Sambuchino explains how to classify our book and target the proper literary agents, three agents tell which is more important to them: loving the manuscript or its marketability, and Jane Lebak writes a moving essay on how hard it is to walk away from an agent relationship that just isn’t working.

We need reviews to get our books discovered. Jen Talty discusses the relevance of customer reviews and discoverability, while Sarah Pinneo examines Amazon’s new policy cracking down on “gift card” reviews as well as fake reviews.

Joanna Penn has tips for audiobook ACX marketing, Rebecca Gill explains setting up Google Authorship on WordPress, and Jason Kong lists 7 things your fans want to hear you say.


Ever wonder how a classic poet breaks up with a girlfriend? Read this letter of Lord Byron to Lady Caroline Lamb, written on 29 April 1813.

Sometimes the final version of a story isn’t what the author would have liked to see published. Here you can read the uncensored version of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story Two Wrongs.

Do you miss card catalogues? Here are photos of people using the Cincinnati Public Library card catalogue from 1950-1970.

Check out these school days depicted in early children’s books

If you want a unique but real name for your heroine, the Medievalists bring you 10 girls’ names from Medieval London.

That’s it for us this week!

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