Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 5, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 06-05-2014

Welcome to our weekly writerly links roundup! We are getting ready for the 2014 Philadelphia Writers’ Conference here, which we will report on as we have for the past 3 years.

Other Philly-local writing events can be found here.

Author Jay Lake lost his battle with cancer this week. And in memory of Maya Angelou’s passing last week, you can listen to her read her poetry.

We all know that getting kids to read is crucial. High school English teacher Josh Corman shares how he learned to let kids read something not “classic” to foster engagement, children’s author Mercer Mayer discusses how children’s literature ignites the imagination, and Levar Burton’s Reading Rainbow Kickstarter project hit its goal in only 35 seconds (and is still going).

Tor announces a new imprint for novellas, shorter novels, serializations, and other forms of short fiction.

Writers, share this with your friends and family: Robbie Blair’s 8 ways to support the writers in your life.


We all have our own writing process. Stephanie Burgis shares her writing process, while Elizabeth S. Craig talks about adjusting to a summer writing schedule.

Whatever our process, it’s always a good idea to develop thematic ideas in our fiction, thus deepening our story. Metaphors are a good way to convey theme, and K.M. Weiland lists 3 rules for using metaphors to best effect.

Our characters need to be vivid and gripping. Angela Ackerman shares some of James Scott Bell’s character tips to make characters jump off the page, and Margie Lawson describes how to write non-cliché facial expressions.

Just when you’ve wrangled your themes and your characters into some sort of order, you have to face the dreaded editing phase. Joel Klettke shares 10 tips to improve your editing skills, YUNiversity lists 6 tips to write better grammar, and Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas explain how to use reader feedback to improve your writing.

Joe Bunting tells us everything you ever wanted to know about how to become a ghostwriter.

Productivity and motivation are essential to keep our career moving forward. Chris Well has 9 tips for becoming a healthier, more productive author, and Roz Morris advises us how to keep motivated when book sales are low.


The Amazon-Hachette dispute is still front-page news in publishing. Bob Kohn explains how book publishers can beat Amazon, and Hachette strikes back by launching a dedicated bookshop on Books-A-Million. Tor shows its spirit of community for authors impacted by the Amazon-Hachette battle and Chuck Wendig takes a moment to reflect on the authors and readers caught between the two corporate giants.

Speaking of Amazon, the people in the UK are fed up with Amazon paying just a 1% tax. How are companies that pay their taxes supposed to compete?

In this article, self-publishers predict what publishing will look like in the near future.

As authors, we talk about our books a lot. Even if we never seek an agent, we need to have a polished pitch and logline. Rachelle Gardner lists 11 questions for crafting a pitch, while Mary Kole shares the secrets to a good logline.

Book launch! Marketing frenzy! So…much…stress! It doesn’t have to be that way. Anne R. Allen explores the myriad ways to launch a book in today’s market, and Elizabeth S. Craig talks about walking away from the stress of a big release.

If you opt for a book signing, Stina Lindenblatt lists 14 tips for surviving your book signing. But don’t just stick with the old way of marketing. Penny Sansevieri makes the case for getting out of your comfort zone to find new ideas for successful marketing.

So much marketing depends on you connecting to your readers. Kim Garst shares how to dominate the search results with SEO, Jason Matthews has a 7 item To-Do list for your Amazon Author Central profile, Kevan Lee tells us how to write a perfect blog post, and Leah Schnelbach covers John Scalzi, Maureen Johnson, and Bill Barnes’ BEA panel on the worst social media advice ever.


Hey, Douglas Adams fans! Writing that Adams cut from his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy novels is to be published after being found in his archives.

Slate explores why movie adaptations of books usually inferior.

Explore 1,217 testaments, books, deeds, etc., from before the 1500s digitized by 3 Estonian libraries.

That’s it for us this week! See you next week, after the craziness that is the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference is over.


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