Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 12, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 06-12-2014

We survived the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference! After a wonderful weekend, we are back in the groove with this week’s links.

Cory Doctorow sends 200 copies of Little Brother to a high-school in Pensecola, Florida, whose principal cancelled the summer reading program rather than let the students read it.

In the blow-up of the week, Ruth Graham argues that adults should be embarrassed to read YA, prompting Gwenda Bond’s 10 reasons to read YA no matter what your age, and L. K. GardneGriffie’s rant against reader shaming.

Barbara O’Connor pays tribute to legendary children’s editor Frances Foster, who passed away this week.

The discussion of diversity in writing continues. Junot Díaz condemns creative writing courses for “unbearable too-whiteness,” and Claire Fallon calls on readers to create counter-pressure to the many factors favoring white authors.

To diversify our own writing, Justina Ireland gives some diversity suggestions, and Jami Gold has one step to better writing and more diversity.

Jennifer Weiner says that as a female author you have to choose between respect or readers.

If you are interested in supporting students to attend Clarion West, you can do so by contributing to author Stephanie Burgis’ Write-A-Thon.

Take a look at the Big Books of BEA 2014. And if you’ve finished reading the big book The Fault In Our Stars, check out this list of read-alikes.

Lincoln Michel explores what it would sound like if strangers talked to everybody like they talk to writers.


We have all experienced times in our life when we are kept from writing by events beyond our control. Jane Lebak has fallback ideas on what to do when you can’t write because of life. Those of us with children will understand that summer is a time when writing schedules can go out the window. Stina Lindenblatt shares 12 tips for balancing summer fun and writing.

As we write, we have to juggle myriad elements. K .M. Weiland lists 3 tips for tracking time in your novel, James Scott Bell gives us 7 tools of dialogue, and Joe Bunting tells us why our writing sounds weird.

All characters need to have emotion to draw the reader in. On Writerology, Skye discusses the emotional ladder and which emotions cross cultures and are therefore universal. To get even deeper into your character’s psyche, try using deep POV–maybe not all the way through, but in key sections of your narrative.

We all know how hard it is to edit your own work, but Laurel Waiton has tips on how to write, edit, and proofread your own documents effectively.

Can’t get started writing? Nikki Woods examines 10 common types of writer’s block and how to overcome them quickly.

Ever think about writing your memoir? Susan DeFreitas lists 10 reasons you should be writing memoir right now.

If you want to write better, Allison Foster shares 6 ways to study writing. And Nina Badzin reminds us that we need to embrace the writer we are, not the writer we thought we’d be.

Tessa Gratton points out that success usually comes slowly in writing, so we need to think of writing as a long game, and Carmen Amato lists 5 mistakes you will make on the way to publishing success.


Traditional authors have long been the target of scams, but Victoria Strauss warns that self-published authors are the new demographic targeted by scammers. Writer, beware.

The New York Times addresses the Amazon-Hachette-Bonnier tussle in “Amazon’s Power Play.”

For any author negotiating their own contracts, agent Kristen Nelson shows how a single letter can radically change a contract. Writer, beware (again).

In the marketing side of things, Jason Kong shares 3 marketing mistakes to avoid. And since our cover is perhaps the best marketing tool we have, Joel Freidlander explains book cover success and failure.

Got a blog? Want more traffic? Jeff Bullas lists 64 tactics to drive traffic to your blog, and Adam Connell shares blogging tips to boost traffic.


In a fascinating interview, Adam Phillips discusses why psychoanalysis is like literature and how art soothes the soul.

In an absolutely weird conjunction, Emily Brontë becomes a death metal darling.

Who is winning the Oxford Comma Wars? You decide.

Still hemming and hawing about buying an ereader? Elizabeth Waters shares her confessions of a midlife ebook convert.

Love pulp magazines? There is a huge database of largely forgotten pulp magazines.

In “ewww” news, testing confirms that a book in Harvard’s Law Library is, in fact, bound in human skin. Now there’s a story waiting to be written.

That’s it for us this week!


  1. Thanks for sharing my blog!


  2. Eww, to the human skin book… :/

    Now, what was I going to say before my thoughts were sidelined by that? LOL! Oh yeah, thanks for the shout out to my post! 😉


    • I know, creepy! And it’s always our pleasure to highlight your great blogs!


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