Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 3, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 07-03-2014

Welcome to July! We at the Author Chronicles wish you all a safe and happy 4th of July.

Help this teacher get books for her low-income kids—only 6 days left for her to raise the money to buy books for her classroom.

Looking for something to read this summer? Check out this summer reading list by and for teachers.

Hey, kids, if you’re 5-16 years old and want to be a book reviewer, the Chicago Tribune wants YOU!

Have you ever heard of Booktrack? It’s basically sound effects for your ebook. Laurence MacNaughton explains Booktrack and how it boosted his sales.

Daniel José Older explains why publishing diversity is so hard to achieve and why diversity is not enough.

Leigh Bardugo takes a thoughtful look at the real reasons so many adults read YA.

Pat Scales discusses censorship, particularly denying incarcerated youth books.

James Patterson donates books to New York City schools.


We’re all looking for that magic key to unlock the greatness in our story. The Script Shadow teams discusses “the exceptional element” needed to make your story get noticed, while C.S. Lakin recommends writing the heart of your story.

Once you’re writing, you need to handle everything that comes your way: noticing and killing filler, dealing artfully with exposition, adding humor to our writing, and writing a good scene. Check out these 5 characteristics of a good scene and 8 signs of a bad one.

There’s so much that goes into our characters. K.M. Weiland walks us through naming characters, while Maggie Stiefvater explains why she rejects character profiles as a writing tool.

Writing takes a lot of inner strength. Chuck Wendig discusses what to do on the days you don’t feel like writing; Ciara Ballintyne shares her writing process; and Kathryn Maeglin lays out 4 reasons you shouldn’t try to be perfect.

Often writers feel overwhelmed by marketing duties. Joe Bunting asks if marketing can actually help your creativity, rather than hurt it.

Adapting your work to the stage can be daunting, and sometimes you have very little say in the process. Hilary Mantel shares her experience adapting Wolf Hall and its sequel to the stage.

When our work is finished, we send it out into the world. When an agent asks for a full, we are excited. But so often it comes to nothing. Pete Knapp gives 6 reasons a full manuscript gets rejected.


Amazon pushes new book terms at publishers that would be “assisted suicide” for the publishing industry.

When your publisher closes up shop, sometimes you get to have a debut redux, like Kell Andrews.

There are so many things to consider when self-publishing. Helen Sedwick has 7 legal questions to ask before choosing a self-publishing company; Jason Matthews looks at the pros and cons of using Smashwords vs. Draft2Digital as your distributor; and C.M. Skiera explains how not to release a self-published novel.

If you are seeking an agent, Andrea Hurst of Andrea Hurst & Associates seeks women’s fiction, romance, YA, memoir, and more.

Marketing freaks some authors out. Karl Bunker lists 6 things to consider when writing promotional copy; Janet Reid explains effective word of mouth promotion; Cory Doctorow discusses DRM, piracy, and freedom; and Nick Stephenson talks about leaving the exclusivity of KDP Select and boosting his sales.

The Internet is our friend and often our nemesis. Penny Sansevieri shares 10 secrets of savvy search engine optimization, Erik Emanuelli gives us 3 tips to write killer headlines, and Stina Lindenblatt has 9 online behaviors and topics you really want to avoid.


Libraries often have a fantastic atmosphere all their own. For example, the magical interior of Duke Humfrey’s Library at Oxford. And Messy Nessy explores just how the gorgeous old Public Library of Cincinnati got demolished without a murmur of protest.

Sometimes you need to research stuff (or just want to find inspiration). Historic Royal Palaces launched a new image library, and the Medievalists have a list of common boys’ names from Medieval London.

Check out these exquisite illustrations from the 1912 Peter Pan portfolio of Arthur Rackman.

Here is Charles Dickens’ signature and seal on his 1837 contract with Chapman and Hall to publish The Pickwick Papers—in high resolution and zoomable.

The 19th century author Beatrix Potter was more than a writer—she had many scientific interests early in life, and people who encouraged them.

That’s all for us this week! Take a moment amid the barbecue and fireworks to be thankful for our freedoms and those who preserve it.



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