Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 11, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 09-11-2014

Welcome to our links round up. Today, those of us in the USA take a moment to remember the bravery and the loss of 9/11.

Photo: The day the Eagle cried...

Now on to our links.

Enjoy the cover reveal of HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH by friend of the blog Tiffany Schmidt—and today she is having a contest, too, so click on over before it finishes!

If you want to be published, writing is a business as well as a craft. There’s a lot to learn about the business side of things. Anne R. Allen talks about the biggest mistake new writers make and how to avoid it, while Jen Talty discusses how to run the business side of authorship productively.

If you are one of the I-have-to-do-it-all-myself business owners, Melissa Mannozzi has hacks to help your productivity.

Have you recently had your heart broken and want to escape the world? Isabel Gillies has a reading list for the brokenhearted to help you out.


Are you a pantser? Richard Thomas tells us how to write a novel without plotting it out. Mooderino warns against waiting for the story to get going. And however you get there, Stina Lindenblatt reminds us to make the payoff scene count, while K.M. Weiland highlights the common writing mistake of telling instead of showing important scenes.

Bryan Wiggins explains the 3 secret functions of your book’s chapter titles, Marcie Colleen has 3 acting tips for writing with emotion, and Fiona Quinn gives us details of life in the Navy SEALs.

How do you make your characters unforgettable? Denise Drespling has 7 tips for making well-rounded characters, Pam Mingle shares 7 ways to create empathy for your protagonist, and Kristen Lamb shows us how the character wound deepens conflict.

Revision and editing is a craft step that cannot be ignored. Amina Gautier explains why revision rewards mistakes, Katherine Pickett talks about the importance of author-editor compatibility, Heather Webb tells us how to make it through the gazillionth pass of your manuscript, and Mooderino explores what to do when a scene isn’t working.

In genre craft, we’re talking mystery, steampunk, and historical fiction. James J. Murray discusses using allergies as murder weapons, Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris examine the world of steampunk, and Lisa Jardin explains how historical fiction can be more truthful than historical fact.

If you are unsure whether you want to write novels or short stories, Dale Bailey explores the pros and cons of writing short stories vs. novels. If you do write novels, you know there is usually a time when you fall out of love with your work. Martina Boone has 5 quick ways to fall in love with your WIP again. Nicole Lowe reminds us that writing a book is like a triathlon.

Sometimes, instead of writing alone, your best work might come in a collaboration. Maryann Miller shares her experience with a successful collaboration. Or maybe your best work comes at a certain time of year, like Lyra Selene. If your creativity seems AWOL no matter what time of year it is, Leo Babauta explains how creativity works and how to do it.


If you are pursuing traditional publishing, you know that email queries can cause a lot of formatting headaches. Patrick McDonald shows us how to avoid weirdness in email query formatting.

Sometimes, we get rejected with the phrase “This isn’t right for me.” What that really means and other agent advice, compiled from agents by Chuck Sambuchino. Meanwhile, Sara Megibow comments on the best query letter she has ever received.

Have a self-published book you’re looking to take traditional? Chuck Sambuchino tells you how to pitch your self-published book to an agent.

Want to have a book trailer but have a small budget? Angela Quarles shows us how to create a DIY book trailer. Is a book trailer even right for your marketing push? Colleen Devine Ellis lists 6 questions to ask before publicizing your book.

The rules of social media are simple—you learned them in kindergarten, according to Carmen deSousa.

Do you ever wonder if your tweets are having any impact at all? Kas Thomas takes a look at the life of a tweet and the newly-available Twitter analytics.


Do you ever think that once you’re famous you’ve got it made? Listen to Tennessee Williams’ thoughts on what he calls the catastrophe of success.

Many of us take swimming for pleasure for granted, but in the late 1500s people were new to the idea. Check out illustrations from Everard Digby’s 1587 book THE ART OF SWIMMING

As we all know from the Internet, sometimes the reader comments are much better than the article itself. Eric Kwakkel has the same experience when reading sometimes personal notes from angry Medieval readers and greedy scribes found in the margins of Medieval manuscripts

That’s it for us this week.


  1. Thank you for picking up my post, ‘The rules of social media are simple—you learned them in kindergarten’. I’m honored. Have a great weekend!


    • You’re welcome! Sometimes social media seems so much more intimidating than we need to make it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree! When we make it *work*, it becomes a four-letter word. 🙂


    • Yes! Although “play” is also a four-letter word… LOL! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is very true…and indeed, it can be. I’ll leave it at that. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing my productivity hacks post, Kerry! I’m glad you found it helpful enough to share with your community.


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