Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 11, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 12-11-2014

Welcome to our weekly round-up! Today the weather outside is frightful, so curl up and enjoy!

HuffPost Books shares its most viral stories of 2014.

’Tis the season for book lists: The Boston Globe’s Best YA Books of 2014, NPR’s Best Books of 2014, and The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2014.

Implicit racism exists in society. Noah Berlatsky thinks kid lit might be the answer to implicit racism. If you’ve got work to send out, Entropy Magazine lists where to submit your writing this winter.

We writers always knew we were special. Rachel rate explains why writers have a serious advantage over those who do not write.


We’ve recently exited November, which for many writers was a month of extremely fast writing. They aren’t the only ones—nor the first: Ian Fleming fast-drafted his Bond stories, and Kazuo Ishiguro wrote The Remains of the Day in four weeks. If you did NaNo, is your resulting story a mess? Jami Gold tells us how to move forward post-NaNo and turn it into a story.

Once you’re writing, Mia Botha explains when you can safely use a prologue, C.S. Lakin explore using motifs for cohesion and depth, K.M. Weiland tells us how to avoid too much introspection, and Donald Maass describes how to plot a non-plot driven novel.

After you’ve written, you need to revise and edit. Laura Ruby explains that this means a lot of rewrites. Never fear, because Adriana Bielkova has 5 ways to actually enjoy editing your book, and Janice Hardy shares her top 3 revision tips. Editing is necessary, but Mary Kole warns against tinkering vs. making progress.

Finding success as a writer requires mental and emotional strength as well as finely-honed craft. Harvard’s Steven Pinker has 6 tips how to be a better writer, M. Shannon Hernandez shares 9 tips for dealing with emotions when writing a memoir, and Sarah Fader tells us how to handle rejection.

Technology can be wonderful, and has certainly changed the publishing landscape and even the concept of books themselves. Jami Gold asks the question: are multimedia books a game changer? Meanwhile, Amber Stanley has 7 killer writing tools to beat your deadline.


All authors worry about their work being pirated. Attorney Kathryn Goldman outlines the first steps to take when your book is pirated.

If you have a book whose rights are held by a deadbeat publisher, you obviously want to get away from them and get your rights back. Victoria Strauss explains the wrong way to escape a deadbeat publisher.

Going indie? Sara Whitford tells us how to get ready to independently publish your novel, and Hellen Barbara explores the relationship between indie authors and Kindle Unlimited.

If you’re seeking traditional representation, Mary Kole shows how to write the perfect query letter, and Martina Boone lists beyond the basic questions for “the call.”

If we want to sell our books, we need to let people know what we’ve got. Amberjack Publishing shares 6 ways to get your name out there, while Gina Stoneheart explores ways to push sales for your books.

Social media is one way to get our names out there. Casey Demchak shares tips for creating headlines that work on your landing page, and Jane Friedman gives us a primer on Facebook for authors as well as 2 easy ways to measure your social media impact.

Being on social media can be a boon for us, but authors sometimes feel constrained as to what they can or cannot say online. Agent Janet Reid responds to an author who asks, “Do authors have to remain silent on controversial topics in order to maintain their readership?”


If you loved Little House on the Prairie, check out Laura Ingalls Wilder’s annotated memoir for the real stories behind the stories.

Go Louisa May Alcott! Alcott’s royalties far exceeded those of her male contemporaries—and many writers’ today.

The circulating libraries in Jane Austen’s England changed the way people read—and who could access books.

Dorothy Parker’s 1956 interview with The Paris Review.

The dramatic life and death of Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe always makes good reading.

That’s us for this week!

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