Posted by: Kerry Gans | January 22, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 01-22-2015

As usual, we welcome readers old and new to our weekly links roundup!

The past few weeks, debate about the impact of Kindle Unlimited on authors sales has swirled. Jane Friedman reports from Digital Book World, where Amazon talked about KU and KDP Select.

For those looking for an agent, Martina Boone shares 40 questions to ask when you get THE CALL.

Virginia C. McGuire compiled photos of 15 gorgeous Little Free Libraries, while Sam McManis takes a road trip to the Bay Area’s “Great Eight” independent bookstores.

Gemma Correll shows us the Illustrated Life of a Writer, I mean Introvert.


Characters are everywhere. Marian Allen discusses the fine art of collecting people and turning them into characters, Roz Morris explains how to find your fiction character’s true nature by finding their inner horse, and Jami Gold shows how to use character goals and needs to appeal to readers.

Sometimes writers have problems when their character’s emotions don’t resonant properly. Mary Kole analyzes the problem with stuck emotions, Fiona Quinn and Hannah Byrnes discuss the emotional reverberations in a crime survivor’s psyche, Kathleen S. Allen warns to do mental illness right in fiction, Writer’s Relief has tips to help choose the perfect name for your character, and K.M. Weiland explores subtext in dialogue.

Editing is a writing essential. Linda Clare reminds us that one thing to look out for while self-editing is over-detailed description, Becky Stephens lists 4 tips for a better first revision, Stef Mcdaid has top typo-busting tips, and Jody Hedlund explores how to use tension more effectively. When you finally send it out to an editor, Blake Atwood shares 5 ways to endear yourself to your editor.

Writing is hard no matter how much you love it. Tamara Hanson urges us to own our writer status, Marissa Campbell explains how to manage expectations, and Danielle Wolffe shares 5 ways ghostwriting is good for the soul.

Lynnette Labelle urges us to be honest with ourselves about our strengths and weaknesses, Anne R. Allen exposes 6 mistakes that can sidetrack new writers, and Jami Gold reminds us to take stock of milestones along the way. We congratulate Jami on her blog being named to The100 Bet Websites for Writers in 2015 by The Write Life!

Neil Gaiman explains how he stays creative in an age of constant distraction, while Holly Black talks about her new book, fairies, and working with Cassandra Clare.

We all could use more time, but since there are only 24 hours a day, we have to settle for being more productive. Breeanna Pierce has 5 steps to becoming more productive, Delilah S. Dawson shares 25 writing hacks from a hack writer, while Nicholas Carlson lists the productivity hacks he used to write a 93,000-word book in 6 weeks.


“Publishing” has become a fluid term recently. Options from self-publishing to traditional publishing to hybrid publishing abound. Stina Lindenblatt tells us how to deal with the publishing blues, Joel Friedlander shares his top 7 tips for making the leap from author to publisher, and Edward Nawotka shows how publishers can work with entrepreneur authors as partners. Chuck Wendig explains that in publishing there is no debate, only options, and he answers the question: why traditionally publish?

Many writers seem to feel like they are wasting an agents time by querying something a little “outside the box.” And while many agents do have guidelines as to what they represent, agent Janet Reid says to never think you’re wasting her time by querying. As most agents will tell you, they are looking for a great story above all else, and Kristin Briana Otts reminds us once again to write excellent books, not to trends.

Marketing takes planning. And it has a lot of rules. Which you can break if it works. Frances Caballo suggests planning your marketing with a content calendar, Fauzia Burke lists the dos and don’ts of digital marketing for authors, and J.S. Bailey reminds us to always be polite.

Basically, we authors need to establish our unique author brand, as Mary Keeley explains. One important part of doing that is a great author headshot—and Sara Chambers has some tips for getting one.


Dan Meth brings us some hilariously retitled classic books.

As writers, we’re obviously word buffs. But take this quiz to see if you really know your Old School English. (Also some good Middle Ages resource links).

Long-hidden letters finally unravel the mystery of the death of Oscar Wilde’s wife Constance. Musician Steve Earle explains how a more modern mystery, In Cold Blood, changed his life.

Some things never change. Take a look at a Medieval poem exploring the sounds animals make, and examine 3 creative Q’s from Medieval illuminators. For many writers, libraries are magical. Franck Bohbot’s new project, House of Books, documents the world’s most beautiful libraries.

That’s all for this week!


  1. Thanks for the shout out and the congrats! 🙂


    • You deserve it! We love your site. 🙂


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