Posted by: Kerry Gans | February 5, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 02-05-2015

Welcome to February’s first Top Picks Thursday! Ahh, February, the month of love…and taxes.

Yes, it’s already time to get your ducks in a row for tax time. Attorney Helen Sedwick has some tax tips for writers who hate math.

All those who loved To Kill A Mockingbird, rejoice! Harper Lee has a new novel, Go Set A Watchman, coming out. It takes place 20 years after Mockingbird.

Can Mark Zuckerberg do for books what Oprah did? Laura Miller unpacks Mark Zuckerberg’s quest for literary meaning.

Many of us resolved this year to read and/or write more. Allison VanNest shares 5 resolutions for reading and writing more that you can actually keep.

In the never-ending push for diversity in publishing, check out this review of Cece Bell’s El Deafo.

The idea of trigger warnings on books has been a hot topic for some time. Chuck Wendig weighs in on trigger warnings, and triggers quite the discussion in the comments.


A compelling plot sucks readers in. Jami Gray explores writing outside the plot box, while K.M. Weiland warns of irrelevant book endings that leave your readers dissatisfied.

While backstory is important to character, Roz Morris explains how backstory can sabotage your novel. Kristen Lamb peeks a one secret to creating multidimensional characters: everybody lies.

How we write is arguably as important as what we write. Roger Colby shares 5 ways to improve your writing style, Mary Kole discusses the dangers of indirect comparison, and Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas explain how to find the best editor for your work.

Everyone approaches reader reviews differently. Martina Boone explains how she copes with reading and interpreting reader reviews.

Chaker Khazaal shares tips for writing a novel, Janalyn Voigt tells us how to avoid the second book slump, and Heather Jackson lists her top 10 writing tips of 2014.

To increase productivity, Alexandria Younk explains how to get rid of writing distractions and master motivation, while Benjamin Spall explores stacking habits to build a morning routine that sticks.


When you go it alone, you are a business unto yourself. Joel Freidlander shares 10 tips for aspiring authorpreneurs.

If you don’t want to go it alone, Chuck Sambuchino lists 4 ways besides query letter you can contact literary agents.

Wondering what you should write next? Publishing pro Lisa Colozza Cocca discusses the problems inherent in writing to trends.

Every author has been involved in the search for blurbs on one end or the other. Agent Jennifer Laughran has a lot to say about blurbs.

Last week’s discussion on whether free books is devaluing our writing continues as Jane Friedman weighs in on free giveaways and their usefulness.

If you have a friend with a book coming out, here are 11 ways to assist a friend in promoting their new book.


If you’ve got non-creative friends, you might want to share this with them: 8 things never to say to creative people.

Many writers listen to music when they write, but Gabe Habash explores the flip side, and lists 10 songs inspired by books.

Speaking of inspiration, meet the man who supposedly inspired Sherlock Holmes.

In honor of the 202nd anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice the New York Public Library staff selected their twelve most quotable Pride and Prejudice lines.

Barbara Wells Sarudy shows how girls flirted with books in the 18th century.

These gorgeous book covers from the Folger Shakespearean Library collection are worth flirting with.

Who needs Kindles to take a large book on your travels? Check out the Codex Rotundus from c. 1480, a Flemish book of hours that is a mere 9 centimeters across.

If you overlook Medieval marginalia, you might be missing the best parts of the manuscript. Hunter Oatman-Stanford introduces us to naughty nuns, flatulent monks, and other surprises of sacred medieval manuscripts.

That’s all for us this week!

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