Posted by: Kerry Gans | March 19, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 03-19-2015

Welcome to this week’s round-up!

Sadly, this week Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Japanese cartoonist of dark stories, died at age 79.

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away last week. Some touching tributes to him from Neil Gaiman, Keith DeCandido, Jo Walton, and Maureen Johnson.

And here are some words from Terry Pratchett himself, first on how to write, and then 15 of his best quotes.

This week’s Internet freak-out centered on sexism and writing. Author Andrew Smith, who likes to “keep YA weird,” kept YA abuzz when he gave an interview answer that some construed as sexist. Phoebe North, Tessa Gratton, and Chuck Wendig all reacted to his comment and the furor it had caused.

NFL veteran Israel Idonije talks about his comic book series.


When you’re building your story idea, Sharon Pelletier reminds us that we need The Thing and The Other Thing.

Once we start putting down the words, Linda Clare shows us how to avoid vague words in our writing.

Characters are the meat of the story. David Farland discusses characters, Sara Letourneau shows how mirror characters can illustrate literary themes, and Kristin Lamb explains the difference between “flawed” characters and “too dumb to live.”

When we finish writing, we need feedback. Chuck Wendig gives us 10 tips on making the most out of a writing critique, and Janet Reid explains when it’s a better idea to write an all-new book rather than revise or expand your current edition.

Sometimes we have a bad day. Donald Miller tells us how to feel good about a bad day of writing, and Martina Boone shares the one secret to unlocking the heart of your story.

There are emotional hurdles to writing, as well. Jami Gold explores getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, and Sarah Enni tells us to try something radical: accept help.


Good news for children’s authors: numbers are way up in children’s book sales for 2014.

If you’re on the fence about making your book into an audiobook, Genevieve Holpepper explains the many audiences audiobooks reach—and how powerful audiobooks are.

Not everyone gets a deal with the Big 5 publishers, but there are many other routes to publication today. Eliot Peper discusses the pros and cons of going with a small press, Joel Friedlander gives 4 pathways to publishing without a traditional publisher, Nathan Bransford lists 7 questions to ask before you self-publish, and Darcy Pattison explains how to self-publish children’s picture books.

If you’re trying to get an agent, Ash Krafton shows how to write a personalized query letter, Jane Lebak shares laughably bad rejections, and Kim English explains why you aren’t getting requests.

Manuscript pitch websites claim to be a shortcut to getting an agent. Victoria Strauss investigates if literary agents actually use manuscript pitch sites.

Marketing has many facets. Jason Kong shows what the art of storytelling can teach us about marketing, Tom Corson Knowles explains how podcasts can help you market, and Carmen DeSousa asks the question: are book covers really that important?


Vermont’s 35-year-old Bennington Bookshop now has new owners.

Laura Miller makes the argument that we are all genre readers now, so can we stop the “pixies ad dragons” vs. literary fiction wars?

Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about the tilde, ampersand, and asterisk.

That’s all from us this week!

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