Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 2, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 04-02-2015

Welcome to our weekly links round-up!

April is National Poetry Month! Any poets might want to participate in Writer’s Digest’s Poetic Asides PAD (poem a day) Challenge.

How many times have we wanted to use song lyrics in our stories, but got scared off by the copyright issues? Attorney Helen Sedwick tells us how to use lyrics without paying a fortune or a lawyer.

It’s always nice to hear good things about book stores. In Hoboken, 3 residents open the city’s first new bookstore in a decade, while New Jersey’s Sparta Books celebrates 50 years in business.

We always knew libraries were sanctuaries, but now it’s official: every library in Seattle is now a designated “Safe Place” for teens.

In an age where Common Core stresses reading non-fiction over fiction, many studies show that reading literature makes us smarter and more empathetic, male science fiction authors discuss the women writers who influenced them, and Middle Grade Strikes Back talks about the lasting impact of children’s books.

Book Goodies wants to know what readers think about a myriad of topics. Check out the Book Goodies readers’ survey and make your opinion known.

By now most of us have heard of the Clean Reader app, and have formed our opinion. If you haven’t, Chuck Wendig has some examples of what the Clean Reader app does, Joanne Harris blasts the app for its lack of author consent (among other things), and Jonathon Sturgeon wonders if this is the open salvo in a new age of censorship.


Every writer has their own process. Martina Boone gets started by writing a “discovery draft” rather than an outline. Then Vicki Hinze thickens the plot with her own recipe. Finally, Mary Vee tells us how to write the perfect ending.

Writing a successful story means perfecting so many craft items. Posey of Cool Cats Writers shares 10 tips to write stronger sentences, Mary Kole warns of the dangers of generic description, Fiona Quinn wants us to get swordplay details right, L.Z. Marie lists the real comma rules, and Mary Buckham shows us how to be a better hooker (in writing).

Kristin A. Kieffer tells us how to write a world-changing mentor character, Cheryl Klein reminds us not to let mechanics trump overarching story dynamics when revising, and Roz Morris explains how writer’s block unlocked her character’s secret and why killing your darlings is a mark of writing maturity.

We’re all searching for a way to write faster and better. Marcy McKay has 11 writing tips that will change your life, Rachel Funk Heller lists 8 tips on writing faster—and why you should try it, and Kama Sucharan Burri gives us 5 weird writing hacks that actually work.

We don’t all write novels, so Amy Paturel shares 8 common mistakes to avoid when writing a personal essay. When we do write fiction, Tania James explores what you gain by seeing the world through different eyes. And sometimes, we write with no desire to be published. Jody Hedlund reminds all writers why it’s perfectly okay not to pursue publication.

Sometimes, we can be overwhelmed by To-Do lists and emotional pressure. Olivia J. Herrell says the key to getting to your writing goals is commitment, a plan, and time to get it done, while Katie M. John shares what to do when you feel like everybody is doing better than you.

The Muse can be fickle. Katharine Grub reveals the secret of getting your writing unstuck, Monica Leonelle discusses a simple process for beating writer’s block, and Jacqui Be shares the top 5 creative writing tips for the creatively challenged.


Coming soon to a sky near you: Amazon wins approval to test delivery drones outdoors.

Are you searching for an agent? Peter Hogenkamp lays out the 5 essential steps to getting an agent, and Stina Lindenblatt answers several odds and ends about queries.

You can also pitch agents in person at conferences. Michelle Chouinard gives tips for facing your first pitch-o-rama. If you want to use the email route, check out Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s Twitter lists of Kidlit/YA editors and Kidlit/YA agents.

Rejection is a part of every author’s life. Even the most famous authors got truly scathing rejection letters. So don’t fret—you’re in good company.

If you are confused about a marketing strategy, Jennifer Fusco describes several marketing strategies to choose from. Since much marketing is done on social media, Jane Friedman explains her social media philosophy.

Marketing screenplays is a little different than marketing novels. Screenwriter Michael Stagliano discusses how to market screenplays.

There are many different marketing tools: Shelley Sturgeon discusses Dropcards for ebooks, Frances Caballo talks about podcasting for authors, and Jane Friedman lays out the essential author website components.

No matter how much you market, sometimes your books don’t end up in bookstore. Brooke Warner lists 5 reasons why your book isn’t being carried in bookstores.


A pub in England unveils a new sign dedicated to Terry Pratchett and Discworld.

The two rules of writing in one simple photo, and an infographic of tips for author photos.

Scientists in Spain are searching for the remains of Don Quixote author Cervantes. That first link is from January 2015. The Wall Street Journal has a more recent article, but it requires a subscription to read more than the first few paragraphs.

Want to make a statement with your book? Check out this gallery of marbled paper to use on the inside covers of your books.

Learn about the over 200 Irish manuscripts in the British Library.

That’s all for this week! Happy April!


  1. There is a huge amount of good reading here…life it!! Thank you again for the mention and best of luck with your endeavours.


    • Hmm I think I ment…love it 😉


    • We love finding new voices! Thanks for sharing your advice.


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