Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 16, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 04-16-2015

DSCN1247Spring has finally found the Northeast! Ahh, warmth!

It’s already mid-April (did you get your taxes filed?), and it’s time to celebrate National Library Week, April 12-18th. We love our libraries! All authors should, as John Rudolph explores the connection between libraries and discoverability.

Have you ever wondered if there’s an age where you should just give up the dream of writing for publication? John Yeoman answers the question, “Am I too old to write a bestseller?”

Writers are often at the forefront of social movements. Ingo Schulze explains why 1,000 European authors are standing up for refugees’ rights. Meanwhile, Robin B. has results of a survey on YA book covers and gender, and Nikki Grimes wonders when African-American characters will be seen as universal characters.

Terry Pratchett’s final Discworld novel releases in September.

The idea of a pen name always engenders lively debate. Kristen Lamb examines when you need a pen name—and why you likely don’t.


Pacing is that intangible quality that keeps readers turning the pages. Amanda Patterson lists the 4 most important things to remember about pacing. Many things impact pacing, particularly flashbacks and backstory. Janice Hardy has tips for writing flashbacks, and Linda Clare describes how the rule of 3 can help writers avoid backstory slump.

Keeping the reader engaged makes a bestseller. Stavros Halvatzis shows how to invoke curiosity to catch readers, and Mia Botha lists 5 ways to make your reader care.

Our antagonist must be worthy of our protagonist. Kristen A. Kieffer breaks down how to create a powerful antagonist. One way to strengthen our antagonist and expand our story is to utilize the power of the shadow story, as James Scott Bell explains.

The setting can be a powerful force in your story. Martina Boone explores using POV to create a memorable setting in your work. If your setting is in the legal world, Jim Steinberg has some tips for pushing boundaries to create believable scenes and characters.

If you want to write funny, Michael McDonagh shares the secret of writing humor.

Once you’re done writing, you need readers to give you feedback. Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas lay out how to manage the beta reading process. You also need editors. Jami Gold discusses what kind of editors we need.

Ann Packer shares 5 writing tips, Cara Lopez Lee examines what she learned from world-class novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, and Marie Lamba discusses writing and agenting.

We all wish to be more productive. Jami Gold explains what to do when you are drowning in To-Do Lists, Ryan Holiday tells us the strategies that helped him write 3 books in 3 years, and for when the pressure really gets to us, Barbara Claypole White shares 10 reasons to love being a novelist.

Jen Matera shows how to learn what you know in order to write what you know, Ann Lamott explores finding meaning in a crazy world, and Jeff Goins tells us how to lead a portfolio career.


John A. Sellers and Diane Roback take us inside the publishing trends at Bologna 2015.

For those writing non-fiction, agent Jane Dystel explains the importance of getting the non-fiction book proposal right before it gets to the editors.

If you want an agent, and get an offer of representation, attorney Kathryn Goldman explains what should be in the agency contract you sign. If you don’t have an agent and are selling stories on your own, Jane Lebak explains how to take care of your rights in a contract with a publication.

Here are 2 agents looking for clients: Jesse Finkelstein of Transatlantic Literary is looking for nonfiction. Kurestin Armada of P.S. Literary is looking for Magic Realism, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Alternative History, Historical Fiction, LGBTQ (any genre), select Young Adult and Middle Grade, Graphic Novels, Mystery (including mystery with elements of SF/F), and Romance. In nonfiction, she is looking for Design, Cooking, Pop Psychology, Humour, Narrative, Photography, and Pop Science.

Also, agent Sara Megibow is spotlighted on the NYC Writers Network blog and talks queries and ideal clients.

If self-publishing is more your style, Robert Kroese has some self-publishing advice.

Self-published or traditional, you need a book blurb and a synopsis. Melissa Tagg lays out 3 tips for writing a great book blurb, while Drew Chial explains how to turn a complex story into a simple synopsis.

When it comes to marketing, methods are always changing. Phil Simon explores one way publishers are experimenting with new distribution methods, Laura Fredericks gives us 6 tips for effective online book promotion, and Robin Houghton answers the question “To blog or not to blog?” with her 10 reasons for authors to blog.


In case you’ve ever wondered, Jeremy Varner has the fascinating answer to why elves and dwarves are rivals.

Writers Relief examines the power of children’s literature and the books that deeply impacted their lives.

It sounds like a movie, but it’s not. Grad student Myriah Williams finds a mystery message in the Medieval Welsh Black Book of Carmarthen.

That’s all for us this week!


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