Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 23, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 04-23-2015

Welcome to our weekly links round up!

Prizes abound! The 2015 Pulitzer Prizes came out, as did the 2014 Spark Awards for Indie Authors. Also the finalists for the 2015 Indie Choice Book Awards and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards were announced.

Nobel-winning German novelist Günter Grass has died at age 87.

Perhaps you have been following the Hugo Awards/Sad Puppies debacle closely, or maybe you know something’s going on but aren’t quite sure what. Arthur Chu explains the whole conflict cogently, while George R.R. Martin demolishes the Sad Puppies’ complaints, and Kameron Hurley bemoans the movement to oppose diversity in the Hugo Awards.

The Hugo Awards are not alone in this apparent backlash against increasing diversity. Swapna Krishna discusses criticism and diversity in comics as well.

We all know that book reviews are important. NetGalley lays out why they matter and how to write a good review, while Victoria Strauss tells us that Amazon is suing fake review services in an effort to clean up their reviews.

Almost every published writer has been approached by a newbie writer and asked to blurb or review their book. Erika Mitchell explains what to do in that awkward moment.

Kas Thomas has the low down on whether writing can make you healthier, and authors E.E. Charlton-Trujillo and Carrie Gordon Watson hope to improve the lives of teens by giving teens a safe place to speak up online with their If Only Someone Knew site.


We tend to talk most about novels here, but here is information for people writing other types of writing: Dan Peacock lists the top 10 tips for writing novellas, Marianne Knightly shares 5 basics of series writing, and book designer Joel Friedlander has created templates for use in making self-published poetry books.

We can sabotage our story if we’re not careful. Kristin Lamb gives us 5 ways to kill a perfectly good story, and Heather Jackson reminds us to use internal conflict as well as external to engage the reader.

Getting the details right is important. Debby Harris shares ideas for handling exposition, Eileen Cook lists 6 tips for improving dialogue, and Delilah S. Dawson has 25 tips for writing violence.

Writing should be clear and concise. Allison VanNest gives us 6 tips for rewording sentences and Kristin Lamb lists 10 ways to tighten your writing and hook the reader.

Editing is a major part of the writing process. Emmy Favilla brings us the pet peeves of 30 copy editors, and Benjamin Lancaster shares 5 tips on editing another writer’s work.

Writing “The End” is not the end of work for your book. Alex J. Cavanaugh explains what happens after the book is finished, Monica Tesler shows how book covers are designed, and James Scott Bell gives the ingredients to make readers lust after your book.

Writers are often visionaries. Chinese science fiction writer Liu Cixin explores his ideas, and Toni Morrison shares her radical vision.

We often need to overcome both inner and outer obstacles to writing in order to succeed. Roz Morris lists 6 tips on how to keep writing when time is scarce, and Lia Louis discusses the lies writers tell themselves that can derail their dream.


In today’s world, there are many paths to publishing. Jane Friedman updates her Publishing Paths infographic to help you decide which path (or paths) is right for you.

The publishing world sees the decline in print sales level off as migration to ebooks stabilizes and the ebook market matures.

If you are interested in agents, Janet Reid explains what to do if you should encounter an agent in a social situation such as a conference. Meanwhile, agent Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary is looking for more YA this spring—horror, magic realism, a break-up story, LGBTQ characters + more.

With the rise of self-publishing, Mike Shatzkin and others examine ways the author/publisher marketing collaboration should change.

We authors have to do a large share of our own marketing. Bill Ferris gives an amusing account of how to plan your own book tour, Wise Ink shares the definitive guide to pricing your book, and Jason Kong explains how to use an anthology as a powerful marketing tool.


The English language keeps evolving. The Oxford Dictionary added many words last year, including “mahoosive”, “lolcat” and “MAMIL” (Middle-Aged Man In Lycra).

Scott Laming looks at the worst children in literature, while Jenny Kawecki examines the most embarrassing parents in YA.

Letters of Note brings us Eudora Welty, aged 23, applying for a job at the New Yorker in 1933.

Best known as the creator of Wonder Woman, William Marston also wrote vintage pulp fiction with a lurid cover to match.

In the era before Liquid Paper, how do you correct a misprint in a 16th century book?

That’s all for us this week!


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