Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 28, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 05-28-2015

Welcome to our final links round-up in May! Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer, and many of us are looking forward to true summer.

SCBWI announced the 2015 Crystal Kite Award winners.

If you thought creating an audiobook was out of your reach, Wise, Ink lays out the basics of ACX for authors.

We all struggle with writing for free—is it ever a good idea? The Authors Guild weighs in on contributing online articles for free.

No one denies that publishing is in need of diversity. Saeed Jones discusses what it feels like to be a young, black, gay poet in the publishing world, while Shannon Hale seeks to diversify readers as she shares more articles about boys reading (or not reading) “girl” books.

Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney opened his own bookstore in his hometown.

How’s this for an environmentally-friendly publisher? Publisher Pequeno Editor has released a book that can be planted to become a tree when you’re finished.


With summer upon us, many of us face changes to our writing schedules. Jessi Lewis discusses the perils of writing your novel in the summer and how to cope. Any season, Laurel Garver suggests journaling to brainstorm your fiction.

If you are just beginning your novel, choose your genre wisely, make sure your novel hits a primal resonance, and decide whether to start the story with action or character.

Once writing, we all want our novels to say something. K.M Weiland discusses the 5 necessary factors for writing weighty fiction, while Jenny Bent talks about common mistakes in manuscripts.

Where do our characters come from? Renée Knight wonders if our claim that any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental is actually true. David Wisehart explores 9 fundamental fears that motivate your characters.

Editing is so important to making your good book great. Julie Musil talks about moving from the creative brain to the analytical brain, and how to use spreadsheets to analyze your book. Allison VanNest lists 12 easy ways to become a better writer—for business or pleasure, while agent Eric Myers explains why getting your punctuation right before submitting is essential.

Much of our writing life is emotional. Jami Gold explores what it means when we quit writing—does it have to mean quitting forever? Caroline McGraw shows us how to face our fears and write, no matter what.

Tom Bentley reminds us that a writer’s eyes are always open, while Jade Varden shows that sometimes we need to keep our creativity open by writing more than one book at a time.

We can learn a lot from our fellow authors, but that’s not the only perk in talking to them. Jason Kong discusses 10 reasons why you should interview your fellow fiction authors, Thomas Lennon shares 6 truths about failing better, Hunter S. Jones shows how research creates the magic of the story, and Chuck Wendig explores how Mad Max: Fury Road defies all the rules and works anyway.


Many authors get caught up in the traditional vs. self-publishing debate. There is another option—a hybrid publisher. But, as Jane Friedman points out, not all hybrid publishers are created equal.

Google Play’s publisher program has shut down in the wake of massive pirating issues.

Before you publish, Nina Amir lists 4 things you need before you publish your book, and Jody Hedlund shares the key to knowing if you’re ready for publication.

Anthologies are hard to sell to publishers. Margaret McMullan explains how to get an anthology published. Science fiction apparently does sell—at least for one author. John Scalzi signs a $3.4 million deal for 13 books.

If you’re seeking an agent, Chuck Sambuchino asks agents what makes a “dream client,” Janet Reid answers if we should query during book fairs, agent Monika Woods of Inkwell Management seeks literary fiction, commercial fiction, historical fiction, memoir, and some non-fiction, and Dena Pawling explains how to write the dreaded brief synopsis.

Put social media to work for you. Frances Caballo tells us why authors need a Facebook Page, Nina Amir shares the 1 reason why you should blog, and Vinita Zutshi explains how to best edit your blog posts. Jami Gold explains how guest posting can help us, and Kathryn Lilley warns us that Internet fame doesn’t always drive book sales.


A newly-discovered image reported to be a contemporary drawing of William Shakespeare is hailed as the “literary discovery of the century.”…

…except for historians like Matthew Ward, who say it’s clearly not Shakespeare because it is Francis Drake. Who do you believe?

Elon Green explores the curious and admittedly strange case of Edgar Allen Poe’s hair clippings.

Examine how the Napoleonic Wars left a long legacy in literature and song for the British people.

That’s all for us this week—and for the month of May! See you in June!

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