Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 4, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 06-04-2015

Welcome to this week’s round-up of links for writers. June has arrived, and summer vacation is just around the corner. Many of us need to change our writing schedules for the summer, so Sue Bradford Edwards has some thoughts on summer writing.

Book Expo America (BEA) has just closed its doors. For a peek inside the massive Javitz Center in NYC, here are Jael McHenry and agent Marie Lamba sharing what they learned there.

A year later, #WeNeedDiverseBooks has left its mark on BookCon—but there is more work to be done, as can be seen in this study that shows that books about women are less likely to win prizes.

We love our libraries, but we all know libraries are often under funding pressure these days. Amein Essif explores why libraries matter even more in the age Google, Thomas Frey discusses the future of libraries, Fritz Hoffman shows how libraries provide a quiet place for California’s homeless, there is a petition to tell Mayor de Blasio to invest in NYC libraries, and Ed Patrick examines online privacy and the role of library/information professionals in online privacy.

And if any of us actually need reasons to add to our “To Be Read” pile, Jarry Lee gives us 26 reasons why you need to read more—as told by people at BEA. What books to read? Check out the Big Books at BEA—Adult Big Books and Children’s Big Books.


We all get story ideas—usually when we’re in the middle of another project! Alex Limberg shares 6 tips on what to do with those great writing ideas, Melissa Donovan has tips for developing story ideas, and Nina Amir shows 5 ways to get early feedback on your book idea or manuscript.

Every good story has tension—conflict or unanswered questions that make us keep turning the pages. Kristen Kieffer tells us how to rock your story’s tension, Linda S. Clare lists tips to keep tension taut, and Mark Alpert demonstrates how to build up mystery.

Tension aside, compelling characters also keep readers engaged. Shawn Griffith shows how to give your characters some character, Writers Write lists 123 ideas for character flaws, Janice Hardy gives us a trick for writing subtext in dialogue, Dianne K. Salerni discusses writing in a child’s voice, and Kristen Lamb advises how to choose the best point of view (POV) for your story.

We creatives have unique minds. Kelly Links asks if we are using daytime logic or nighttime logic when we write, while Jade Varden warns us that a wild imagination isn’t always a good thing.

Sometimes our brains get us hopelessly stuck, creatively speaking. Jane Lebak recommends finding some “pure craft” pastime to get unstuck, Kathy Weyer explains how to clean your clogged writing pipes, Roz Morris shows a way to beat writer’s block, and Drew Chial tells how to write when your back’s against the wall.

We all have room for improvement. Todd Hasak-Lowy explores how to become a better writer, Susan K. Perry lists 52 terrific tips for writing better, and Dawn Lairamore reminds us of the power of a good verb.

Teresa Tysinger shares 5 things she’s learned from her critique group, Fiona Quinn interviews scriptwriter-turned-novelist Jim Morris, Susan G. Weidener explores the current state of literary fiction, and Jane Friedman discusses the age-old cynicism shown young writers.


Different publishing paths are increasingly fluid and interconnecting. Jane Friedman examines whether self-publishing is a good springboard to traditional publishing. If you are self-publishing your book, Jami Gold explains how to format from manuscript to print book with MS Word.

Many authors market their books at conventions. Eloise J. Knapp lays out the convention basics for authors. Pricing is one of the variables to selling your book. Writer’s Circle shows us how to price your work on Amazon—which brings us to the ever-present controversy over how much an ebook is worth.

Whether for a query or for marketing, you need a pitch. Agent Erin Young details how to create a captivating pitch.

Chuck Sambuchino has gathered agent wisdom into a blog post covering many topics, including what it means when an agent says, “This isn’t right for me.”

We authors are the brand, so we get to define the brand. Jami Gold examines your brand’s voice—is it quiet or loud? We all need platform, and Neil Wooten advises if you don’t have a platform, borrow one.

An author website is essential to your marketing plan. Stuart Horwitz tells us how to create a website without it costing an arm and a leg, while Joel Friedlander explains why an email list is such a vital tool and how to build your email list.


Writers love to read, but how can you tell when you’ve taken your love of books too far? Summer Anne Burton shares 25 signs you’re addicted to books.

If you’re looking for something to read, check out 50 great books for kids to read this summer, or Sharon Gosling’s top 10 children’s steampunk books, or maybe the book that saved David Nicholls.

If that’s not enough, Lisa Parkin introduces 7 new badass YA heroines for you to love, while 6 authors revisit what they learned about sex, puberty, and writing from Judy Blume’s classics.

Michael Lieberman takes a look at Presidents and their libraries.

Alan White examines the strange case of the Philip Larkin poem that was not written by Philip Larkin.

That’s all for this week!


  1. Thanks for including a few of our blog posts in your list today. Now I’m off to check out some of the other blogs you’ve included. : )


    • You’re welcome! Keep posting the great advice. 🙂


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