Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 2, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 07-02-2015

Welcome to our first links round-up of July! The Fourth of July is just days away, and we wish our American readers a safe and happy celebration.

Diversity in writing is often lacking, but here are some Native American superheroes taking comic books by storm. In other diversity stories, we have talked about white-washing covers, but author Tess Sharpe experienced straight-washing of her bisexual character.

The latest “disturbance in the Force” in the publishing world is the new payment schedules adopted by Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. Ciara Ballintyne explains the benefits to the new Kindle Unlimited payment scheme, while Chuck Wendig discusses other ways to “fix” the problems Kindle Unlimited faced.

The blog Middle Grade Strikes Back has added a new feature spotlighting illustrators. The first MGSB Sketchbook focuses on Chris Riddell.

LifeHacker shares an infographic showing how long it takes to read popular children’s books. Maybe the kids can read while they eat: many Brooklyn Public Library locations are offering daily cold lunches for kids.


When we begin a new project, we have many issues to consider. Foremost might be what genre we want to write in. Steve Laub discusses if and why genre still matters today. Second, we need to know who the story is about. Kristen A. Kieffer tells us how to choose a main character. Finally, we need to figure out how to most effectively tell the story. Rob Hart gives us 3 steps to a bulletproof novel outline.

Getting our characters and their POV right is always tricky. Roz Morris shares 3 signs that your novel has too many characters and what to do about it, Jen Matera discusses character consistency, and Janice Hardy brings us 5 ways POV can make you a better writer.

When writing characters, you need to get the details right. Benjamin Sobieck has 10 errors to avoid when writing about guns, and Roz Morris tells us how to write dialogue that’s convincing and full of life.

Writing groups can be wonderfully supportive places to improve your craft and ease writerly isolation. However, as Jennie Nash reminds us, writing groups have dangers, too, so we should go in with eyes open. Even with writer support groups, sometimes it seems like the writing never gets easier, but K.M. Weiland has 3 ways to make writing your novel easier.

We all search for inspiration. Ruth Harris has 11 tips for care and feeding of your Muse, Belle Wong describes rethinking her use of Morning Pages, Claire King discusses how publishing a novel will change your life, and Dan Blank shares a complete list of creative distractions and defenses against them.

Ever want to turn your book into an audiobook? Linda Holmes looks at the art of the audiobook and how they have evolved since they first came out.


It seems to be getting harder and harder to make money as an author these days. Kristen Pope explores how one writer used crowdfunding to raise $12,775 in 30 days, and Brian White of Fireside discusses the radical idea that authors need to eat, too.

We all know that writing is an art but publishing is a business. It is the business side of things that we authors often struggle with. Helen Sedwick discusses if authors should incorporate themselves.

We hear much marketing advice about branding ourselves and how to reach readers. Janet Kobobel Grant explains how an author gets branded, and Jason Kong highlights the email marketing trap fiction writers must avoid.

Blogs and our author website form the backbone of many of our marketing efforts. Jane Freidman shows how to choose the right WordPress theme for you, while Joel Freidlander shows how to leap from blogger to book author.

Think blogging can’t help your career? Kevin Duncan shows how to write blog comments that get you noticed, and Dorit Sasson tells us how writers can use strategic blogging to find readers.


In an age where we are seeing more and more kick-butt female characters, we can all take lessons from…Jane Austen? Julia Seales shares 10 lessons from Jane Austen on how to be a badass.

Writing Steampunk? Lauren Davis brings us real-life gadgets perfect for a Victorian Era James Bond.

If you are getting older (like me) or just have bad eyes, take a peek at these 10 gadgets to help you better see what you’re working on.

Zombies seem to have taken over the world these days, but they are not a modern phenomenon. Ancient Greeks used various methods to make sure the undead would not rise again.

That’s all for us this week! Have a fun and safe 4th of July, America!


  1. Some great links thanks Kerry


  2. Thanks for mentioning my article on writing guns!


    • You’re welcome, and thanks for the great article! We all want to get the details right.


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