Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | August 13, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 08-13-2015

Hi! Welcome to The Author Chronicles blog. Thanks for checking out this week’s Top Picks Thursday.

With August almost half over, how is your summer reading going? Are you concentrating on classics from a summer reading list or enjoying light beach reading? Jami Gold wonders if you’ve ever had anyone shame you for your reading choices. Big Al discusses whether readers want series or standalones, while Jamie takes a look at perception vs reality in our online book community and beyond.

Not every reader will appreciate an author’s work. When a parent declared Some Girls Are (which was selected as an ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults title and a Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers) is “smut” and “trash,” the school removed it from school’s summer reading list. Author Courtney Summers responds.

Also in the realm of young adult literature, Dahlia Adler considers how damaging heteronormativity can be in YA, and Rob Bittner discusses violence in LGBTIQ fiction for young adults.

Despite the increase in e-publishing, libraries remain important to readers and writers. Deborah Fallows provides an interesting look at how libraries are changing, with ideas like putting books on school buses and reaching out to new moms.

Peter Bebergal reports on Nebula Award winning author Samuel Delany’s comments about the past and future of science fiction, while Andrew Albanese wonders if Bryan Stevenson’s speech accepting the Andrew Carnegie Award for Excellence in Nonfiction might be the best book award acceptance speech ever.

Feral kitten we just adopted.

Feral kitten we just adopted.

Were you as thrilled as we were about Dr. Suess’s new book? Jarry Lee tells us that Random House Children’s Books has started a social media campaign supporting the ASPCA to celebrate the book. What a great idea!

Romantic elements can be found in all genres, but David Corbett wonders why so few platonic friendships between men and women can be found in literature or other media.

If you enjoy visuals, Isabelle Sudron presents the 17 best infographics for writers.


How do you start your writing day? Do you have trouble getting started? Terri Windling relates her “ritual of approach.” Diane Holcomb asks if you are too busy to start rewriting your novel and offers some solutions.

Need some help with your writing? Chuck Wendig lists 100 random storytelling tips and thoughts. Several other bloggers offer writing tips and advice. Karim Dimechkie lists 7 things he’s learned about writing, and Laurel Garver discusses how to channel writerly frustration. Barbara Baid discusses becoming a better writer by not writing.

Words are a writer’s medium for conveying story. Barbara Baig delineates 3 qualities of masterful word choice.

Just how important is a name? Jennifer Moss asks if you are making these 5 mistakes in character naming, while Donald Maass discusses the effectiveness of using feelings without names.

The plot is a key element in any novel. Jody Hedlunds suggests 4 steps for turning plot ideas into a novel, Janice Hardy discusses the three-point structure for plotting, and Cathy Yardley offers pointers on how to craft a page-turning plot.

When the manuscript revisions are finished, many writers turn to beta readers for comments. Linnea Ren discusses her experiences as a beta reader and what authors don’t want to (but need to) hear.


Now that your manuscript is ready for submission, Matt Toffolo gives tips for writing the best logline and synopsis for your story/screenplay.

For those looking for an agent, Jacqui Murray gives 16 query tips from literary agents, and Adrienne deWolfe lets us in on what literary agents won’t tell you. Agent Kate McKean urges writers not to stop trying to find an agent because it’s hard, and Angela Ackerman recommends making your own luck as a writer.

Shannon Deaton considers what to do after a story is rejected.

Sarah Fox lists lessons learned on the way to publication, and Warren Adler discusses confronting bad book reviews. James Scott Bell also offers some advice to traditionally published authors.

Not all writers are interested in traditional publishing. If you’re uncertain which path to take, Margaret Madigan discusses the burning question — to self-pub or not to self-pub, and Jami Gold asks those interested in Indie publishing paths if they know their goals.

Angela Christina Archer discusses types of businesses authors can set up.

Effective use of social media is important to writers. Anne R. Allen explains why social media is still your best path to book visibility. Jody Hedlund gives 5 easy tips for driving Pinterest traffic to your author blog or website. Jeff Goins specifies 5 types of platform personalities and asks you to consider what type is right for you.

When you are marketing your book, Sharon Bially gives tips on nailing your email subject line for effective promotion, and Penny C. Sansevieri discusses the best way for writers to use Amazon’s preorder feature. Of course, it helps if you have a famous spouse. Steven Levingston describes how Tracey Stewart discovered the power of a book plug by her husband Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

How does a writer evaluate the success of book sales? John Scalzi gives a breakdown of how his latest novel did and what the numbers mean in a changing industry.

News from the publishing industry: Claire Kirch tells how Cottage Door Press tries a new approach to selling books for the youngest readers, and Jim Milliot reports that sales are down but profits are up at Simon & Schuster.


The Vocabularist explores the peculiar names of punctuation marks.

See what happens when Dilbert writes a novel.

Take the quiz — can you identify these classic novels by their closing lines? — from FangirlingDaily.

Nancy Tinker tells how Thomas Hughes, author of Tom Brown’s School Days, also founded the idyllic town of Rugby, Tennessee, as a social experiment.

Emily Bowles gives a brief history of Dickens bashing.

Manchester University launches largest-ever online collection of the work of Victorian author Elizabeth Gaskell.

Jamilah King writes an article on the assumption of whiteness in Harry Potter and Hermione’s skin color, with an amazing array of fan art.

Cece Bell tells how she made her beautiful graphic novel El Deafo.

In the Harvard Gazette, Colleen Walsh reports that a newly discovered manuscript reveals what Thoreau learned about Margaret Fuller’s tragic drowning.

Most of the 600 pages of Darwin’s original version of “On the Origin of Species” manuscript have been lost, but not the 65 pages his children used for doodling. You never know what might come from kids’ artistic endeavors!

If you haven’t read it yet, check out our interview with agent Eric Smith from P. S. Literary.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. See you next week!


  1. Thanks for sharing my post! 🙂


  2. Thanks for including my post!


    • You’re welcome, Sarah. You made some valid points that are worth sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

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