Another week has rolled by, and it’s once again time for Top Picks Thursday.
The end of October is rapidly drawing near, and we’ll soon see a horde of ghosts, goblins, superheroes, princesses, and other assorted apparitions. In the spirit of the Halloween season, Elspeth Futcher asks: is your manuscript a monster? and Brenna Clarke Gray suggests 9 literary Halloween costumes from the lazy to the committed.
If you’re planning to participate in NaNoWriMo, you have little over a week left to prepare, so you might want to check out Janine Savage’s tips for getting ready for NaNoWriMo and Briana Mae Morgan’s Vlog: NaNoWriMo is coming! K. M. Weiland shares 7 ways to keep writing during NaNo when you only want to watch football, Janice Hardy gives some NaNoWriMo advice on planning your novel’s middle, and Tom Farr discusses developing your story premise for NaNoWriMo. Finally, H. E. James expounds on the glorious insanity that is NaNoWriMo.
Storms, floods, wildfires, and other disasters are in the news every week. Since you never know when a destructive act of nature may occur, it’s best to be prepared, so Robin Rivera offers bugout tips for authors. Disasters can also occur on the web. In “Raiders of the Lost Web,” Adrienne LaFrance warns that if a Pulitzer finalist’s 34-part series of investigative journalism can vanish from the Web, anything can.
If you’re weary of the solitary pursuit of writing, Cate Ellink suggests 5 reasons for writers to seek out group projects.
Getting enough sleep is a problem for a lot of us, and researchers find that reading paper books helps people get a better night’s rest. Crystal Paul recommends 11 series to read when you want a long-term commitment. (We’re thrilled to see that a series by L. A. Banks — a friend of the blog who succumbed to cancer a few years ago — made the list.)
Feeling down because of rejection letters? Matthew Weaver and Mark Brown relate how Marlon James, this year’s Man Booker prize winner, had his debut novel rejected 80 times. Speaking of Marlon, he writes a tribute to his hero Toni Morrison.
Life doesn’t make it easy for writers. Y. S. Lee discusses the importance of protecting our creative time. Courtney E. Martin muses on the ‘invisible muck of creation’ in “How the Sausage Gets Made,” while Stephanie Burgis shares her thoughts about parenting, creating, and being.
Having trouble developing interesting characters? Katie Rose Guest Pryal presents 5 steps to original character creation, and Karen A. Wyle reveals what you need to know if you’re using newbie lawyers as characters.
When it comes to the other elements of fiction, C. C. Hunter suggests adding depth to your story by putting your setting to work, and Linda Clare offers tricks for writing descriptions in first person POV. Linda Castillo writes that sometimes you have to stop and smell the research.
When you’ve finished your manuscript, Steven Gillis asserts that the art of writing is rewriting. Jody Hedlund mentions 6 ways authors over-dramatize. Chuck Wendig finds an association between the Kubler-Ross model of grief and editing and rewriting.
You’ve revised and polished your manuscript, but have you done enough? Is it finally ready for publication? Amie Gibbons has some ideas on when you are ready to publish, and Mary Elizabeth Summer gives some tips on how to get published. Michele Barrow-Belisle provides 12 reasons to publish with small publishers.
If you want to follow the traditional route and seek an agent, Janet Reid answers a question about whether typos matter in the query stage. James Scott Bell interviews Chuck Sambuchino for pointers and information about agents and the thriller market.
For those interested in self-publishing, Angela Quarles discusses the pitfalls in formatting for ebooks and what to look for in a formatter, Marcy Kennedy explains how to find and select a cover designer, and David Kudler shares a lot of tips on preparing images for your ebook. When you’re looking for new markets after your book is published, Roz Morris has information for Indie authors seeking translators for foreign language editions.
Indie publication isn’t just for those who haven’t found a traditional publisher anymore. IndieReader gives reasons why traditionally published authors are choosing to go Indie.
Both traditional and Indie authors need to work on marketing their books. Penny Sansevieri explains how to create a book that sells and a marketing plan that works (every time). Elizabeth S. Craig discusses preorders, and agent Janet Reid expresses some thoughts on swag. Kristen Runvik lists 5 tools that can double your ebook sales.
Social media should be a part of your marketing plan, but for many of us, that isn’t easy. Jane Friedman gives some pointers for those who feel like old geezers at the new social media party. Melonie Johnson provides 8 easy steps for starting your author newsletter, and Penny Sansevieri has some suggestions for authors whose Amazon reviews have disappeared.
Writing is a business and a career. Kristen Lamb suggests 3 reasons your writing career is stuck and 3 ways to fire up your writing career today. Jami Gold suggests writers have a long-term plan to avoid a dead-end career.
THE UNIQUE SHELF
Chuck Wendig presents a case for diversity, for loving instead of hating, for accepting the world as it is. Who can argue with that?
People have a continuing fascination with famous writers of the past. Josh Jones discusses 19 theories on what caused Edgar Allen Poe’s demise 166 years ago, while Alison Flood wonders if Edith Wharton’s baby rattle is worth a literary listing.
Frustration with reviews is nothing new. Here’s a pen and ink drawing done by her brother of Christina Rosetti having a tantrum after reading The Times review of her poetry in 1862. We can all empathize!
On the lighter side, Mathew Guiver provides 19 pictures that accurately describe what it’s like to finish a book and Isaac Fitzgerald presents 19 jokes all book nerds will appreciate.
To finish up for this week, Erin Chack inspires us with 11 Roald Dahl quotes that will inject a little magic into your day.
Thanks for joining us today. See you next week for another Top Picks Thursday. Enjoy the rest of the week!