Posted by: Kerry Gans | March 24, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers and Writers 03-24-2016

Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of Spring! Oh, wait…

Snowfall on the first day of spring in the Author Chronicles' hometown

A snowy first day of Spring!

Now that winter has had its last gasp, let’s get back to the work of writing!

First, Booker Prize-winning author Anita Brookner dies at age 87.

Award season has begun! Check out the 2016 Golden Kite Award, Sid Fleischman Award and Lee Bennett Hopkins Award winners, and take a peek at the 2016 Carnegie Medal longlist—in pictures.

Increasing diversity is an issue in publishing today. Alyssa Cole takes a look at the economic impact of non-diverse romance and the “quality problem”. Corinne Duyvis tackles disability metaphors in sci-fi and fantasy, while Ava Jae, Andrea Shettle, and Logan W. discuss fictional disabilities.

Carol Fragale-Brill explains why we should reconsider the way we review books.


We all have so many ideas, it can be hard to pick one to work on. Martina Boone has 8 questions to determine what to work on next.

Everyone’s creative process is different. Some people need a title before they can write. David Lubar shares lessons learned on choosing book titles. Some people need to outline. K.M. Weiland lists 7 steps to creating a flexible outline for any story.

Sometimes a project calls for more than one writer. K.M. Hodge discusses what you need to think about when considering co-writing.

One thing you need to know before you start writing is what genre and style you’re using. Victorine E. Lieske explains the elements of a romance novel, Marie Mutsuki Mockett explores how fairy tales differ from Japan to America, and Deborah Patterson has 10 tips on how to write like William Shakespeare.

There are certain qualities our writing needs to engage the reader. Janice Hardy shows how to maintain believability in our writing, and Joe Moore explains the difference between action vs. suspense.

While many factors go into a story that readers can’t put down, compelling characters is a major one. Michelle Hoover discusses the duplicity of a character’s desire, and Marcy Kennedy shows how deep POV can create a page-turner.

After the writing comes the editing. K.M. Weiland share 5 (more) ways to trim your book’s word count, and Victoria Strauss shows us how freelance editors get paid, so we can avoid getting scammed. To help us edit other writers’ work, Jami Gold has 4 tips for beta reading outside our genre.

There’s plenty of advice out there, most of it well-meaning and much of it very helpful, but sometimes advice hardens into “rules.” Kit Alloway myth-busts some favorite craft of writing “rules”. One such “rule” is that a writer needs to write every day. Maggie Hall discusses how productive procrastination can help the writing process, while E.J. Wenstrom takes the other side and shows how to tap into writing mode anywhere, anytime, to make the most of our time.

Sometimes the writing journey comes with unexpected life lessons. Ellie Holmes explains why she’s paying it forward in self-publishing, and Heather Lende discusses what writing about death taught her about life.

We all want to find success (however we define it) in our writing life. Larry Brooks shares 10 myths that sabotage unsuspecting writers, Roni Loren gives us 5 lesser known but useful apps, and Jami Gold reminds us to be kind to ourselves because no matter how thin we stretch ourselves, we cannot do it all.


Jane Friedman shares 4 lessons on the current state of publishing, and A.B. Keuser tells us how to set the right publishing expectations.

Jody Hedlund examines whether traditional and indie publication can live as friendly neighbors, while Beth Buelow explains the strengths and weaknesses of being an introvert entrepreneur.

If you are querying, there may be times you are unavailable. Agent Janet Reid has a solution to querying when you might be unreachable.

Marketing is as much art as science. Anne R. Allen reminds us that there is no single right way to market—and we should be wary of those who claim there is. Judith Briles shows us how to cope if we are scheduled for an appearance and something dreadfully unexpected happens.

Much of our marketing today involves social media. Frances Caballo lists 11 reasons why indie authors need social media (and how to get it right), Penny Sansevieri tells us how to maximize a Goodreads giveaway, and Mark Gillespie explains how and why to set up an Amazon author page. In the end, Frances Caballo reminds us that social media is simple: just be where your readers are.


David Reuther recalls some anecdotes about Beverly Cleary.

Language is wonderfully evocative. Here’s 6 Irish words for people you don’t like, a Swedish nursery will teach a rare Viking-era language to its preschoolers, and Alex Wheatle invents new language for his new books.

The Brontë sisters continue to fascinate. Catherine Lowell shares life lessons from the Brontë sisters, while Charlotte Cory presents Charlotte Brontë in Babylon—a radio drama charting the writer’s 5 visits to London.

Think the Victorians had no sense of humor? Researchers are digging up Victorian-era jokes.

Hugh Schofield follows the story of investors conned into buying rare manuscripts. Or were they?

Why fictional detectives can’t go on vacation; a fashionable bookcase from 1814; why Britain has such bizarre place names.

Do werewolves only exist in fiction? Read about Georgia’s werewolf, Emily Isabella Burt.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Enjoy the spring!

Yellow Welcome banner with ladybugs at the Author Chronicles' headquarters

Welcome to the Author Chronicles! Please come visit again!

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