Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | April 14, 2016

Top Picks Thursday: For Readers and Writers 04-14-2016

purple-leaf plum - The Author Chronicles - Top Picks Thursday

Purple-leaf plum.

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday roundup. Hard to believe we’re halfway through the month, especially when we’re still receiving frost warnings. Warm weather is coming … sometime.

It’s National Library Week with the theme “libraries transform.” Have you visited your local library this week? And on this, the second week of the twentieth National Poetry Month, blogger Annie Finch speaks about how poets have a close relationship to spring.

Libraries need readers, and Lauren Magaziner proposes growing a reader. Sue Vincent lists 12 signs that you have a book addiction and why it matters. Here’s good news for adult readers: Parker Richards writes that the pulp fiction dime novel is making a comeback. Whatever you’re reading, Stephen Carver presents 15 tips on close reading, which can help writers.

Every writer who submits manuscripts has to deal with rejection. In response to requests, J. K. Rowling shares Robert Galbraith rejection letters on Twitter.

In “Writing and Bathing” — author Kelly Simmons discusses how modern authors need to consider their appearance, while Elizabeth Percer comes up with nine non-rules for writing.


Research. Some writers love it, some hate it. K. M. Weiland considers the two sides to novel research: accuracy and authenticity, and Donald Maass thoroughly explores relevance in fiction.

Need to improve your craft? Melissa Donovan asserts that keeping a journal makes you a better writer and Heidi Angell suggests 5 tips to help you write what you know.

Alan Rinzler shares tips for writing great endings for novels, Janice Hardy writes about keeping plots fresh, and Roz Morris wonders must plot twists always be misfortunes and disasters, and where does the story end?

Now that you have your plot figured out, how about your characters? Angela Ackerman discusses why characters resist change, while James Scott Bell lays out all you need to know about character transformation. Clare Langley-Hawthorne asks who’s your narrator? and Roz Morris gives pointers on how to write several narrators and make them sound distinct.

For writers interested in characters with disabilities, Ada Hoffmann explores worldbuilding about, through, and with autism and Corinne Duyvis examines (not) engaging with disability: convenient approaches in SFF.

Your fascinating characters and events have to occur in a place and time. Cris Freese lists 5 key setting mistakes to avoid.

Kristen Lamb identifies three ways to add the sizzle to fiction that’s fizzled.

Is your writing giving you problems? Maria Konnikova looks at psychologists who have studied writer’s block and how to beat it, while Kelly Simmons discusses how your personality type wreaks havoc with your writing and 10 things you can do about it and Matt Thomas shares his adventures in coworking.

Once you’ve found your publisher and gotten your manuscript back from the editor, Juliet Marillier covers how to deal with the editorial report: change, compromise, or dig your heels in.

daffodils - The Author Chronicles - Top Picks Thursday, 4-13


Publishing is a rapidly changing industry, and Jordan Dane takes a look at 2016 publishing trends.

For those ready to pitch or query, Marie Lamba provides some insight on pitching, Jeanne Kisacky delineates basic tips for writing an email query that actually gets read all the way through, Anne R. Allen discusses the top 10 ways to write a self-rejecting query to a blogger, agent or publisher, and Kathryn Craft sets out 5 tips to sustain you in the query trenches.

Agent Janet Reid answers the question: “I’m going to be a one book wonder. Will you still want me?

Susan Spann examines merchandising rights in publishing deals, Joel Friedlander suggests ways to keep track of your ISBNs as a publisher, and Kristen Lamb explains how self-publishing is lowering the risk for traditional publishers.

For those considering self-publishing, Andrew Rhomberg maintains that testing book covers before publishing can save time and money, Sandra Beckwith shares three common mistakes in Amazon book descriptions and how to fix them, Lee Wind reports on successful self-published author Hugh Howey’s impassioned support for Amazon and self-publishers, and David Kudler comments on piracy and the self-publisher. In an example of the latter, read how Eilis O’Hanlon found out her crime novels were swiped by a stranger.

Janet Reid provides tips on book promotion and Marian Allen explains how NOT to sell books at an event. Also check out Part Two of Jami Gold’s “what’s your reader retention plan?

Sharon Bially presents an interview with Magdalene Thomas revealing the secrets of trying for a bestseller list.

On the social media front, Jessica Lawlor shows 5 savvy strategies for how to get people to read your blog and Frances Caballo discusses what to post on social media and gives 38 examples. Plus, Caroline Noonan discusses networking for writers.


Interested in writing or writers? Our mentor, bestselling author Jonathan Maberry, explains how he became a horror writer and Melanie McFarlane interviews horror writer Janice Gable Bashman. Claire Polders also shares her experience as a writer in “The Writer and Her Time.”

For those who don’t know what to do with all their books, House and Garden presents 101 novel bookshelf ideas. On the other hand, if you live in Tennessee and don’t have enough books, Alexandra Alter reports that Nashville’s newest bookstore is a van co-owned by Karen Hayes and novelist Ann Patchett.

If you’re planning a trip to England, the medieval manor that inspired the setting for Jane Eyre is set to reopen to visitors after renovation.

Check out Rebecca Onion’s article about a plea on behalf of immigrants believed to be written by Shakespeare’s hand. Speaking of the bard, Jason Daley presents evidence that tomb robbers may have removed Shakespeare’s skull two centuries ago.

Emma King shares Charles Dickens’ “gloomy epistle” to a friend.

Anna Gragert shares illustrator John Atkinson’s abridged classics.

daffodils - The Author Chronicles - Top Picks Thursday, 4-13

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Keep on reading!

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