Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 26, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers and Writers 05-26-2016

Even writers need a vacation!Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday, our roundup of writerly and readerly links from around the web. The Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which for most of us means the unofficial start of summer!

Andrew Liptak gives a nice recap of the 2015 Nebula Awards.

Porter Anderson examines how low book prices impact writing’s value in society.

Some people don’t value the work put into writing. Anne R. Allen tackles what to do when pirates steal your ebook or blog.

Tara Olivero wonders if it is possible to cheat at reading, and Marissa Fessenden takes a look at the history of walking libraries and other portable books.


Writing can be a punishing business. Kristen Lamb shares the hard truth about being a professional writer.

Writing can also be a punishing craft. Toby Litt theorizes on what makes bad writing bad.

Plot is an essential element to a great story. John Mullan traces humanity’s fascination with plot through the ages. Roz Morris shows writers how to avoid the plotting pitfall of throwaway plot elements.

Conflict and tension grip the reader. Eileen Cook has tips for increasing conflict, Angela Ackerman shows how to turn your setting into an obstacle course, and Jordan Dane lists 10 ways to infuse emotion into every scene and chapter.

Janet Reid shares an idea of what editing really is all about, and Zoe M. McCarthy shows us how to write infrequent phrases (part 3).

Jacqueline Diamond has 12 ways not to write a mystery novel, Monica M. Clark gives us 3 writing tips we can learn from Beyoncé, and Larry Alton shares 7 small ways to be a better writer.

All writers try to stoke their creativity. Katherine Locke shows the importance of discovering your process, not forcing it; Lori Goldstein tackles writer’s block, Emily Tjaden shows 5 ways perfectionism attacks creativity, Tyler Moss brings us 4 writing routine myths that kill creativity, and Kristan Hoffman reminds us of the need to let your creativity rest.

Writers love to share advice with other writers. Lin-Manuel Miranda shares his in a commencement speech at UPenn, Kat Howard lists 5 things she learned writing her latest book, Linda Formichelli has 7 surprising things she learned self-publishing a book, Jandy Nelson gives us 11 writing tips, and Richard Cohen explores how writers steal the lives of other people for their fiction.

Writers often struggle with inner demons, especially the doubt about our ability. Margaret Dilloway tells us how to overcome Imposter Syndrome, while Jami Gold asks us to explore our validation.

Bruno Somerset has tips for writers setting up their workspace, L.Z. Marie share 9 Greek sayings for writers, and James Scott Bell discusses story and the power of connection.


In an interesting development, Simon & Schuster is hit with an ebook royalty class action suit, which hinges on whether ebook sales are “sales” or “licensing”.

Steven Spatz of BookBaby answers some basic ebook questions, such as “why doesn’t my ebook look like my printed book?”

Agent John Rudolph explains why writers need a pitch even if they are not querying, and shares a prompt for writing a good one.

Agent Janet Reid explain what to do when you are seeking a new agent publisher and your previous book sales are not the greatest. Meanwhile, new agent Gill McLay of Bath Literary Agency seeks UK-based writers of children’s books/novels (all ages)

Marketing takes up a lot of a writer’s time these days. Angela Quarles explores how to find your audience, Savvy Book Writers checks if your book marketing is up-to-date, Jerry Low shares 10 tips for a better Facebook marketing campaign, and Anita Chapman explains how to get the most out of social media.

A book launch is a major part of most marketing campaigns. Jeff Goins tells us what to do when your book launch fails, and Angela Buckley has 10 tips on how to host a Facebook launch (or re-launch) of your book.

Frances Caballo shows how Young Adult authors use Tumblr to reach readers, Jane Friedman gets writers started smart when building a WordPress author site, and Jonathan Ohayon lists the best research tools for finding kickass content.


Where will your novel be in 400 years? Publisher Small Beer is releasing a 400-year-old science fiction novel.

Lucy Ives explores how archival fiction upends our view of history.

The lost gardens of Emily Dickinson are being restored to their full glory.

Robin Wasserman wonders what it means when we call grown women “girls”.

Hearing a poet read his own work can be magical. Listen to Robert Frost read his poems.

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum follows the literary history of word processing, and how it has impacted writers and writing.

Handwriting is becoming a lost art in our time, but in Colonial times handwriting contained hidden messages.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Have a fun and safe Memorial Day, everyone!


  1. Thank you for including my article for Women Writers, Women’s Books on how to get the most out of social media! 🙂


    • You’re welcome! Any hints how to be more efficient with our media time are always welcome!


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