Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of June! Those of us with children are counting the days until school ends—either with glee or with trepidation.
In awards news, check out SCBWI’s 2016 Crystal Kite winners for a whole slew of great middle grade and YA books to read this summer.
We all know about the pre-published author manuscript contests, but Jami Gold discusses what to look for in published-author contests.
The New York Times notes that readers seem to be buying paperbacks, audiobooks, and coloring books, but not ebooks.
On the diversity front, Muslim youth speak out on what they would like to see in YA representation of Muslims, and Nicky Harman lists 10 Chinese women authors whose writings should be translated to English.
Agent Janet Reid begs us all to please name a literary executor for your writing estate. That way you ensure your work is in the hands of someone you trust to make decisions you would want.
If you’ve ever thought about hiring (or being) a ghostwriter, Stacy Ennis tells us what to expect when hiring a ghostwriter.
Mary Kole points out the precarious balance between fiction and non-fiction in picture books.
Bryn Donovan discusses how to write a story set in a place you don’t know well, and Michael McDonagh reminds us avoid prologues (unless they work).
Characters carry the emotion of our story. C.J. Lyons shares tips for writing emotion, author R. Harrison gives us his character inspiration, Lisa Cron tells us not to give our characters a time out, Jami Gold reminds us of the implicit promise in character development, Malcolm Mackay shows how to write fully-formed characters, and Mary Kole discusses the over-use of scaffolding in dialogue.
Editors are a vital part of our writing process, and Ruth Harris lists 9 ways editors make you look good and 7 ways they can make you miserable.
Advice is best when coming from the voice of experience. Keith R.A. DeCandido talks about his latest novel in the Stargate series, Lidia Yuknavitch gives a TED talk on being a misfit, Sherman Alexie discusses the angst of being a “junior”, Francine J. Harris discusses poetry, and Lesley Nneka Arimah answers 5 questions.
Rachel Thompson explores having the guts to tell your story even when other people say you shouldn’t, and Chuck Wendig reminds us that sometimes participation is everything—and maybe we should get a trophy for that.
Writers are always trying to find ways to finance their career, and many have tried crowdfunding—to mixed success. Crowdfunding expert Bethany Joy Carlson discusses the surprising amount of prep time needed before kicking off a campaign, and tips for making your crowdfunding successful.
We all know Amazon is the big mover when it comes to ebooks, but Christine Munro shows how Kobo Writing Life can build global sales for our work.
Writers and agents often think “there has to be a better way” in dealing with queries, especially with the rise of the frustrating “no reply means no interest” method. Patrick McDonald of QueryTracker introduces QueryManager, a new frontier for both writers and agents in managing queries. Check it out and see what you think.
Marie Lamba tells us about Damian McNicholl and Alexandra Weiss, the 2 new literary agents at Jennifer De Chiaria Literary.
Ryan G. Van Cleave tells us how to get a great book contract in 5 steps.
Judith Briles – striking a chord with readers isn’t about length of post, but quality of post
THE UNIQUE SHELF
When it rains in Boston, the sidewalks reveal poetry. Makes a rainy day a little less dreary.
Doing research? Check out the more than 180,000 items the New York Public Library has made available online.
Experts disagree about who was Herman Melville’s illict lover—Nathaniel Hawthorne or Melville’s neighbor’s wife?
Read a newly translated story by Alexander Pushkin: The Duel: Pushkin’s Favorite Topic in Fiction and Cause of His Fatal Wound.
Take a look inside the effort to digitize Medieval monks’ chants.
Adam Ehrlich Sachs shares his picks for the 10 funniest books.
If you are headed to the UK, see if you can get to any of this year’s best literary festivals.
That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Stay cool and see you next week!