Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 25, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers and Writers 08-25-2016

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! The Olympics have ended, which means I can once more go to bed at a decent hour.

Did you know librarians have Olympics, too? As if Librarian Olympics isn’t cool enough, Finland’s hot new karaoke bar is in a public library. Of course, you can still get books from a library. Check out some of the books on President Obama’s summer reading list.

A big congratulations to the 2016 Hugo Award winners!


Sometimes the beginning isn’t the best place to start. Jennifer Fenn discusses when beginning at the end is helpful.

Although “show don’t tell” is a frequent piece of writing advice, Martina Boone shares 4 times when “show don’t tell” can kill your work.

Getting the details right can make or break your book. A.D. Shrum examines the speed of communication in the world you build, Iain Bain explores how to write funny, Angela Ackerman creates mood in a scene using light and shadow, and Jodie Renner discusses the how and when to use hyphens, dashes, and ellipses.

Those pesky characters can keep us writers up at night. Jody Hedlund has 6 key things to consider when developing characters, Becca Puglisi explores the emotional wound of being rejected by your peers, Zoe M. McCarthy shows how to use point of view to deepen your scene, and Jami Gold seeks the best approach to character arc development.

We all have a writing process, and no writer’s is the same as another. Sacha Black lists 8 steps to discover your perfect writing process, while Jeff Goins shares his 3-bucket system to get writing done every day.

When you’ve done all you can with your manuscript, you need an editor. Maya Rock lays out 6 ways to vet a freelance editor, because en editor can help your manuscript give your readers a delicious book hangover, as described by Ash Krafton.

Writers write because they love it—it’s part of who they are. C.S. Lakin discusses how to avoid killing your passion for writing, while Richelle Morgan advocates feeding your inner artist.

We all know people who seem to radiate energy—and those who suck the energy from us. Kathryn Craft asks what you bring to your support team, while Sarah McCoy examines the lost art of listening.

Attending writing conferences can help take our craft and business knowledge to the next level. Nancy L. Erickson explores how a writing conference can help you become a successful author, while Bill Ferris shows us how to panel like a pro.


Steve Laube has some general industry news, and S.E. Zbasnick tells us how to avoid marketing scams.

If you’re self-publishing, you need to make your book look and sound great. Joel Friedlander explains how to work with cover artists and interior designers, Dan Balow shows how to choose a good title for your book, and Kristen Lamb explores why your book isn’t selling.

If you are going the traditional route, you need to woo agents/publishers. Jane Friedman lays out how to write a non-fiction book proposal and how to distinguish yourself among agents and editors, agent Carly Watters shares 5 tips for authors, Susan Brooks discusses the importance of genre specific books, and Mary C. Moore talks about titling your manuscript for submission.

Eric Smith has 4 ways to build your platform that have nothing to do with your Twitter following, and Dorit Sasson tells us how to get speaking gigs even when you don’t have a lot of speaking experience.

While offline marketing is important, writers also reach people online. Kristen Lamb discusses how to grow your author blog, Jane Friedman talks about her use of autoresponders in her marketing campaigns, Melissa Flickinger explains why Buffer is the perfect social media manager, and Frances Caballo lists the only 10 social media applications you’ll ever need.


LitHub interviews Farley’s Bookshop. For when you go to a bookstore, Michael Swanwick has a list of fantasy novels that aren’t shelved in the fantasy section.

Chawton House Library has rare novels and plays by women writers from 1600-1830 available online.

Literary figures’ houses can become meccas to writers and readers, but 2 such houses are in danger of disappearing. Thomas Mann’s Los Angeles “magic villa” is up for sale and in danger of demolition, as its agent has “a hard time imagining that any potential buyers would be interested in its history,” and the battle continues to save Langston Hughes’ $3 million home in Harlem.

Take the quiz: can you tell the difference between Edith Wharton and Henry James’ writing styles?

Famed writer E.B. White expounds on white and brown eggs.

Jane Austen finished writing Persuasion on August 6, 1816—and here’s a page of the manuscript.

Hunter S. Thompson’s widow returns the antlers Thompson stole from Hemingway’s estate.

That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week!



  1. What an extensive list! Thank you.


  2. Thanks for the blog love! As always, your links are fantastic. Thanks for all your hard work in putting together great resources for us.
    -Fae Rowen


    • Thanks, Fae. And compliments to you all at Writers in the Storm. We enjoy reading your posts and love sharing them.


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