Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday!
Can you believe the month is half over? The cooling weather invites people to spend time outside, but we hope you’ll still set aside some time for reading. If you need some persuading, Vaughn Roycroft discusses the importance of storytelling in turbulent times and Derek Beres reflects on what is lost in a nation that’s reading less literature.
Not feeling well? Carolina Ciucci lays out how to choose your next read when you’re sick. Feeling lazy? Imagine not even having to open a book to read it! That’s not science fiction — Stephanie Mlot of PC Magazine reports that MIT imaging tech can read a closed book.
Planning to write a bestseller? Sian Cain reports on Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers’ algorithm to decipher the secret DNA behind bestsellers.
For those looking for writing advice, Michael J. Martinez encourages writers to listen to Miss Frizzle, Daphne Gray-Grant cautions writers to beware of attention residue when writing, Julia Day stresses don’t overlook expertise close to home, and A. Howitt gives the scoop on writing groups.
Brandi Megan Granett shares what archery taught me about writing and Laura Benedict lays out how to write 10,000 words in a day and why you should give it a shot.
Several bloggers have questions for writers. Janice Hardy asks, “Is your story structure working?“; Roz Morris asks, “Is the tone of your prose in tune with your novel?“; and Jami Gold asks, “Backstory: when is it necessary?”
For more about the key elements of a story, Angela Ackerman reveals how to uncover your character’s emotional wound, Eileen Cook suggests using dialogue to build conflict, and K. M. Weiland delineates the only 5 ingredients you need for story subtext and uses Marvel movies to explore the right way and wrong way to foreshadow a story.
Grammar rules confuse many of us. If putting a series of adjectives in the right order puzzles you — or you never knew there was a right order — check out Cassie Werber’s how non-English speakers are taught this crazy English grammar rule you know but have never heard of.
If you are looking for an agent, Jane Friedman offers a complete guide to query letters, Annie Neugebauer gives us query letter part 2: the extras, and Susan Spann gives tips for pitching your novel perfectly. Janet Reid discusses whether mentioning a novel is based on a real event will help get an agent.
If you write children’s books, Chuck Sambuchino introduces new agent Tracy Marchini of BookEnds who is looking for writers of picture books, middle grade, and young adult literature.
For Indie authors, Judith Briles gives tips on avoiding book publishing blunders, bloopers, and boo-boos and Savvy Book Writers offer 5 rules for success at crowd funding.
Marketing is vital for all writers. Kristen Lamb examines author brands and book sales: why boutique is big; Robert Wilder lauds the power of pods: ask your friends to lead a mini-brigade on your behalf; and Travis Bach sets out a book marketing tactics round-up.
For writers confused about how to approach social media, Frances Caballo suggests that you CARE about your readers and shares social media best practices for authors. Chris Syme sets out 4 steps to less wasted time when selling books on social media, Lauren Sapala reveals the secret to using Twitter that most authors overlook, and Lisa Tener advocates Goodreads for authors: why Forbes calls it the most important networking site on the internet and how you can benefit.
Janet Reid considers the question when is a website a platform and Rachel Thompson discusses how an author platform will make you a more successful author.
THE UNIQUE SHELF
Here’s this week’s roundup of the intriguing and the noteworthy. Enjoy!
Smithsonian.com provides several fascinating stories this week: Danny Lewis reports that cleaning the only known portrait of Shakespeare painted while he was alive could change the way historians see the bard; Alex Palmer reveals rarely seen photos by Carl Van Vechten which are a who’s who of the Harlem Renaissance; Allison Keyes discloses a long-lost manuscript that contains an eyewitness account of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921; and Kat Eschner reveals that even Napoleon had an unpublished manuscript, and now it’s up for auction. We imagine Napoleon would be surprised by how much it sells for.
David Streitfeld profiles Ursula Le Guin on the occasion of her publication by the Library of America.
The Guardian‘s Alison Flood reports that a collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last unpublished stories will be released in 2017.
In an excerpt from his memoir, John le Carre reveals that real-life British spies did not like his novels.
In an interview by New York senior librarian Arieh Ress, comedian Paula Poundstone reveals what she is reading.
Although we five chroniclers don’t live close to each other, we do live in the same region — southern and central New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania — and we’re continuing to show our support for libraries by concluding Top Picks Thursday with a photo of a local library (until we run out of them!) This week, we’ll give a shout out to the Lyceum, which is the Mt. Holly branch of the Burlington County Library System.
See you next week on the first day of autumn!