Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 29, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 09-29-2016

Sculpture at Doylestown Library

Sculpture at Doylestown Library

Welcome to the last Top Picks Thursday of September! School is in session, fall temperatures have arrived, and Halloween can be seen on the horizon.

For some introverted writers, conferences can be the equivalent of haunted houses where we face our worst fears. Laura Benedict shares an introvert’s guide to writers’ conferences, Victoria Mixon gives us 3 steps to making friends and enemies at writers’ conferences, and Rachael Acks tells us how to talk to writers at parties.


For our non-fiction writers, Tamela Hancock Murray explores two types of non-fiction books.

Beginnings are hard. Laura Drake tells us how to nail that first line, Mary Kole describes how to successfully weave information into later books in a series, and Ruth Harris explores tackling first drafts as plotter, pantser, or somewhere in between.

Once we’ve begun to write, there are a million items we need to handle and polish. Martina Boone shows how to layer your writing to make novel-writing less daunting, Jennie Nash tells us how to master the art of the scene, Zoe M. McCarthy warns against melodrama, and Jodie Renner says it’s all in the verbs.

Sculpture at Doylestown Library

Sculpture at Doylestown Library

While a lot of it may be in the verbs, it’s in the characters, too. K.M. Weiland says that to be a gutsy writer you need to be true to you characters, and Ron Estrada shows us how to write your middle grade character.

Revising and editing can make your work shine—or it can suck all the life out of your work. Jane Lebak explains why you shouldn’t keep revising the same story ad nauseum, Cathey Presland lists the 10 worst self-editing mistakes that writers make and how to avoid them, and Janice Hardy tells us how to know if your novel is ready to submit.

Two of the hardest issues for a writer to master are productivity and perseverance. Jami Gold discusses productivity styles and increasing productivity, and Rachel Giesel gives us 5 ways to stick with your novel when you feel like giving up.

Writers struggle with other non-craft decisions as well. Jami Gold looks at the writer goal of quitting the evil day job, and Marcy Kennedy asks: do you need a pen name?


Sometimes it’s helpful to step back and look at the bigger picture of publishing. Jane Friedman shares her Publishing Industry 2016 Status Update, and James Scott Bell tells us what writers need to know about the publishing industry today.

Agent Sharon Pelletier gives us query FAQs.

Doylestown Library

Doylestown Library

If you’ve got a book near launch, Andrea Dunlop lists 5 questions to ask when you’re getting ready to launch a book, and Rob Eager discusses how publishers can cure “ugly sample syndrome.

The internet is a great way to connect with our readers. Kirsten Oliphant explains how to leverage someone else’s platform, and Adam Connell reveals the 5 pillars of rapid email list growth.

Twitter can be a powerful tool in social media. Jeri Baird explores the perks and pitfalls of Twitter pitches, Savvy Book Writers tell how to get it right on Twitter, and Ash Read shows us the changes to Twitter.


When you don’t know how to decorate a room, you can’t go wrong with a well-stocked bookshelf.

Browse through the manuscript of “To Autumn” by John Keats.

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 going to show our support for libraries by concluding with a photo of a local library for the next several weeks (until we run out of them!) This week, we’ll give a shout out to the Doylestown Library.

Doylestown Library and Sculpture Garden

Doylestown Library and Sculpture Garden

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you in October!



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