Welcome to Top Picks Thursday on the last Thursday of the month — and Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers in the US! Thanks for taking a break from your busy day to check out our gathering of recent blog posts for readers and writers. We hope you are all having a wonderful day with family and friends.
Speaking of the holiday, Buzzfeed’s Jarry Lee shares the books that 16 famous writers are most thankful for, and Aimie Runyan has five tips for writing through the holidays.
Tomorrow, many people’s thoughts will turn to shopping for holiday gifts. If you’re looking for a book to give a writer (or yourself), you’ll find good suggestions on Penguin Random House’s list of 27 of the best books on writing, and Jane Friedman offers tech-savvy and traditional gift suggestions for writers.
The holidays can get hectic, so it’s no surprise that time management and balancing life and professional demands were themes in several blogs this week. Roz Morris suggests two tips for balancing writing and marketing time, and Norm Schriever shares time management tips for writers, while Christina Delay explains how to find balance in your life.
Taking care of yourself is also important. Amanda Diehl relates how she learned to exercise self-care through the local library, and Kate Moretti explores how to preserve your creative self in times of trouble.
Faiqa Mansab asserts that a story is a gift. What a lovely idea! We should all take time to enjoy such story gifts. If you can find time to read during the holidays, try one of the 2016 National Book Award Winners.
Anne R. Allen cautions us about 12 bad writing tips new writers give each other all the time, and Janet Reid looks at how to decide if you should change your course as a writer.
A good story starts with a good concept. Matt Reid explains how to attract a readership based on concept alone, Camille Noe Pagán advises authors to write your query first for a better novel, and James Scott Bell lays out how to crystallize your novel.
If you’re developing fictional characters, Melissa Donovan shares fiction writing exercises for creating characters; Lisa Cron examines what ‘likeable’ really means; Frankie Y. Bailey, Cindy Brown, Greg Herren, and Linda Rodriguez provide pointers on doing diversity right; and Brian DeLeonard has some ideas for rebooting the dark lord trope in fantasy.
When it comes down to the nitty-gritty of putting words on the page, Melissa Allen enumerates 14 words that are hurting your writing, while Mark Nichol takes a look at 3 cases of dangling participles and how to correct them.
Sara Letourneau tells us when it’s okay to listen to you inner editor, and Angela Ackerman lists 5 visualization techniques to help your writing craft.
If your story involves bombs and explosives, John Gilstrap explores their use in things that go boom (not bang).
And so we don’t lose all that hard work, Russell Phillips explains how to back up your book manuscripts and marketing files.
For those looking for agents or small publishers, Vivian Conroy outlines the 3 key elements of successful pitching, Gordon Long gives seven book reviewer complaints about novels they’ve read, and agent Tamela Hancock Murray responds to the question: should I push romance into my story?
If you have a publisher, Matt Knight explains negotiating editorial control in publishing contracts.
To help indie writers, Michele DeFilippo details book layout basics, and Carla King explains how to increase book discoverability with metatags in your book metadata.
One of your marketing ideas might include presenting library programs, so Andra Watkins gives 6 tips for authors to create engaging library programs.
Social media should be part of your marketing plan. Chris Syme lays out how to choose the right social media channel to sell more books, Frances Caballo gives 9 tips on how to use social media for your book launch, Porter Anderson shows how to use Twitter analytics to boost your social media marketing, and Katherine Hayton tells us how to grow your mailing list with an InstaFreebie trial.
For bloggers: Colin Gray explains how to grow fans and save your sanity by changing the season — and he’s not talking about going from fall to winter.
THE UNIQUE SHELF
Jasmin Nahar of BuzzFeed shares 18 things everyone who’s addicted to buying books will understand.
Media or books? Which is preferable for our children? Jon Hamilton writes that heavy screen time rewires young brains, for better and worse. Kate Stolzfus reports that, contrary to expectations, most students do not prefer ebooks to paper books.
That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Thanks for spending a little of your Thanksgiving Day with us. See you next week on December 1st!