Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 15, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 12-15-2016

20161129_102509Welcome to the mid-December Top Picks Thursday! The end of the year is barreling towards us, which means the end-of-year lists are coming out in force.

The New Yorker treats us to 2016: Our Year in Poems, while the New York Times shares the Best Book Covers of 2016.

Check out Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech.

18 middle grade authors discuss writing girl characters after the election.

John Milliot reports that the Authors Guild has absorbed Authors United.

Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Allie Larkin has gift ideas for writers that go beyond notebooks, while Cathy Baker lists the 12 days of Christmas for creative minds.


We learn toward fiction on this blog, but here Dawn Field examines the micro-memoir to help you get started on your memoir, and Danica Davidson reveals the world of writing media tie-ins.

Writers have to think about the macro elements of our work to get the story right. K.M. Weiland gives us a new way to think about scene structure, and Jami Gold shares 5 ways to discover and develop our voice.

Well-drawn characters entice readers. Kristen Lamb explores the Wound and the Blind Spot to enhance your characters, A. Howitt describes the how and why of making it worse for your character, and Zoe M. McCarthy lists 8 tips in writing deep point of view.

Once the writing is done, writers have to polish everything with revision. Mary Kole warns against rushing through revisions, Gordon Long exposes 6 overused phrases and what they reveal about your writing, and Janice Hardy shows how to be your own book doctor.

Steve Laube says writers must learn to prepare, and Melanie Bishop describes the value of writing retreats.


For those writers seeking a small publisher or a hybrid publisher rather than straight self-publishing, it can be a confusing world out there. Janet Reid discusses how to evaluate if a small publisher is legitimate, and Jane Friedman defines what a hybrid publisher is.

If you are self-publishing (or are in a hybrid model where you control the pricing) David Kudler explains what is up with those crazy price variations on your print book.

Finding an agent is much more than grabbing the first one who says yes. Susan Spann tells how to find your agent match.

Here we take a look at two of the most important parts of the marketing life cycle surrounding your book: the pitch and the review. Joan Stewart shows that the repeated pitching of your book is the most important 15 second in your book’s life, and Carol Riggs demonstrates the zen of accepting bad reviews.

When marketing your book to someone, Mary Kole reminds us to answer “what’s in it for the customer?”. Nate Hoffelder shares a great tool that allows authors to link to all the places that sell their book in one shot: Books2Read’s Universal Book Links.

Social media—the boon and bane of authors everywhere. Jane Friedman shares 3 things to avoid when social media marketing your book, Edie Melson lists 29 quick and easy social media updates to share, and Debbie Young has 1 simple marketing tip to boost the reach of Facebook author pages.


To help get us through the holidays, Tara Sparling has several funny title generators to get you chuckling.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to sleep in a library. You can come close by visiting this book-lover’s hotel in Portugal or in Kyoto’s new bookstore-themes hostel.

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 Lititz Public Library of Lititz, PA.


That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday!





  1. Again, thanks for the blog love. Susan Spann’s article on How to Find your Agent Match contains calming, sensible advice. Thanks for sharing it with your readers.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: