Posted by: Kerry Gans | January 12, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 01-12-2017

Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of 2017! We hope you and yours had a good holiday and a happy New Year!

NPR staff picks their Best Reads from the 2016 Book Concierge Great Reads.

In case you want a sneak peek at Books 2017, here is The Guardian’s 2017 Literary Calendar.

We all are aware that reading fiction encourages empathy and communication. Here are 7 books that teach children about racial and social justice, lists of YA books about POC written by POC, authors R.J. Palacio and Meg Medina discussing diversity and children’s books, and 10 children’s books that celebrate our diverse world.

Awards: SCBWI announces the Jane Yolen Mid-List Author awards for this year, and check out the 2016 CYBILS finalists for elementary/middle grade speculative fiction.

Jane Friedman lists the best literary fiction blogs and websites.

Roni Loren discusses how to create a daily reading habit and tackle your To-Be-Read piles using the 5-page technique.

In an odd story, Florida librarians are accused of creating fake borrowers to save stock.


The New Year brings new writing goals. Jami Gold talks about setting writing goals so you can win (sometimes), and Chuck Wendig lays out his resolution in two words.

Jerome Bruner delves into the psychology of what makes a great story.

Openings are key to any story. However, Emily Ruskovich says the opening paragraphs don’t always have to be exciting, and Anne R. Allen explains the wisdom of writing the first chapter last.

Once you’ve got started, get the little things right to make your story sing. Janet Reid tells us the proper way to do surprise, Jacqueline Hesse advises us to remove filters in your fiction, and Tina Radcliff shows how regional clues and cues can bring your story to life.

After we’ve finished writing, we often need other eyes to help us polish the manuscript. Jam Gold helps us figure out if we need a developmental editor or a writing coach.

Writers often struggle with the huge mental component of writing. Melanie Bishop tells how to make the most of writing retreats, Ayodeji Awosika explains how to keep writing when you feel inadequate, Alyson Schroll shares how to deal with when writing can’t be your life, and Chuck Wendig shows how to finish that book.


It’s a new year, and the ever-changing business of publishing is still in motion. Jane Friedman looks back on 2016 and shares important publishing developments authors should know, while Laurie McLean looks ahead with publishing predictions for 2017. Meanwhile, Publisher’s Weekly is reporting that print book sales rose again in 2016.

Emily Gould posits that women authors don’t have the luxury of being unlikable. Whether you choose to be likeable or not, agent Janet Reid says all authors need to be reachable, lest opportunity miss you for lack of an email address. Meanwhile, Kathryn Craft shares 5 tips to sustain you in the query trenches.

Marketing can make some writers cry in frustration. Chris Syme discusses pain-free book marketing, Judith Briles has tips to make your book soar, and Jefferson Smith introduces PageFight!, a site to allow you to get marketing feedback and let readers discover your books.

Jane Friedman dissects why building a platform to land books sales so often fails, Robert Kroese steps us through using KDP ads to sell books on Amazon, Frances Caballo lists 40 people indie authors should follow on Twitter, and Barb Drozdowich talks blog stats and what they can tell you.


2016 was a brutal year for the creative community, with so many artists lost. It ended with the death of Watership Down author Richard Adams, and now 2017 is beginning with the loss of agent David Miller and author and Jazz writer Nat Hentoff.

A donation to a library reveals a treasure trove of rare literary letters.

Eloise Ruby takes us behind the scenes into cataloging the thousands of Medieval manuscript fragments housed at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

Thank you for reading this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’ll see you next week!


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