Posted by: Kerry Gans | January 19, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers & Writers 01-19-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We are having an erratic January here—snow, then days in the 50s. The weather may be erratic, but the writerly links continue as always!

9 Canadian writers share their writing resolutions for 2017.

Jami Gold reminds us that one writing goal for 2017 should be to find what works for us as writers.

The power of books is universal, whether you are a four-year-old bibliophile Guest Librarian for the Library of Congress, or President Obama of the United States.

In times of political turmoil, writers are often on the front lines. Last weekend, many writers gathered to explore how language is the tool we use to build our political and democratic structures, Rep. John Lewis’s memoir Walking With the Wind and National Book Award-winning graphic novel March sold out on Amazon after Trump attacked him on Twitter, and  Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich and 30 other writers have quit the Russian PEN center to protest the expulsion of journalist Sergey Parkhomenko.


Anne R. Allen says anthologies can be great opportunities, but to beware of scams.

Writers have so many story ideas, sometimes it is hard to pick one. Jeff Elkins shares the Hedgehog Concept as a way to choose a book idea, and Katherine Lampe advises avoiding these 10 tires witch tropes.

Once you’ve got the idea, you need to draw in the reader. Becca Puglisi shows how to craft a powerful set-up that will leave the reader wanting more. Jami Gold tells us how to give the readers that more by making our story feel meaningful, and Jane Friedman talks about when a story ending doesn’t satisfy—sometimes on purpose.

Emily Temple gathers advice from writers on how they revise.

Writing can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. Chandler Baker explains how to revive your writer’s soul, Roz Morris reminds us not to neglect our reading, and Roseanne Bane lists 5 reasons to thank your resistance to writing.

Author Holly Bourne answers 7 questions, and Mary Kole addresses what life is like post-publication.


Robert Kroese examines if Amazon exclusivity is right for you, while David Kudler delves into the nuts-and-bolts of ebook mechanics with CSS for ebooks, part 2.

When writers have manuscripts ready to go, should we target agents or editors? And should we query multiple projects to multiple agents? Should you tell about your old agent in a query? And what about querying agents when past books have good reviews but poor sales? Jane Friedman, Mary Kole, and Janet Reid answer those questions.

If you’ve been asked for a full, agent Jennifer Johnson-Blalock talks about when you should follow up. If you’ve ever wondered about what to write in the bio section of your query letter, Chuck Sambuchino has some guidance. These 7 agents are seeking women’s fiction so if that’s your genre, check them out. And an old post but a good post: THE CALL or, What to Ask a Literary Agent When Offered Representation by Casey McCormick.

Marketing is as much art as business. Jane Lebak reminds us not to use tired, broad tropes to pitch your story, Eva Lesko Natiello reveals the pro-bono marketing staff every selfpublished author has at their fingertips, and Jane Friedman compiles her Best Book Marketing Resources of 2016.


Zhou Youguang, the inventor of Pinyin—which is responsible for both boosting literacy rates in China and bridging the divide between the country and the West—died on Saturday.

Lisa Rosman pours us the 6 best cocktails from classic literature.

Chris Weller tracks down the most beautiful library in every US state.

Elizabeth Lilly has 25 amazingly clever ways to display books in your home.

How the speech and Bible from George Washington’s First Inauguration made history many times over.

If you’re looking for inspiration, you can write inside Mark Twain’s library.

That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week for more writerly links.

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