Posted by: Kerry Gans | March 23, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 03-23-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We had our worst snowstorm of the season 4 days before the first day of spring, and now it is in the 30s. I hope your spring is warm and sunny!

In author news, author Paula Fox, best known for her award-winning and emotionally complex children’s novels, died on March 1.

In happier author news, check out the cover reveal and excerpt from Ursula K. Le Guin’s new novel No Time to Spare.

Here’s a guide to the upcoming changes to the New York Times’ Children’s Books coverage.

Want some good books to read? The Man Booker International Prize longlist has been announced.

Since we’re also readers, Roni Loren shares her favorite podcasts about reading, for when you can’t actually read but want that reading feeling.

SCBWI is combining the best of both worlds with SCBWI Books for Readers program. If you are an SCBWI member, check it out—your favorite book organization might win a ton of books.

Getting kids to read can sometimes be tricky, but these two people have found a way. One teacher is using graphic novels to turn non-readers into readers, and an 11-year-old boy starts a club for young black boys to see themselves in books.

Classic books are woven into our culture. S.E. Hinton’s beloved novel The Outsiders turns 50 this month, and white Southerners in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s time claimed Uncle Tom’s Cabin was “fake news”—so she wrote a fact check key for it.

If you love to have the Oxford comma argument, consider this—an Oxford comma just changed the course of a court case.


Not finding inspiration for a new idea? Jann Alexander has 3 surprising sources for writers in search of ideas.

Some writers struggle with the big picture. Mary Kole warns of the perils of starting a novel with the aftermath, Jami Gold explores balancing writing rules with our writer voice, and Daphne Gray-Grant explains 7 vexing habits guaranteed to wreck your writing.

Structure carries readers through your story. K.M. Weiland gives us 8 1/2 tips for how to write opening and closing lines readers will love to quote, and Jami Gold lists 3 steps to raising story stakes.

How do you “show” something internal to your character? Kristen Lamb shows how to manifest inner demons outwardly.

Once we have written, writers must revise. Shay Goodman lays out steps to revising your manuscript, and Lauren Schmelz explains why we can’t trust spell check to catch everything.

Life can get in the way of art. Martina Boone explores what to do when the real world is so emotionally draining that you can’t write, and Sue Weems shares 5 sneaky ways to steal time to write.


Writing is an art, but publishing is a business. Carla King compares Ingram Spark and Createspace royalties so you can make an informed decision.

If you are traditionally published, you always have sales numbers hanging over your head. Janet Reid discusses staying published with lackluster sales.

Ever thought you wanted to be an agent? Janet Reid tells you the first thing you need to understand if you want to be an agent.

Many authors want to maintain some privacy even while their career takes them into the public eye. Janet Reid explains whether or how a pseudonym can help you stay private in public.

Marketing is everything you do online and in public. Your author photo is a big part of that marketing—but they can be so expensive. Sandra Beckwith gives tips on how to get inexpensive author photos that wows. If you can hitch your wagon to someone else’s horse to improve your sales, so much the better! Joan Stewart explains how to hitch a ride on someone else’s holiday to sell more books. And Maddie Dawson looks at the answer to the often-fraught question: What kind of fiction do you write?

Online is the main place to meet your customers these days. Anne R. Allen discusses what an author should blog about, while Andrea Dunlop shares 5 better approaches for social media use.


Amy Krouse Rosenthal writes a heartfelt column on why you may want to marry her husband 10 days before she dies of cancer.

Beauty and the Beast is lighting up the silver screens right now, but Beauty and the Beast has a storied, international folk history.

At one time in history, bookstores did not exist. James Lackington changed all that with The Cheapest Bookstore in the World in 18th century London.

Letters are voices from the past. The many letters of Abigail and John Adams shows their mutual respect, and the new website Epistolae shares Medieval women’s letters.

Explore the Book-of-the-Month Club’s beginnings, and it’s recent revival.

Check out the Aberdeen Bestiary online, and the first 100 Polonsky pre-1200 manuscripts.

The BBC investigates: Did Jane Austen become virtually blind because of arsenic poisoning?

Amanda Nelson brings us a literary map of the world, and Courtney Gorter has every author on your English syllabus, summed up in a single sentence.

If you are reading this blog, you love books. Here are 20 problems only book lovers understand, and 20 quotes from children’s books every adult should know.

If you are looking to find new books to read, especially books outside your normal groove, Frances Campbell suggests some ways to turn over a new leaf.

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


  1. Some great ideas in your roundup! And of course I appreciate the link to my post. Thanks 😀


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