Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 3, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 08-03-2017

Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of August! For those writer-parents with young children at home for the summer, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Dana Canedy has been named the next administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, the first woman and first person of color to hold the position.

Although not an author, George Romero inspired many writers. Keith DeCandido shares writers’ memories of George A. Romero.

Andrew Mitchell Davenport discusses Jean Toomer’s Cane, and wonders, “How does this 1920s novel hewn from reflections on racial terrorism remain so terribly relevant, and how do those who worship whiteness continue to sow and feed on fear?”

It seems counter-intuitive, but Millennials are the ones keeping libraries alive. And if you’re in Prague, check out the Clementinum, the most beautiful library in the world.

We all know that reading is good for your emotional health, but here are 11 ways being a reader is super useful for your career, and 7 reasons that being a slow reader is actually a good thing.

Helen Sedwick debunks 5 legal myths writers still fall for.

China is known for censorship, but this time they’ve gone too far. See why Chinese censors are targeting…Winnie-the-Pooh.


So you wrote a stand-alone book, but now readers are demanding more. Ellen Kushner has tips on writing a sequel when you didn’t plan to write a sequel.

Laying the groundwork for your novel is important. One thing to consider are story tropes. Jami Gold looks at whether story tropes are lazy or helpful to writers. Openings cue readers into what sort of story they are in for, so Tina Ann Forkner describes how to make a grand opening.

Once we decide on what story we want to tell, we have to decide how to tell it. Janice Hardy give advice on figuring out the plot, while Heather Webb reminds us that every good book is a mystery—even when it’s not.

Description can make or break a story. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi share description checklists and tip sheets to help you get it right, while Phyllis Richardson takes a look at the real buildings behind Pemberley, Manderley, and Howard’s End.

Characters make the whole story gel. K.M. Weiland has 5 tips for writing a likable “righteous” character, while Jeanne Harrell is all about blowing up your point of view.

Fantasy often relies on Medieval norms, but Oren Ashkenazi looks at 6 ways rapid communication changes a fantasy setting.

Professional opinions of your story matter. Getting manuscript feedback from an agent is valuable—if you ask the right questions. Janet Reid gives us questions to ask at a conference manuscript evaluation. And Steve Laube answers the question: should you hire a freelance editor?

Chelsey Pippin shares 18 things every young writer should know, Sarah Moore has 1 simple technique to improve your writing in 10 minutes a day, and Ruth Harris discusses living with the discomfort of being a writer—and succeeding anyway.

Taking a look inside the lives of other authors can be informative. Rebecca Stott talks about growing up in a Christian cult, while Sue Shanahan investigates the world of William Joyce.


Michele Cobb shares 5 reasons audiobook sales are booming and how you can be a part of this growth, and Angela Quarles tells us how to pick the narrator for your audiobook.

Amazon is able to do its own reader analytics, but most publishers can’t get that information. Enter Jellybooks, who now focuses on reader analytics for their clients.

Ever wonder what it takes to self-publish a literary novel? Nicole Dieker bares all as she crunches the numbers for her self-published literary novel launch.

Beth Bacon pulls back the curtain and gives us an 8-stage ebook project workflow checklist for self-published authors for after the manuscript is done.

Distribution is key to selling books. Amy Collins looks at the pros and cons of going exclusively with a single distribution outlet.

Many people have stories to tell that just aren’t commercially viable. Janet Reid has found outlets and purpose for non-commercial memoirs.

It takes a lot to market successfully. Lisa Tener has 9 keys to clarifying the target market, Carolyn Howard-Johnson lists 15 book publicity commandments, Matt Aird tells us why we should market to grow author platform rather than sell books, and Drew Chial shows how NOT to hold an author event.

Your website/blog is your author focal point online. Jami Gold discusses how to make a reader-friendly website, Ben Steele tells how to pitch a guest post to a blog, and Jim Stewart has 5 essential blog foundations for strong SEO.

Social media is a big way writers connect with readers. Savvy Book Writers describes how we can get the most out of social media, Alycia W. Morales has 10 easy ways to promote others and 5 advanced ways to promote others, and Frances Caballo clues us in on some recent social media changes.


Tracy Shapley looks at 7 literary weddings that will melt your bookish heart.

All Jane Austen, all the time: 5 things to know about Bath, Jane Austen’s home and inspiration; follow Jane Austen’s footsteps with this interactive map, meet people in Jane Austen’s worldwide fan club, and read about the word choices that explain why Jane Austen endures.

Maybe the Austen hoopla is because England is putting Jane Austen on a banknote. Here’s 5 women writers the US could put on our banknotes.

Agatha Christie wrote letters to her editor, and they reveal the author’s outspoken temper.

The tides have turned since the Brontë sisters and George Eliot were publishing under manly names: Men are now adopting androgynous pen names to sell psychological thrillers.

Read Granville Hicks’ 1952 review of Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel.

Meryl Cates investigates Zelda Fitzgerald’s “frequently overlooked” obsession with ballet.

An anonymous artist is Photoshopping kids’ books with NSFW titles.

When a New York rivalry over Shakespeare boiled over into a deadly riot.

We all use makeshift bookmarks from time to time. Margaret Kingsbury shares 5 things you maybe shouldn’t use as bookmarks.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Join us next week for more writerly links!

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