Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 28, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 09-28-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Hard to believe it is already the last Top Picks in September.

Check out the longlist for the 2017 National Book Awards for Young People’s Literature.

Got a young reader who is reluctant? Try these 19 little tricks guaranteed to get your kids to read.

Celebrate 150 years of illustrator Arthur Rackham, who brought children’s books to life.

With the world feeling on edge these days, take a look at James Baldwin’s lesson for teachers in a time of turmoil.

We at the Author Chronicles love a good library! Frederick Wiseman’s movie Ex Libris is a vivd portrait of NYC’s libraries, and Katherine Rivard has a bibliophile’s guide to National Park Libraries in America.

For Banned Book Week, Christine Hauser brings us the top 10 banned books of 2016.

Andrew Stern tells us what writers need to know about taxes.

Always on the lookout for publishing opportunities? Investigate these 10 major book publishers always open to submissions.


Authors wear a lot of hats these days, and there are tools to help us get things done. Martn Cavannagh shares 7 online tools for writers and authors, and Ian Hooper has 6 tips to help indie authors format a print book with Word.

Writers deal with craft skills large and small. Lesley A. Diehl discusses serious themes in cozy mysteries, Liz Rufiange lists 7 types of conflict found in books readers obsess over, and Julie Moffett shares 8 tips on writing a series.

Other elements of stories include structure and metaphor. Jami Gold investigates what a story’s climax should include, Mary Kole looks at subplots, Kristen Lamb handles flashbacks, and Stavros Halvatizis explores visual metaphors.

Aside from all those overarching elements, authors have to get the details right. Amber Massey has 5 tips for creating fictional languages, E.L. Skip Knox tells us how to cross a river, Jeffrey “Hammerhead” Philips gives us tips on writing an underwater scene, and Linda Kang shares a historical novel research to-do list.

Character building and world building are intertwined skills. Mary Kole talks about creating compelling consequences for characters, E.M.A. Timar shows how to use clichés as building blocks to character, and Holly West describes world-building through your characters’ eyes.

Editing is vital to writing well, so it’s important to do it right. Sarah Moore tells us when NOT to hire an editor, Jeff Lyons has questions to ask before hiring an editor, Joel Friedlander gives us all we need to know about hyphens, em-dashes, and en-dashes; Anna Davis discusses how to effectively read your first draft for review, and Zoe M. McCarthy explores automated editing tools.

We are all trying to be more creative, more productive, and still stay sane. Ruth Harris describes 6 ways process goals help us write our book and stay sane, Dr. Chris Gilbert talks about how creativity can help you be healthier, and science suggests happy music for writer’s block.

Examining successful authors can help us map our own career. Ellen McCarthy talks to author Sandra Boynton, and Frederick Johnson shares 5 ways J.K. Rowling can help you improve your writing.


Susan Spann advises about the hidden danger of short-form contracts in publishing.

Authors need to know a lot about publishing these days, particularly if you are an indie author. Amy Collins explains why you shouldn’t limit your book distribution, Melinda Clayton finds out if you need different ISBNs for CreateSpace and Ingram, and Janet Reid tells us what a “writer’s CV” is.

Clare Langley-Hawthorne discusses how to craft a saleable premise, Pamela Hodges has 3 keys to avoid the rejection pile, and Janet Reid tells us if we should reveal a book’s secret in a query.

Marketing is a major part of an author’s career now. C. Hope Clark examines how to go from author to sales person, Mark Ellis shows how persistence can lead to book placements, Crystal Burton walks us through how to host a cover reveal, Frances Caballo tells us how to host a Goodreads giveaway, and Diana Forbes has 7 ways to create buzz for your book.

The internet is a great way to connect with your readers. Colin Newcomer shares 4 content upgrade plugins and tools for WordPress, Frances Caballo lists 3 ways to use hashtags as an author, Larry Alton explains how to establish your brand on Pinterest and make it popular, and Sherry Ficklin has 5 easy steps to hone your Instagram.


Examine the heartbreaking keepsake book made by a Jewish teen in 1941 for his boyfriend before the teen was murdered at Auschwitz.

Sometimes walking in the footsteps of an author can bring new insight. Alex Ross takes a walk in Willa Cather’s prairie.

Most writers are avid readers. Adiba Jaigirdar has 5 tips for reading multiple books at one time, and Emily Shwake shares 6 practical book hacks every reader will love.

Claudine van Hensberg explains why the Jane Austen £10 extends a “ladylike” history of British money.

You can visit a reproduction of Sir Terry Pratchett’s study at the Salibury Museum.

How one author at the turn of the century popularized football for white, wealthy boys.

The State Archives of North Carolina brings us an article about deciphering early American 17th-18th century handwriting.

In 1911, Gertrude Bell wrote a diary of her journey from Damascus to Aleppo via Baghdad, and the diary has now been digitized for all to read.

The convoluted history of the Ampersand.

“A” might be for “Apple” now, but once upon a time children used to learn about death and damnation with their ABCs.

Writer Upton Sinclair almost became the first elected celebrity politician when he ran for governor of California.

Even with all the words we have, sometimes it’s hard to find the right one. Researchers want to revive these 30 antiquated English words.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s childhood fascination with dragons gave us one of the most memorable villains ever in The Hobbit.

The true crime story of Mary Voce, who inspired writer George Eliot.

An infographic that explores Mary Wollstonecraft’s legacy.

These bookmobiles used real horsepower! Meet the women who rode miles on horseback to deliver library books.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’ll see you in October!

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