Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 12, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 10-12-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We are almost at the midpoint of October, so it’s past time to start thinking about November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Awards lists are pouring in: 2017 National Book Award finalists, 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature predictions, BBC National Short Story Award goes to Cynan Jones, and Northwestern professor and poet Natasha Trethewey wins the $250,000 Heinz Award in Arts and Humanities.

How Glory Edim took Well-Read Black Girl from a homemade t-shirt to a literary movement.

See how a group of “bookworms, retired librarians, grassroots organizers, [and] historic preservationists” saved the Midtown Manhattan Library.

A deeper look into the making (and unmaking) of a 23-hour New York Times best seller.

Debbie Young says to start planning for NaNoWriMo now, K.M. Weiland has a guide to outlining success for NaNoWriMo, and Maggie Wells shares 5 tips for making the most of NaNoWriMo.

Thinking about crowdfunding your project? James Haight has what authors need to know about crowdfunding.

SCBWI tells us how to help Puerto Rico.


Wondering if your YA idea will fly? Cyndy Etler finds out what teens want to read.

Writers must put the whole package together to write a compelling novel—beginning, middle, and end. Janice Hardy has 4 ways to jumpstart your novel, Zoe M. McCarthy reminds us that a great story is more than a string of interesting events, K.M. Weiland lists 4 reasons you’re confused about scene structure, C.S. Lakin explains the dark night moment, and Sara Ridley examines 10 ways to end your novel.

We can have all the structure in the world, but without compelling characters our stories won’t grab the reader. Angela Ackerman asks that your villain have well-developed motivations, Khadijah Lacina shows how to bring a character to life through costume, and Donald Maass explores worldbuilding from the inside out.

Once we’ve written, the editing starts. Rachel Stout shows us some common mistakes writers make, Steve Laube examines the grammatical correctness of the singular “they”, and Mary Kole helps authors find critique partners with her latest Critique Connection.

Writing the book blurb can be one of the hardest tasks writers face. Cait Reynolds demystifies the book blurb.

Kristen Lamb explains why we all need mentors and experts at some points of our writing journey, and Harlan Coben has 5 writing tips for us.

There’s a lot of psychology involved with being a writer. Kristen Kieffer asks if you’re ready to conquer writing overwhelm, James Scott Bell muses on empathy, and Anne R. Allen wonders when you can start to call yourself a “real” writer.


Authors make more money when they cut out the middle man. David Wogahn tells us what to consider when selling ebooks on your own website.

Writers have more choices than ever for publishing these days. Chuck Sambuchino has 4 questions to help you decide if you should self-publish or try to get an agent.

Marketing can be a weight on a lot of writers’ shoulders. Belinda Griffin explains how authors can stop worrying and learn to love book marketing, Sandra Beckworth shares 5 marketing tasks in 5 minutes, Blueink Review has 5 ways attending a publishing conference can help indie authors, and Sharon Bially gives us one important question you may not be asking your publicist.

Amazon and social media can be a powerful combination for book marketing. Sarah Bolme tells us how to make the most of your Amazon Author Page, Jordan Dane discusses Amazon Stores and Amazon Marketing Services, Amy Collins shows how to get reviews, and Belinda Griffin explains how an introvert can crush it on social media.


Since it is October, Emily Temple gives us the 40 creepiest book covers of all time.

There is science behind our search for Waldo.

A startup company is teaching endangered languages.

A printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon sells for $35 million.

James Patterson and Bill Clinton’s forthcoming thriller The President is Missing is set to be adapted to TV.

Read the newly discovered Kurt Vonnegut story, and the history behind it.

Two musician sisters claim to have solved the musical mystery in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.

As sometimes happens, the most “realistic” Civil War novel was written three decades after it ended.

Like secret codes? Check out these hobo signs and code symbols you didn’t know existed.

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

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