Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 9, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 11-09-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Changing the clocks back this week gave us an extra hour to search for writerly links for you.

Tim Falconer reflects on what we lost when Leonard Cohen gave up writing fiction.

Piracy is something that impacts every writer. Martin Puchner explains how a ripped-off sequel of Don Quixote predicted piracy in the digital age. Meanwhile, author Maggie Stiefvater shows how piracy hurts authors in the real world.

Literacy is a life-long process. Maureen Pao explores how free books boost early literacy, Scotland uses therapy dogs in reading class to boost pupils’ literacy, and check out this list of 6 badass YA books to read this fall.

We’re deep in National Novel Writing Month. Kristen Lamb tells us how NaNoWriMo is training to go pro and stay pro, while Chuck Wendig shares a saucy recipe for NaNoWriMo success.


There are many different elements to get write in your story. Chase Burke explores constraint as a method of surprise, Jeff Shear talks about what writers can learn about voice from opera, Lisa Hall-Wilson discusses deep POV and hidden messages in subtext, and Stavros Halvatzis shows how to write a strong story ending.

Compelling characters power your story. Angela Ackerman tells us how to brainstorm your character’s emotional wound, John J. Kelly examines ties that bind and define: the family of your protagonist, and Janice Hardy discusses how to tell if that throwaway character is really a star.

Every word counts in writing. K.M. Weiland shows the dangers of purple prose (and how to avoid it), while Dawn Field has 7 attributes of exquisite writing.

Every writing form has its own rules. Georgia Clark walks us through how to write your first fiction novel for adults, Janice Hardy shares 6 things to consider before writing a series, and Nathan Bransford shows how to write a novel synopsis.

J.K. Rowling has 8 rules of writing, and Kathryn Craft muses on beginnings, middles, and endings.


Hopefully your publishing road will be fairly smooth, but in case it’s not, Kourtney Heintz gives us 6 tips to survive a writing disaster.

Ellen Duffer reports that bookstores see record-low August sales. Which prompts Steve Laube to exclaim: Retail is dead! Or is it?

Jane Friedman discusses the conflicting advice you’ll receive about query letters.

Marketing can seem to take over your life. Belinda Griffin tells us how to overcome overwhelm with better marketing ways, Savvy Book Writers gives us 9 steps to take advantage of time savers, Sandra Beckwith reminds us to not stop with the book launch, and Kimberly Grabas shows how to convert potential readers into buyers.

Part of marketing is knowing how to talk about your book eloquently. Paul Geiger explains how to talk about your book, and Judith Briles has 3 questions to help you talk about your book.

Marketing has many details to get right. Bob Denzer shares secrets of the book designer: creating something from nothing; Sydney Mathieu shares 5 tips for budgeting book promotion, R.J. Crayton tells us how to keep your back matter up to date, and Michael Larsen has 11 ways to prove your book will sell by test marketing it.

The internet is the main way we connect with people these days. Chris Syme tells us how to tame the social media beast, Elna Cain has 9 quick ways to grow your email list using social media, and Paul Cunningham walks us through how to create an efficient contact page that boosts your productivity.


While typos in our manuscript make us groan, here are 19 grammar fails that will make you shake your head then laugh out loud.

The dangers of “biggering”: why Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax is as relevant as ever.

Cristian Mihai examines the paintings of famous writers.

Learn how Winnie-the-Pooh became a household name.

Delve into the poetic tale of literary outlaw Black Bart.

Kerry Mansfield showcases borrowing history: “expired” library books in pictures.

Laugh at ancient literature as Onion headlines.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was, like many Victorians, fascinated by Mormons.

Explore the mysterious murder case that inspired Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace.

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


  1. Thanks for the shout out! (And PS, it’s “Sandra,” not “Sarah” Beckwith.

    : )


    • You’re welcome! We love your blog. And I fixed your name. The perils of blogging at midnight!


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