Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | January 25, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writer and Readers 01-25-2018

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday!

Three weeks into the new year, Jane Friedman wonders what opportunities 2018 may hold for writers, and agent Laurie McLean offers publishing predictions for 2018.

Libraries are important in many ways. Xhenet Aliu reveals how being a librarian makes her a better writer, and Lisa Eve Cheybe asserts that funding libraries is the way to beat “fake news”.

In a thought-provoking article, Jonathan Ely asks: is creativity finally dead?

It’s award season. SCBWI’s Lee Wind announces the 2017 Golden Kite Award and Sid Fleischman Humor Award winning books, and BookRiot‘s Leah Rachel Von Essen reports that The National Book Critics Circle Awards have named their 2017 finalists.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, snow in woods



With a new year of conferences and conventions coming up, Bob Hostetler shares seven tips for your next writers’ conference, and John G. Harkness reveals ten things you need to know about going to conventions as a writer.

A writing life has its ups and downs. Beth Leslie shares 4 ways to keep your writing confidence high, Kathryn Craft discusses becoming a “real” writer, and Judith Briles recommends building an author inner circle to help you stay the course.

A number of writers advocate writing exercises. Some mean that literally. Scott McCormick says a good walk may be the best writing exercise there is, and Cathy Lamb takes a look at why writers should head into the woods.

If you’re thinking of a change in genre, Elizabeth Randolph explores transitioning from non-fiction writing to fiction.

Working on the beginning of your book? Polly Iyer elaborates on why the beginning of your novel is important, and Bill Ferris offers the hack’s guide to writing a perfect first chapter.

Jami Gold delves into writing your worldview: biases and beyond, while Gay Yellen explores writing killer suspense, and Chris von Halle provides 5 lessons on writing humor.

For those in the novel planning stage, Janice Hardy discusses plotting a novel: the big picture vs. single scenes. If you’re doing world-building, E. L. Skip Knox continues his history for writers series with a post on barber surgeons.

Regarding characters, Margot Kinberg reflects on behind-the-scene characters who have a lot of influence, especially in mysteries, and Lisa Cron asks: what does your protagonist want before the story starts?

John Gilstrap considers internal monologue, while Jordan Dane lays out 5 key ways to balance internal monologue, with pitfalls to avoid.

Ready to revise? Bob Hostetler advises fixing these 16 potholes on Grammar Street, and when you’ve corrected all you can on your own, Brooke Warner stresses 5 things to consider when hiring an editor.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, snow and trees along the road



Authors should know how many books they’ve sold. Steve Laube investigates how to count lifetime book sales.

Worried about brand and platform? Porter Anderson writes about platform redux: after the fire and fury, while Jami Gold asks what’s the voice of your brand?

In publishing news, Nate Hoffelder reveals that CreateSpace is getting out of offering publishing services like editing, marketing, and design; Business Wire reports that Barnes & Noble announces Barnes & Noble Press, an enhanced, more user-friendly self-publishing suite.

For Indie authors, Joel Friedlander gives a quick look at the fine art of book spine design, which is too often neglected, and Melissa Bowersock details how Reedsy may help authors and publishers find the professional help they need for their books.

To enhance your social media savvy, Stephanie Chandler explains how to promote your non-fiction book with online groups, Sandra Beckwith specifies how not to act in a Facebook group, and Yvonne Hertzberger asks authors with websites: do you know who owns your domain name?



BookRiot‘s Christine Ro lists 11 reasons to shelve your books backward, and Ashlie Swicker suggests taking book selfies to the next level with the Google Arts and Culture app.

Literary Hub‘s Emily Temple shares great advice from 25 writing manuals by famous writers.

Valerie Stivers recommends cooking from sixteenth-century fairy tales and includes some recipes to try.

The Guardian‘s Alison Flood tells how John Lithgow’s show prompts a surge in demand for an out-of-print W. Somerset Maugham anthology.

Joe Berkowitz shares 9 amazing Ursula K. Le Guin moments that remind us she was a superhero.

And with that, we end this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Join us next week on the first day of February for a new batch of links.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, sunset and snow



  1. Thank you very much for including my post 🙂


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