Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 5, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers and Readers 04-05-2018

Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of April! Let’s spring into this week’s writerly links.

Avery Udagawa shares stats on women in translation in children’s books.

Libraries do a lot of great things. Danielle Bourgon shares a love letter to the library hold system, and Katherine Davis-Young explains why so many public libraries are now giving out seeds.

Roz Morris has 3 creative writing exercises to help you read like an author from Reedsy, while David Crotty lauds Dolly Parton: champion of literacy.

In these times, Frances Caballo shows us how to tighten your Facebook security settings.

Since April is National Poetry Month, we have a few poetry links: Katy Ilonka Gero wonders if machines can translate poetry when humans barely can, Katharine Grubb lists the top 10 ways poetry is better than food, Alexis Smithers gives us 100 of her favorite poets for your survival pack, and Cassidy Foust has collections to read during national poetry month.


We talk mostly about novels here, because that’s what we write, but there are  lot of different types of writing available out there. Kellie Doherty takes a look at flash fiction, Nathan Bransford tells us how to turn a blog into a book, and Roz Morris exposes the secret life of book ghostwriters.

Structure is the hidden skeleton that supports your story. Mary Kole shows how to write compelling opening pages, Peter Selgin demonstrates how to craft setup and payoffs in scenes, Lori Freeland says to frame your scenes with essay structure, and Jami Gold explores if a story can still be compelling with a “quiet” back moment.

Structure may be hidden, but your character is the public face of your story. Lesley Nneha Arimah sketches how to create a character in short fiction, Melissa Bowersock reminds us to be true to our characters, Tamar Sloan recommends deepening character complexity with the help of psychology, and Jane Friedman says your characters don’t have to change to be compelling.

There’s so much that goes into writing a good story, from world-building to the words we choose. Adam Bassett shows how eating habits and their social impacts contributes to world building. K.M. Weiland guides us in choosing between plain prose and beautiful prose, Dawn Field reminds us that context is everything when choosing words, and James Scott Bell tells how to pack more punch in your prose.

The ending is as important as your opening, because you want people to be so happy with it that they want to read your next book! James Preston asks if your story should have a happy ending, while Janice Hardy explores what makes a good ending.

Writers’ stories get judged all the time, starting with the editing process. Barbara O’Neal talks about dealing with judgment, Melissa Donovan examines the adage that writing is rewriting, Mignon Fogarty delves into the two spaces after a period change, and Anne R. Allen explores when it really is okay to say goodbye to a work in progress.

Emily Temple shares essential writing advice from Virginia Woolf, Sharon Mesmer muses about the time her ex made her the villain in his novel, and John J. Kelley asks what mystery propels your novel?

Every writer wants to boost their productivity. Laura Heffernan says to quiz your fear to get writing again, Melissa Donovan shows how to develop better writing habits, and Janice Hardy says that writing in chunks can make you a more productive writer.


Jim Milliot looks at publishers confronting slow growth.

Smashwords announces that it is entering the audiobook market, and Anna Castle tells us how to choose a narrator for our self-published audiobook no matter what platform we use.

Nathan Bransford advises how to decide where to publish your books when self-publishing.

Janet Reid covers how to handle when you have the same name as someone else, as well as what to do with artwork for your adult novel.

Marketing is how you let people know about your book. Jyotsna Ramachamdran shares 6 top ways for indie authors to make self-published books more discoverable and more competitive on Amazon, Reedsy has 50 book marketing ideas, Sarah Bolme gives us book marketing tips for technologically challenged authors, and Craig Terlson tells us how to make bookstore appearances 10 times more interesting.

Technology plays a big role in marketing today. Janes Friedman discusses a smarter author platform for the digital era of publishing, Steven Spatz says to focus on these 5 details to realize your bestseller potential, Nathan Bransford talks about social media for authors, and Judith Briles lays out some options to keep social media from being such a time suck.


Electric Literature has a handy chart to automatically generate a pitch for a new novel when you’re stuck.

Janet Frishberg says it’s okay to give up on mediocre books because we’re all going to die.

Emily Temple guides us how to visit the graves of 75 famous writers.

Lincoln Michel shares the 10 strangest crimes in fiction.

Jess McHugh looks into the nationalist roots of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.

And here are your April 2018 horoscopes and book recommendations.

That’s all for this week’s Top Pick Thursday! We’ll see you next week for more informative and fun links.


  1. You’ve collected some great resources for us, and we’re happy you included James Preston’s post and Lori Freeland’s post. Thanks for the blog love, Kerry.


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