Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | April 19, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers and Readers 04-19-2018

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Now that our taxes are done (on time, I hope), we can all get back to writing and reading.

If you’re looking for something good to read, Natasha Onwuemezi reports that novelist Andrew Sean Greer and poet Frank Bidart are among this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners, and Literary Hub‘s Book Marks catalogs the previous Pulitzer fiction winners in the 21st century. In addition, María Cristina García Lynch shares the Book Riot recommendations of 45+ favorite groundbreaking women writers.

Have you ever lent a book to a friend who never returned it? Or were you the one who forgot to return a book? Erin Bartnett asks librarians about rules for lending books to friends.

Several authors shared their own experiences: Michael A. Ferro writes about how his first novel brought him out of the dark, new Pulitzer Prize winner Andrew Sean Greer looks at the novels he almost wrote, and Thomas Swick comments about the long path to publication: it only takes one acceptance to negate dozens of rejections.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, books, Jessica Ruscello

Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash



Looking for advice about writing? Emily Temple shares writing advice from Gabriel García Márquez, Roni Loren explains where she gets her ideas (and feeding your idea engine), James Scott Bell counsels don’t be satisfied with competence, and Mark Alpert praises writing groups.

In addition, Lisa Cron sets out how to keep writing when that critical inner voice won’t shut up, and Janice Hardy focuses on the easiest way to get more writing done, while Colleen M. Story wonders if it’s unhealthy to be a workaholic writer.

It’s important for writers to keep their readers in mind. Janice Hardy discusses addressing the reader directly in your narrative, and Kristen Lamb shares 3 tips to catch and keep your audience.

One thing we writers rarely put much thought into is font. Lee Wind explores fonts to inspire you.

Nathan Bransford explains why it’s important to know your book’s genre. If mystery is your genre, Elaine Viets clears up the the difference between cozies and cutesies, and John Gilstrap reveals the truth about silencers. E. L. Skip Knox examines history for fantasy writers: the use of money. Finally, for those writing non-fiction, Roz Morris shares an interview with Jane Davis on handling real-life disasters sensitively in fiction.

Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, getting your facts straight is vital. Kristen Lamb agrees that research matters: the devil is always in the details.

Jami Gold considers reader connections, fake personas, and catfishing.

For those working on character development, Zoe M. McCarthy delves into wounded heroines as strong female characters, Kathryn Craft shares 13 ways to engage your reader with a despicable character, and Robin LaFevers talks about mining our characters wounds.

Stavros Halvatzis shows how to write essential backstory elements.

Peter Selgin asserts that in storytelling, never state what you can imply and explores two kinds of narrative suspense: true and false.

K. M. Weiland continues with your ultimate first chapter checklist, Part 2: writing the opening scene.

When you get to the revision stage, Janice Hardy lays out 11 ways revising a novel is like remodeling a house, and Lynne Murphy asserts that the English language isn’t logical.

K. M. Weiland evaluates the new Scrivener 3.0: should you upgrade?


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, writer's tools, Dustin Lee

Photo by Dustin Lee on Unsplash



For those looking for representation, Janet Reid mentions why it’s important to include an author bio in a query, and Dan Smith lists 5 ways to pitch a book to media.

Marketing can be a complicated process. Joan Stewart looks at 9 ways a crappy book cover can sabotage your marketing campaign, while Bob Hostetler writes about launching your book: making much ado of your new book, and Gail Carriger provides the 10 best packing tips for authors going to a writing event.

Jami Gold takes a look at when you totally change your brand.

If you’re looking for social media tips: Barb Drozdowich discusses 4 easy ways not to look like a dork on social media, and BlueInk Review sets out how to promote a young adult novel on social media. In addition, Frances Caballo provides 16 tips to boost your Facebook engagement, and Sandra Beckwith discusses the declining status of LinkedIn groups.

Author websites can be important promotion and sales tools. John Burke goes over what you should put on your author website, and Steven Spatz reveals how to improve your author website.

An author blog can also be helpful. Darren Rowse explores how to republish old blog posts and how to write a series for your blog and explains why you’ll want to do both.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, laptop with notepad and coffee, Andrew Neel

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash



David Ulin explains how small, scrappy local book presses have turned L.A. into a publishing town.

The Guardian‘s Maev Kennedy reports that Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s remains have been rediscovered in a wine cellar.

In The Paris Review, Stephanie LaCava shares the illicit love letters between Albert Camus and Maria Casares.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Join us next week for another roundup of informative posts.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, pencil on journal, Jan Kahánek

Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash



  1. Thanks for the blog love, J. Thomas–and the other great resources you’ve supplied for us all!
    -Fae Rowen


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: