Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 26, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For writers & readers 04-26-2018

Welcome to the last Top Picks Thursday of April! Today is National Poem in Your Pocket Day, National Kids and Pets Day, National Pretzel Day, and National Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day. Celebrate any and all that apply to you!

It’s still National Poetry Month! Kate Bubcz shares 12 portraits of poets that show sides you wouldn’t expect, and CrimeReads gathers 26 crime authors who are also poets.

Many bloggers focused on author rights this week. Kathryn Goldman explains how to protect your unpublished writing, Nathan Bransford has your author rights in a nutshell, and John Doppler reports on a new form of plagiarism—impersonation.

Reading is pivotal to our work. Sarah S. Davis on how she lost her love of reading and found herself again, Romeo Rosales discusses only reading books whose covers are visually appealing, and Nick Ripatrazone says sometimes the best way to read is to mark up the book.

If you’re looking for something to read, try PBS’ America’s 100 most loved books, LitHub’s 12 books guaranteed to make you cry, or revisit Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which is both scientific landmark and literature.

Calling all writing service providers! Mary Kole is compiling a resource for authors and is seeking writing service providers to add to her list.


Structure and plotting are elements of story that aren’t obvious to the reader, but are crucial to a successful book. Janice Hardy explores 5 ways to structure and plot your novel and asks where your novel’s conflict comes from, while Roz Morris tells us how to write a good plot using the four Cs.

Your first chapter has to hook your reader in many ways. Kristen Lamb examines why we love a good mystery, and K.M. Weiland gives us the ultimate first chapter checklist for introducing the story.

Interesting villains can become iconic villains. Becca Puglisi described how to create a redeemable villain, and Margie Lawson reveals how to make all your character descriptions fresh and vivid.

We all want to save money on editing. Val Breit gives us editing for frugal self-publishers (that will work for anybody), Kristen Lamb has 7 self-editing tips to tighten story and cut costs, and Kathryn Craft asks you if you are emotionally ready for a developmental edit.

Every writer’s process is different, but we can learn what works for us by listening to what works for others. Lauren Schmelz describes writing a book according to Pinterest, P.H. Solomon touts the benefits of dictation, and Stephanie Vozza shows how these 4 different personality types find motivation.

Jessica Wood has 6 characteristics of a great fantasy writer, Zoe M. McCarthy discusses what a writer can learn from reading book reviews, Oren Ashkenazi explains why the term “Mary Sue” should be retired, and Martha Alderson examines the emotional ebb and flow of a creative life.


Self-publishers need to understand all aspects of the business. Stephanie Chandler discusses Amazon out-of-stock issues and the pros and cons of publishing with IngramSpark vs. CreateSpace, and Joel Friedlander explains the color of type pages in your book.

There are good reasons to use a pen name—including Elizabeth Segran’s investigation that shows authors with male names earn more money. AuthorityPub looks at how to choose a pen name for yourself.

If you are pitching to agents and publishers, they want to know your comp titles. These are titles similar to your book to give them an idea of the style and theme of the book and where it might be placed in a bookstore. Nathan Bransford tells us how to come up with good comp titles, while Janet Reid advises on comping an adult novel to YA novels.

When pitching to agents and publishers, you may be asked for a book proposal. To that end, Sophie Masson talks about the art and the craft of the book proposal.

Writers already know how hard it is to get reviews. Anne R. Allen examines how Amazon’s draconian new crackdown on scam reviews is hurting real reviewers—and making reviews for authors that much harder.

Marketing is more than book reviews. Dave Chesson shares essential marketing tactics for children’s authors, and Sandra Beckwith suggests using wacky May holidays as promotion opportunities.

To free or not to free—that is the question. Shawn Inmon examines the past and the present usefulness of free ebooks, and David Kudler debates the plusses and minuses of free ebooks and shows how to make your book free on Amazon.

When marketing online, we have so many options. Sarah Wigal tells us what social media authors should use, Scott La Counte sets out 8 social media goals for authors, Darren Rowse explains how (and why) to write a series for your blog, and Frances Caballo shares 10 tips for getting the most out of your Twitter header.


Got lots of books? Callie Ryan Brimberry shares the top 5 creative ways to display your books.

Does your workspace fuel your creativity? Emily Shawke shows us the desks of 8 inspiring, creative women—songwriters, novelists, interior decorators, and illustrators.

Emily Temple lists 10 things you should know about lists on the internet.

Catherine Reid discusses the magical landscapes of Prince Edward Island in Anne of Green Gables.

Jane Austen tackles mansplaining, and Mathew H. Birkhold explores why so many judges cite Jane Austen in legal decisions.

That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’ll see you next week for the first roundup of May!

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