Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 10, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For writers & readers 05-10-2018

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Mother’s Day is this weekend—how many writer-moms just want some writing time for Mother’s Day?

Annie Prouix wins Library of Congress prize for American fiction.

The Obama Presidential Center will be the first to include a branch of the public library. For more run-of-the-mill libraries, however, Kristen Arnett argues that “the customer is always right” might be wrong.

Meet the black women at Kensington Publishing who are upending the romance novel industry.

You may have heard about the new rule out of the European Union that has many businesses in a tizzy. Trouble is, it will impact authors, too. Kharma Kelley has what authors need to know about the new EU law, and Barb Drozdowich has further information about authors and GDPR.


We mostly discuss writing our own work here, but there are other ways you can use your way with words to forward your career. Cathy Yardley discusses the perks and perils of being a ghostwriter, while Jules Horne tells us how to earn money writing for business.

There’s a vast spectrum of genres out there. Today, Otto Penzler defines the hard-boiled crime novel.

A good skeleton leads to a good story. Anne R. Allen has 10 tips on how to write a publishable first novel, Donald Maass talks about authenticity vs. outline, and Janice Hardy shows how to create plots that don’t feel like accidents.

Fleshing out that skeleton requires a myriad of craft skills. Angela Ackerman demonstrates how to write an effective scene with One Stop for Writers’ formal scene map, Dawn Field gives us 5 ways to improve your verbal imagery, and Melissa Donovan tackles homophones.

Characters and their point of view guide the reader through the story. September C. Fawkes shows how to convey established character relationships quickly, Nils Odlund introduces character agency for beginners, Jami Gold explains why head hopping is considered lazy writing, K.M. Weiland explores several POV problems, and Fae Rowan talks about world building using POV.

Once we’ve written, we must edit. Tori Eldridge rounds up editing advice from editors, while Craig Tuch delineates beta readers vs. editors vs. ARCs.

All writers have their own process, and it usually involves some emotional ups and downs. Therese Walsh demystifies why you think your writing is brilliant one day and horrible the next, Greer Macallister wonders if you should read while you write, and Colin Nissan takes a humorous look at this creature called the writer.


Amazon’s dominance in the book market has long been a topic of conversation. This week 2 writers give their takes on the future of the book market. David Leonhardt says we must save Barnes & Noble, and Mike Shatzkin says that the dominance of Amazon must be addressed but it is more attributable to natural circumstances than it is anyone’s fault.

Orna Ross explains why creative assets are key to income and influence for indie authors, while Penny Sansevieri demonstrates how to use Amazon’s categories to sell more books.

Getting your book to a traditional publisher can be tricky. Lisa Tener walks us through writing a book proposal, and Nathan Bransford tells us when to submit to publishers without an agent.

Before you sign anything, take a close look at all the clauses. Janet Reid looks at both author-agency termination clauses and morality clauses, while the SFWA warns about a new red flag in contracts: perpetual derivative rights clauses.

There are so many channels to explore in marketing. Barbara Delinsky shares lessons in marketing an author needs to know, Dan Smith explains how to mail your book to the media, and Elizabeth Bluemle explores the untapped markets of meeting readers where they are.

Speaking engagements can be lucrative, too. Stephanie Chandler tells us how to locate speaking engagements, and Judith Briles lays out how postcard marketing helps her get booked.

Book reviews are valuable marketing tools. Patti Thorn has 11 ways to make the most of a professional book review, while Diane Byington explores the non-professional review side with how to write an Amazon review.

Marie Higgins advises that you build your author platform with your future in mind, and Frances Caballo instructs us on how authors can get started on Goodreads.


Check out these 11 authors recommend bookstores worth traveling for.

Peruse some of the first sketches of Winnie-the-Pooh, the bear who revolutionized children’s literature.

Joseph Crespino reveals how an unexpected Christmas present gave Harper Lee the time to write To Kill a Mockingbird.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Join us next week for more writerly links!


  1. Thanks for the blog love, Kerry! And for all the great resources you’ve amassed for us here.
    -Fae Rowen


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