Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 21, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 06-21-2018

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Today is National Selfie Day (isn’t it always selfie day?)! It’s also now officially Summer! So grab a cool drink and peruse the links we have this week.

Carnegie Medal winner Geraldine McCaughrean slams book publishers for their policy on “accessible” prose, which she believes dumbs down books and leaves young readers struggling as they get older.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o advocates that African writers write in their own native languages, both to preserve the languages and to open their minds to a different creative flow.

If you are looking for something to read, former President Barak Obama shares what he’s been reading lately.

Porter Anderson takes a look at the new and improved Authors Guild.


Having a plan before you start writing can be helpful. Nancy L. Erickson tells how to make a plan to start writing your book, Janice Hardy has 8 signs you might be over-plotting your novel, Janine Savage shows how to use subplots, and Janice Hardy returns to explain why, whether plotter or pantser, you really should outline your second draft.

A.E. Lowan discusses reaching beyond the common narrative, while Debbie Young explores writing to meet genre expectations in crime/mystery/thriller/detective/suspense, and Zoe M. McCarthy gives us 5 tips for including humor in your story.

Point of view captures readers. Scott McCormick looks at the delights and dangers of first person narrative, Christina Delay dives into deep POV, and Becca Puglisi talks about determining a character’s emotional range.

Scenes are the building blocks of story structure. K.M. Weiland shows how to intertwine plot, character, and theme in every scene; Rebecca Monterusso gives us what it means to write a scene that works, and Janice Hardy has tips on writing scene and chapter transitions.

Tiffany Yates Martin shares the efficient author’s cheat sheet for creating suspense and tension, while David Corbett explores the relationship between the whiff of death and moment of clarity.

Editing can make or break your story. Nick Wilford examines the benefits of reading your work aloud, Kristen Lamb lists 5 things your editor hates about you, Nathan Bransford warns to watch out for empty gestures in your novels, and Jami Gold shares how to find and fix plot holes.

The creative life comes in many different forms. Roz Morris gives us two instructions for making a creative life that she wish she’d known at school, Vaughn Roycroft asks why he writes…again, Augusten Burroughs is bold, frank, and fearless in his search for personal truth, and Stephen King is master of all genres—except literary.


Jane Friedman brings us her Key Book Publishing Paths 2018.

Amy Collins dissects the Amazon Buy Button issue and how to minimize damage to your royalties.

Are you thinking about self-publishing? Jordan McCollum tells us how to evaluate whether you’re ready for self-publishing, while Emily Temple looks at book cover trends of 2018.

Janet Reid has a triple play this week: don’t give publishers rights they can’t use, should you ALL CAP the character names the first time you use them in a synopsis?,  and some reason why she passes on pages.

Four authors share their debut novel experiences.

Book marketing is all about getting the word out. Margaret Broucek shows how to make a book trailer that sells books, Debbie Young has 7 avoidable rookie errors for indie authors, Dan Smith lists 5 book marketing mistakes self-published authors make, and Joanna Penn shares 5 ways to spice up your Amazon book pages.

Much of our marketing is online now. Dave Chesson has SEO for authors, part 2; Ali Luke gives us 7 easy ways to write better titles for your blog posts, and Frances Caballo has part 2 of her 7 tips for networking on the social web.


Daphne Gray-Grant tackles the burning question: How much sleep do writers really need?

Reviewer Anthony Domestico wonders why he was never asked to write about a female author.

Dan Nosowitz explores where the “no ending a sentence with a preposition” rule comes from.

The amazing story of when Arthur Conan Doyle helped exonerate an innocent man convicted of murder.
Penelope Lively examines Virginia Woolf as serious gardener.

We’ve all heard of bats in the belfry, but bats in the library? Sure enough, the bats help preserve the old books, but they drive the librarians…batty.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Stay cool and enjoy summer!

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