Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 9, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 08-09-2018

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Today is National Book Lovers Day, so go curl up with a good book!

Sometimes the good guys win. Rachel Ann Nunes wins her copyright infringement suit.

Writing can be a pain in the rear…or the wrists…or the neck. Jami Gold examines how ergonomics and other options can help avoid or alleviate writer pains.

People argue over whether listening to an audiobook counts as reading. Kristen Tsetsi shares her research and how she overcame audiobook shame.

Adam Kirsch looks at what we read, rather than how we read it. A new survey of America’s favorite novels shows that storytelling moves us far more than literary quality.

And what we read is mostly English. Gabriella Page-Fort examines why Americans read so few books in translation.

An Ernest Hemingway war story sees print for the first time.

We all want to support our libraries. Kristen Arnett shares the dos and donts of supporting your local library.


Every writer eventually find their own process. Olga Khazan tells us how to write a book without losing your mind, and Tessa Lunney looks at the relationship between writing process, routine, and craft.

Stories need a good foundation to hold the weight of our tales. Dawn Field asks if the three-act structure is formulaic or foundational, and Garren Jacobsen urges fantasy writers to consider legal systems in fantasy worldbuilding.

We writers strive for that perfect image in our stories, the one that will bring it to life and stick with the reader long after the book is over. Mary Kole reminds us that not all images are created equal, so we need to work to get the most out of our imagery, and Donald Maass examines what to do with words when there are no words.

Other big-picture items to consider when writing a book are theme and setting. K.M. Weiland gives us 4 ways to choose a better theme for your book, and Jeffery Phillips shows how to make your setting come alive.

Want to develop rich, unforgettable characters? Deb Norton has 10 sly character development techniques, Anne R. Allen advises looking at personality disorders for your troubled characters, C.S. Lakin lays out the 6 stages of your hero’s character arc, and Janice Hardy coaches us in developing different voices for different point of view characters.

Editing is necessary, so Melissa Donovan explains how to prepare to work with beta readers, Jen Matera walks us through what authors should expect from an editor, Dominic Selwood gives us 4 tips for professional punctuation, and Ann Griffin shows how to clean up POV breaks.

What do you do when you have a massively long draft? Janice Hardy explores how to know if you have one manuscript or two on your hands.

Writers are always seeking ways to improve our craft. B. O’Malley tells how writing a screenplay can help your writing in general, Jean E. Penziwol has 7 ways to become a better writer, and Emily Temple shares writing advice from James Baldwin.

Valerie Trueblood explains how writing a short story collection is like starting a zoo, Cathy Yardley tells how to write fiction that’s fresh, and Diana Hurwitz reveals the benefits of genre associations.


Audiobook sales soar as some authors forsake print.

If you are self publishing, Lauren Bailey urges us to avoid these 13 most common self-publishing mistakes, and also consider David Kudler’s advice on the PDF vs. ePub debate.

Jess Lourey explains how you can self-publish your backlist, while Sangeeta Mehta interviews 4 children’s authors who have self-published their books.

For those going the traditional route, Nicole Meier shares 3 truths and a lie she’s learned going from a small press to a big publisher, while Steve Laube has some “don’ts” from his slush pile.

Marketing is a chore few authors are adept at in the beginning. Nick Stephenson shares 3 ways to avoid author marketing hell, Bruce Fottler examines finding visibility through ebook distributors, Sandra Beckwith has 5 ways to promote your book long after the book launch, Scott McCormick shows how to make the most of school assemblies, and Brian Jud says to stop selling books and start selling benefits.

Reviews are a major part of marketing. Frances Caballo tells us how to get new readers and reviews with free book promotion, and Iola Goulton explains how to prevent Amazon from deleting your reviews.

Online connections are the norm these days. Laurie Dennison lists 3 updates your author website needs now, Darren Rowse gives us everything we need to know about inserting and editing images in WordPress, Sara Wigal shares 5 online book marketing ideas that take just an hour, and Brian Berni takes us step by step through Instagram for writers.

Blogging is a major way you can communicate with your readers. Cristian Mihai tells us the truth about blog post length, Brian Lang shows how even a beginner can writer better blog post headlines, and Renard Moreau reminds us that it’s not easy being a blogger.


I love libraries, but I’m not sure how I would feel about this one: a dark library where every single book has its own light. Meanwhile, Baylea Jones sees a more sinister reason why people want to close libraries.

In a sign of the times, Barnes and Nobel says sales of books related to anxiety are soaring.

Cinderella is a classic, but Mandy Len Catron exposes 3 ways Cinderella stories distort our views on love.

Not into romance but love crime novels instead? David Gordon shares 10 classic crime novels that feature the art of the heist.

Did you know there was a time when the dictionary was controversial? Rachel Paige King walks us through a brief history of dictionary drama.

Love video games? Victoria Grace Howell share 5 ways classic PC adventure games trained her to be a writer.

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

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