Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 6, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 09-06-2015

Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of September! I am at this moment basking in the quiet of my child’s first day back at school. I hope everyone’s life is back to a normal schedule after the summer months.

Speaking of summer, Peter Derk explains why nobody gives a crap about books in the summer.

Today is National Read a Book Day, so if you’re looking for things to read, here are 50 must-read children’s book series.

Or check out the 2018 Rona Jaffe Award winners.

Lizzie Shane examines the often asked question: how important is talent?

Want to know the future? Susie Dumond brings us the September 2018 horoscopes and book recommendations.

Victoria Strauss explores if De Monfort Literature is a career jumpstart or literary sweatshop.

Here’s a listing of fiction writing contests worth your time in Fall of 2018, and Tracy Brody lays out how to choose the right writing contest for you.


We all have our own process for writing. K.M. Weiland urges us to look at sloppy writing habits—and look at 4 things to do about them.

Creating a world from scratch is hard—but it can also be a great deal of fun. Cait Reynolds walks us through dysFUNctional world building.

Writing is so hard because there are a myriad of elements to balance all at once. Jules Horne has 5 ways dramatic techniques can transform your fiction writing, Donna Galanti discusses building suspense, Jess Lourey and Shannon Baker examine writing a good scene, Jami Gold gives us questions to ask to choose the best way for a scene to play out, and Janice Hardy tackles both finding the right balance with your stage direction and 5 common problems with middles.

Characters are integral to every facet of the story. Valerie Allen shows how to create a good character name, Jane Cleland explores how the perception gap can use character perspectives to propel plot. A. Howitt examines the change arc, and James Scott Bell discusses how to write about negative leads.

Once we’ve got a draft, we go back and make every word count. Dawn Field examines words that carry maximum weight—tropes in storytelling, Steven Spatz shares his 5 favorite books on writing, P.J. Parrish takes on killing writing-advice sacred cows, while Melissa Donovan urges us to kill our darlings…but not so fast, says Barbara Linn Probst, giving us some ideas on how to resurrect those un-dead darlings.

Much of writing happens in our heads, but there are some tools to help us get it on paper and get it right. If you are blogging a book, Dan Kenitz has free online tool to make blogging a book easier, Melissa Donovan suggests Grammar Girl, and once you are done writing anything, Melinda Clayton lists free grammar checkers to polish the prose.

Researching is a big part of many genres. Sandra Gulland explains how her love for a certain topic led to success and how she researches her historical teens novels.

Ever been called a geek? Andrew Pettigrew tells us why no writer is a geek. Melissa Chadburn looks at the cost and labor of writing, Linda Lane talks about writing that is trending or enduring, and Greer Macallister gives us 25 truths about the work of writing.


Anne R. Allen kicks this off with 9 pieces of bad publishing advice writers hear all the time.

Editor Carol Hinz explains that success can differ from book to book.

Self-publishers have to decide many things. Dave Chesson examines distribution, if you should go wide or narrow, while Holly Connolly asks: is social media influencing book cover design?

While knowing what books yours is like is most important for traditional authors, self-published authors also need to know this. Damon Suede walks us through Comp Lit: claiming your place on the genre shelf.

Selling books is a goal for all of us. Penny Sansevieri has 12 ways to make sure your website is helping you sell more books, Sandra Beckwith dispels 3 book promotion myths, and Joan Stewart reveals the best free media contacts tool you’re not using.

Book reviews are essential to book marketing.  David Wogahn tells us how to jumpstart book reviews for self-published books, and Joanna Penn shares 10 ways to get reviews for your books.

We connect to our readers via the internet mostly. Darren Rowse has 7 ways to start building an audience for your new blog, Cristian Mihai lists 7 symptoms of the blogger’s curse, and Frances Caballo has 13 steps to improve your Facebook reach.


Like to read in cafés? Vivienne Woodward shares café reading power rankings.

Going old-school is sometimes a philosophical moment. Dan Blank describes what buying a typewriter taught him about writing.

Sometimes re-reading childhood favorites is not the best idea. Alli Hoff Kosik lists messed-up things you missed about your favorite children’s books.

Emily Temple dug out portraits of literary characters by famous artists.

Talking with Alan Lee, the man who redrew Middle-Earth.

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

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