Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 27, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 09-27-2018

Welcome to the last Top Picks Thursday in September! This month has flown by. Fall is officially here!

Jeanna Kadlec tells us what fall will be like for writers, astrologically.

Ever wonder how contests can choose a winner when their entrants are from different genres? When judging such a contest, Roz Morris found a common standard to use in judging.

Matt Grant thinks every school across the country should have a “Raising Readers” program.

A picture’s worth a thousand words. Photographer Franck Bohbot documents the character of indie bookstores and their booksellers, and Eric Klinenberg shares a photo essay of the secret life of libraries.

Being environmentally friendly goes beyond publishing with recycled paper. Author Patricia Newman has a few ideas on how to handle publishing’s problem with plastic.


Get your story right from the start! Jami Gold shows how brainstorming your story can proactively avoid issues later, Kristen Lamb reveals fatal flaws in story structure, and Janice Hardy urges us to take heart, because not all first drafts suck.

Once we’ve got a sound idea, we need to write that opening sentence…and the next one and the one after that. Rachelle Gardner describes how to write a captivating opening line, Janice Hardy lists 4 ways to keep your sentences from all sounding the same, and Joe Moran shares how to write the perfect sentence.

There are many techniques to make your writing shine. K.M. Weiland has 3 tips for improving “show, don’t tell”, Lisa Wells gives us 5 techniques to make your readers laugh, and Angela Ackerman explores your character’s unmet needs.

Editing teaches you a lot about your own writing. Joanna Campbell Slan discusses 5 things re-editing your older work can teach you, while Annie Neugebauer explains how to process and filter feedback.

Writing a book—even as a hobby—is a job, and it takes commitment to get it done. Lisa Tener shares strategies to commit to writing a book, Margaret Ann Spence explores how childhood reading shapes identity, and Barbara Stark-Nemon gives us 5 ways to prepare for an encore career as a writer.


To be a successful author, there is a never-ending to-do list—often we wish we could have clones of ourselves to get everything done, especially when it comes to the marketing side of things. Sandra Beckwith asks: is it time to hire an author virtual assistant?

For those traditional publishing agent-seekers, Janet Reid has some advice for you. This week she discusses if you can requery the same agents when you do a major rewrite of your manuscript, and she addresses how long an agent can lay claim to your manuscript after you have parted ways.

Our author brand is vital for selling our books. Dana Kaye helps you find your author brand, and John Burke tells us what to name your author website.

We all want our books to succeed. Anne R. Allen has 9 tips to publish fiction successfully, and Christina Delay tells us how to set up a book launch for success.

Once we’ve launched, we need to keep the conversation going. Judith Briles introduces us to the super fan, the secret sauce all authors want, and Lee Wind gives us some ideas for finding book clubs for your book.

One way to reach potential buyers is through traditional advertising and promotion. John G. Hartness instructs us how to stack ads to maximize your promotional dollars, and Sharon Bially explains how attempting to control the outcome of book PR or marketing can backfire (and usually does).

Another way to connect to readers is online. Darren Rowse lists 8 important admin tasks to do when launching a new blog, Cristian Mihai shares the 3 best ways to hold your blog readers’ attention, and Frances Caballo has 5 tweets to stop sending today and 5 great tweets to send.


Imani Perry explores how an important American author, Lorraine Hansberry, tried to make sense of it all.

Emily Temple brings us 10 successful writers who dropped out (or were kicked out) of school.

See how to tour the most bookish island in the world: Iceland.

What’s with pop culture’s obsession with the apocalypse?

Check out these 23 literary movies and TV shows you should be watching this fall.

Think writing is a genteel pastime? Benet Brandreth reveals the murderous playwrights of Elizabethan England.

That’s it for the last Top Picks Thursday of September! See you in October!

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