Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 29, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 11-29-2018

Welcome to the last Top Picks Thursday in November! I cannot believe how fast this year is flying. My friends are crowing about having all their Christmas shopping done, while I’m saying, “Wait, December’s Saturday?!” I may not have my Christmas gifts bought, but I do have our weekly links roundup ready, so enjoy!

Ruth Harris gathers inspiring writing quotes from authors, particularly thankful ones for Thanksgiving.

Also in honor of Thanksgiving, Marlena Gates puts together a reading list of books by Native American writers.

This week, Spongebob Squarepants creator Stephen Hillenburg died at age 57.

SCBWI talks about their 2nd annual Books for Readers Literacy Initiative. Find out how you can get involved in the future.

David Canfield tells us everything we need to know about this literary award season, and 95-year-old Uruguayan poet Ida Vitale wins the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, Spain’s top literary award.

In China, a Chinese novelist is sentenced to 10 years in jail for writing gay sex scenes.

Clare Langley-Hawthorne reveals the value of libraries.


Writing a picture book? Mary Kole has a picture book manuscript template to help you.

John Gilstrap explores the difference between a series, an –ogy, and a stand alone, while P.J. Parrish asks a related question: when should a story end?

Characters draw in the reader. Stavros Halvatzis talks about writing paradoxical characters, Martha Conway examines how to write neurodivergent characters, Kassandra Lamb discusses how to create realistic villains, Renee Roberson shows how to keep your characters busy, and Margie Lawson demystifies subtext.

Every book needs some research, but some more than others. In historical fiction, John Thorndike lays out 5 considerations for writing about historical figures in fiction, while Samantha Harvey explores the bartering that occurs between facts and truth in writing.

But what about writing outside your own experience? Sejal Badani shares 7 research and writing tips for setting a book in another country, and Sylvia Whitman has 7 tips for writing across cultures.

We all need help polishing our stories. Boni Wagner-Stafford gives us 7 mistakes first-time non-fiction writers make, Jim Dempsey talks about the pitfalls of self-editing, and Patricia B. Smith explains how to tell good editing from bad editing.

All we want for Christmas is more time to write. But since most of us will not get a time machine in our stocking, making the most efficient use of the time we have is the best we can do. Dave Chesson offers the Author SWOT Analysis so we can see what we need to focus on most, Jeff Somers details how to write a novel in 9 minutes a day, Drew Chail lists his 10 rules for writing, and James Scott Bell shares what he wished he’d known when he started writing.


Alex Field takes a look at the publishing process for first-time authors.

When you have a publisher, it’s not always smooth sailing. Rachel Kramer Bussel describes what authors should do when their publisher closes, and Victoria Strauss examines if the bankruptcy clause of your contract really protects you.

Alison Ingleby demystifies Blockchain technology and what it means for authors.

In good news, Jill Schlesinger tells us small bookstores are booming after nearly being wiped out.

For those seeking an agent, a query letter and a synopsis are necessary to have on hand. Martine Fournier Watson shares tips for querying, while Romy Sommer finds an easier way to write a synopsis.

There are many ways authors can connect with their audiences. Amy Collins talks about how to find and attract readers, Stephanie Chandler has steps to becoming a professional speaker, Debbie Young lists 15 practical ways to get more book reviews, Frances Caballo gives us an author’s guide to email marketing plus three best practices, and Sharon Bially reveals one important way you can help your book publicist.

An author website is your home base on the internet. Dan Smith shares author website tips, and Lee Foster explains how improving your author website can help sell more books.

Many authors have a blog on their website. Cristian Mihai says if you feel like giving up on blogging, read this, and also offers a concise guide to formatting your blog posts, and Jami Gold shares the best reason to blog.


Benjamin Naddaff-Hafrey explores the effects of the War of the Worlds radio play that still haunt us today.

With multiple gift-giving seasons upon us, Sandra Beckwith has 27 of the best gifts ever for authors, and K.M. Weiland has 20 unique gifts for writers.

Arianna Rebolini lists 35 books librarians have recently loved, while Katie Heaney reminds us that reading fiction makes you a little nicer.

Something I did not know: Why Henry David Thoreau was drawn to yoga.

Since writers are sometimes correlated with alcohol, Shaugnessy Bishop-Stall discusses weird hangover cures through the ages.

In an rather amazing stroke of luck, a lost portrait of Charles Dickens turns up at auction in South Africa.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We will see you back here in December!


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