Posted by: Kerry Gans | February 21, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 02-21-2019

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We are having whiplash weather here. Snow on Wednesday and 50 degrees on Thursday! The snow day Wednesday gave us plenty of time to round up some links for you to enjoy.

Sandra Beckwith posts a 2019 literary calendar with many days and ways to celebrate reading and writing throughout the year.

Former President Jimmy Carter wins his third Grammy, for an audiobook recording of Faith: A Journey for All.

In sad literary news, W.E.B. Griffin, military man and writer, dies at 89, and Betty Ballantine, a pioneer of the modern paperback, dies at 99.

Writers sometimes tackle controversial subjects. Michael Gallant shares advice for writing about controversial topics.


For our illustrator audience: Daniel Stolle has 50 tips that will make you a better illustrator.

Many people find poetry rather inaccessible. Sarah Callendar makes the case for poetry.

Every writer has experienced the magic of stepping into another realm as they write. Vaughn Roycroft examines storytelling and stepping beyond the veil.

Almost every writer does some prep work prior to writing, and there are many problems that can be avoided with a little forethought. Gordon Long discusses using a “fat outline” for powerful writing, Laurence MacNaughton lays out the six-figure master fiction plot, and Jim Dempsey discusses diagnosing your story’s problem.

The goal is to keep readers turning the pages, and lots of craft elements go into doing that. September C. Fawkes advises looking forward, not backward, to pull readers in; Stavros Halvatzis shows how to fix lackluster scenes, and Janice Hardy focuses on the engine that keeps the story running: goals, motivations, and conflicts.

Compelling characters make readers keep reading. Scott McCormick discusses creating 3-dimensional villains, Dawn Field examines creating power moments rich in subtext with dialogue, and Becca Puglisi wants us to think about 7 things your character is hiding. Clare Langley-Hawthorne explores using real people in historical fiction, and Cait Reynolds wants to make sure our fantasy characters have a decent diet.

Writers have lots to keep track of when they write. Melissa Donovan lists 42 fiction writing tips for novelists, and Janice Hardy has another to add: examine your filter words. Alythia Brown urges us to publish far and wide to sharpen our skills and thicken our skin, while Bill Ferris takes a look at how to nail your novel’s first 500 pages.

The struggle to sustain the writing life is both physical and emotional. Blake Atwood shares 4 ways to create and maintain a writing habit, while Rachelle Gardner goes the other way and gives us 9 reasons to quit writing.


We all want to find our own version of success, but how do we get there? Sandra Beckwith reveals 3 essentials for author success.

If you are self-publishing, there are tons of options now for ebook distribution. David Woghan brings us a handy ebook distribution round up to help us make our choices.

We hear a lot about crowdfunding, but it isn’t for everyone. Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware examines the company Publishizer and asks: do authors really need a crowdfunding literary agency? Meanwhile, if you crowdfund on your own, Susan K. Hamilton lays out the fantastic and the frustrating parts of crowdfunding her novel.

With her usual knack for finding the positive in what many would consider a tedious chore, Kathryn Craft explains why your submissions package is your story’s Valentine to the world. On the receiving end of many a submissions package, Janet Reid explains how to prepare for an agent 1 on 1 at a conference, and deciphers some of the language of rejection letters.

Marketing is tough. Repeatedly doing the same marketing that doesn’t work for your book is insanity. Judith Briles tells us how to tame the book marketing insanity and move forward. Anne R. Allen tackles the concept of superfans and if we can be successful without them, and Patti Thorn shows how to get book reviews to market your self-published book.

Little things can make a big difference. Chris Fey lists 5 tips to spice up your Amazon author profile, while Frances Caballo has 5 little changes that’ll make a big difference in your social media presence and also why video marketing is important, with 3 apps to try.

Blogging is a major marketing tool. Cristian Mihai tells us never, ever, ever give up and she shares 10 rules to help you punch those damn keys.


Since it’s Valentine’s month, romance is in the air. Use this handy chart to find out your romance novel title, and try out these 11 literary pick-up lines for the chronically dateless.

All writers love a good bookstore. Emily Temple has 10 specialty bookstores worth a visit, while Max Joseph gives us a guide to the most beautiful bookstores in the world.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Join us next week for the last Top Picks Thursday of February.

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