Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 9, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 05-09-2019

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Enjoy the links we’ve rounded up for you.

The publishing industry mourns the death of Rachel Held Evans at age 37.

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi wins the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award.

Writers always want to know what makes certain books irresistible to readers, and what makes readers walk away from others. Here with some hard data, Barbara Linn Probst has results of a survey asking why do readers love some novels. On the other end, Sandra Beckwith explains why she won’t buy you self-published novel.

Diversity is a goal for many writers and publishers. Natasha Tynes discusses the complicated reality of a  minority writer.

We love our libraries. BookMarks looks at an experimental library growing in Brooklyn, and click on over to The Open Library and see what they’re all about.

Winning a writing contest is a thrill, but beware! Anne R. Allen has 8 red flags to suss out bogus writing contests.


Getting started is half the battle. Rose Andrews talks about choosing the right idea, Scott Wilson says to think outside the books by writing the query letter first, and K.M. Weiland has 8 quick tips for show, don’t tell.

Once we’ve started, the characters take the readers along for the ride. Mary Kole advises avoiding one dimensional characters, Savannah Gilbo shares questions to help you write compelling characters, and Janice Hardy discusses how to mix character actions and internal thoughts.

Who is in the story is very important, but where the story takes place can be just as vital. Jami Gold explains that worldbuilding is for every story, while Kyle A. Massa shows how and why to treat your setting like a character.

Once we’ve got a draft, the editing begins. Richard Bradburn teaches the basics of editing terminology, Mary Norris and Benjamin Dreyer talk grammar and style, Kyle A. Massa tells us how to identify sticky sentences in your writing, and Michael Gallant has tips for the final edit. Writing groups can be a great place for feedback. However, Kathryn Craft gives us 5 reasons it may be time to leave a writer’s group.

Meg Dowell discusses what a “flow state” is and how it helps us write more, faster, Ivi Jayde has 5 self-care tips for writing with a chronic illness, and Paulette Perhach explains how to bring value to your readers.


Authors can publish traditionally or self-publish. If you have a health-based book, Mayo Clinic is launching its own publishing imprint. If you are self-publishing, Lindsay Buroker explains the Amazon conundrum otherwise known as Kindle Unlimited.

Debbie Young explains why we need to drive readers into bookstores, and Joel Friedlander walks us through everything we need to know about our book’s back matter.

Agent Janet Reid answers some reader questions. First, what to do if an agent that passed on your manuscript then requests it during an online pitch contest. Then, she discusses how to deal with Hollywood if someone expresses interest in your unpublished manuscript.

Marketing is all about spreading the word. Stephanie Chandler explains how to build your tribe of influence (even if you think your platform is small), Amy Collins suggests exploring all the display options in bookstores, and Sue Rovens has tips for a successful author fair.

Online is a good place to spread the word. Carl Pritzkat announces that BookLife offers free book reviews for independent authors, Cristian Mihai has 12 questions you should ask yourself before hitting that blog publish button, and Nate Hoffelder tells us how to find free and legal images online.


Reading is integral to most writers’ lives. But what happens when you over-read…or under-read? Lyndsie Manusos discusses overcoming her postpartum reading slump, and Ankita Devasia asks: Can you read too much?

Jonathan Bate explores why Shakespeare was wary of writing about religion.

Mervyn Horder delves into the life and writing of Dorothy Parker: political activist, melancholic, and bootleg scotch drinker.

In England, fire breaks out in Ashdown Forest, the iconic woods of Winnie the Pooh.

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

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