Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 23, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 05-23-2019

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! This Memorial Day weekend kick back and relax with these writerly links.

A writing legend died this week. Pulitzer Prize winner Herman Wouk died at age 103.

The winners of the 100th Annual O. Henry Prize were announced this week. Check them out.

SCBWI announces new scholarships: Matt de la Peña and Christopher Paul Curtis create SCBWI scholarships for IPOC women.

Reading is central to a successful (and enjoyable) life. So how do you turn kids into bookworms? 10 Children’s Laureates share tips. Further, studies show that unread books at home still spark literary habits, and Melissa Chu shares a complete guide on how to read the right way.

Looking for work? Mary Kole is now hiring an administrative assistant and seeking editorial, proofreading, and ghostwriting referrals.


There are challenges at every stage of the writing process—none of it is easy, even though we all have our favorite parts. But from conception to the middle to the deeper meaning of the work, it’s all difficult. Jami Gold discusses the writing process whether you are a pantser, plotter, or something in between; Sacha Black shows how to use conflict to nip and tuck a saggy middle, and Laurence McNaughton reveals what every writer should know about theme.

Location, location, location. Porter Anderson takes a deep look into the place of place (both emotional and physical) in our writings, while Nils Odlund shares 6 tips for adding life to your locations.

When building your characters, Janice Hardy reminds us to make sure your characters have their own voices, and Becca Puglisi demonstrates how to avoid clichéd emotional responses in your work.

It can be hard to find time to write in our busy world. Jami Gold encourages us to stop comparing ourselves to other writers and just focus on what we can realistically do, Daphne Gray-Grant shows what we can write in 20 minutes or less, Rochelle Melander urges using a journal to boost productivity, Bethany Henry has 5 tips for writing with small children (or in any other busy life), and Bill Ferris has a hack’s guide to finding time to write.

Laura Drake advises us to dare to be vulnerable in our writing, Jim Dempsey helps us to tune out our self-doubt, Jessica Frances Kane faces the problem of too much metaphor, K.M. Weiland shares 20 of the most instructive quotes about writing, and Clémentine Beauvais ponders: do you think that one day you’ll stop writing?


In book business, Jim Milliot warns that books are now a target of the new China tariffs; Makato Tokudome explains how to turn your book into a podcast; and Cathi Stevenson discusses getting the right cover for your book.

Dealing with an agent can be tricky as more writers write across genres. Agent Janet Reid talks about what to do when you want to write broadly but your agent only represents a narrow genre, and whether or not having multiple agents is a good idea. If you hold your media rights to your book, Charles Harris lays out how to pitch your nonfiction book for film or TV.

Book promotion and publicity is a skill set many of us struggle to master. David Kudler answers how we can promote our book for free, Sandra Beckwith advises tailoring press releases to a local market, and Barbara Linn Probst tells us how we can rule in and rule out publicists when shopping for one.

Building relationships can help greatly with marketing. Doctor J shows us how to make author network connections with five easy elements, Cristian Mihai has the concise guide to building relationships with other bloggers, and Emilie Rabitoy explains how working with an author assistant helps writers.

Most marketing is done online, as is more networking these days. Frances Caballo shares 4 dirty little secrets about social media marketing for authors, Shaunta Grimes tells us how to use Medium to build a market for your books, Penny Sansevieri has 5 essential strategies for selling romance novels, and Charli Mills discusses why credibility forges a strong brand.

Tyler Doornbos gives us an insider’s guide to author websites, Shelley Sturgeon points us to 72 free image sources for authors, Barb Drozdowich shows us how to improve our newsletter right now, and David Gaughran wonders if it is time to dump MailChimp.


Sometimes it seems that kindness is hard to find in today’s world, but bookish people are sharing the love. Amy Chillag brings us a story of surprise money and note in a book that starts a pay-it-forward chain, and Julie Carrick Dalton writes of the power of writerly kindness.

Is it a library if it has no books? Winnie Hu explains why the New York Public Library has 7 floors of stacks with no books.

Leo Damrosch tells us how Samuel Johnson met James Boswell in a bookstore—of course.

For you crime fans, Molly Odintz runs down the 20 best speeches in the history of crime cinema.

For all of us book geeks, Noel Murray celebrates the rise of the literary miniseries.

Solved? A researcher claims to have solved the mystery of a 15th century text known as the Voynich manuscript.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Enjoy Memorial Day and stay safe!


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