Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 6, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 06-06-2019

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Today is the anniversary of D-Day, as well as National Higher Education Day. So let’s get educated!

Mary Davis asks: do people read anymore?

An All-Star baseball closer is trying to save bookstores as he travels with his team.

On the dark side of writing, prosecutors in Turkey are targeting novelists who tackle difficult subjects such as child abuse and sexual violence.


Getting started can sometimes be the hardest part. Mary Kole discusses choosing your main character, Nathan Bransford shows how to outline a novel, A. Howitt explores beginnings, and Laurie Schnebly explains how to make the first scene grab and keep your readers.

Our entire book is built with scenes, so we’d better get them right. K.M. Weiland tells us how to write interesting scenes, Nathan Bransford lays out how to organize a chapter (which also can work for a scene), and Janice Hardy has 5 tips for when you’re stuck in a scene.

Any writer knows there are a multitude of elements we have to juggle at any one time. Alan Gelb shares 4 elements of narrative that anyone can learn, Janice Hardy has the fix for a novel’s sagging middle with the midpoint reversal, detective Adam Richardson discusses writing conflict in crime fiction, Stavros Halzatzis explores the role of the archetype in stories, and James Scott Bell reveals the power of the telling detail.

Editing is essential to bringing out the most powerful version of your story. Hayley Milliman teaches us how to love self-editing, Janet Reid says over-explaining is the sign of an insecure writer and to cut out all “ands” that connect things that aren’t actually linked, Dr. Alexandria Szeman explains why good editing is good marketing, Frank Strausser advises authors to have actors read their novels, and Lori Freeland explores when it is time to break writing rules.

Creativity and productivity can be our best friends or our worst enemies. Jami Gold talks about the importance of balance in our lives, Sam Ripple suggests journaling your way to freedom, Jael McHenry discusses making room for silence, Celeste Hart recommends 3 books that help with writing, Lynn Dickinson reveals 5 essential things you need to know about writing habits, and Jennifer Blanchard has 3 unexpected principles for optimal creativity.

While many of our links here apply to all fiction works, some is for specific genres and formats. Hanna Jameson explores the enduring lessons of apocalyptic fiction, Ian Fleming explains how to write a thriller, Tobias Carroll examines what gets lost (and found) in translating prose to comics, Hannah Mary McKinnon wonders if there are any subjects too dark for crime fiction, and Patricia Colleen Murphy discusses writing and publishing poetry.


There are many esoteric pieces to the publishing industry. D. Eadward Tree explains why paper prices are likely to remain high for publishers, and Roger Parloff says Google and Oracle’s $9 billion “copyright case of the decade” could be headed for the Supreme Court.

Getting published can take many different paths. Nancy Jorgensen tells how she caught a publisher unexpectedly, and Anne R. Allen reveals the 1 mistake that leaves self-publishers vulnerable to publishing scams.

Publishing—especially self-publishing—requires working with many other people. Tim McConnehey shows how to work with a book designer, and Becca Puglisi has tips for a successful writing collaboration.

Looking for an agent or publisher? Janet Reid comforts a writer who is working on a book with the same premise as one that just came out, and Stephanie Chandler serves up a nonfiction book proposal.

Marketing often brings on what Judith Briles calls “the author-in-the-headlights syndrome”. Beth Alvarado gives us 9 ways to market your book, and Melissa Bowersock focuses on making your book descriptions pop on Amazon.

Marketing needs a plan to be most effective. Beth Barany shows how to create a book marketing roadmap, Bonnie Randall explains how to raise your novel’s visibility: blog posts & leveraging literary contacts, and Jackie Karneth discusses marketing poetry: tips from a literary publicist.

Book reviews and newsletters are solid marketing tools. Book reviewer Jennie Rosenblum answers 7 questions, and E.J. Wenstrom lists the top 4 metrics to watch to see if your author newsletter is working.

Online is the most practical way to connect with readers. Cristian Mihai has ideas for beginning bloggers to try, and talks about what to do when you fall out of love with your blog. Shelley Sturgeon  shows us how to use Snapseed to edit social media photos and more, and Asif gives us 15 practical ways to make your content more engaging.


It’s summer! Allison Duncan looks at what is a beach read, and why (plus some recommendations).

Some poets had surprising other lives. Walt Whitman was an unsung newspaperman, and Pablo Neruda was a diplomat in Sri Lanka.

For your research needs: a history of the wench.

And just because…check out this gallery of bookish pets.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week for more literary links!

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