Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 4, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 07-04-2019

Happy 4th of July Top Picks Thursday! I hope all of you get to rest, relax and write!

Looking for something to read over the holiday? Marvin Joseph rounds up the best books to read at every age from 1 to 100, and Michael Gonzales has a brief history of the heroes of black pulp.

You may want to be choosy about what you pick to read if you are an older woman—half of women over 40 say older women in fiction are clichés.

If magazines are more your reading material, pick up a Time magazine. Colson Whitehead is the first novelist to grace the cover of Time since 2010.

Can’t get to the library? In Sweden, the library comes to you! Check out Sweden’s bokbaten floating library.


What is a writer, and what can writers learn from other art forms? Meg Dowell has 12 misconceptions about being a writer, Gabriel Urza tells us what fiction writers can learn from stage magicians, and Luke Jerod Kummer discusses the painterly art of observation.

All stories start with an idea. Laura Drake explores where ideas come from, Janice Hardy discusses the need to understand our premise to understand our story, and Orly Konig investigates how mind-mapping can be a pantser’s guide to planning.

Character and plot are inevitably intertwined. Jami Gold examines what “plot reveals character” really means, Ruth Harris talks about the allure of rogue characters, and Nathan Bransford has a list of character strengths and weaknesses.

Many story elements need to be just right to create a page turner. James Scott Bell reminds us to let no good tension go unstretched, Karstenberg walks us through creating fantasy cuisines as part of worldbuilding, Stavros Halvatzis examines using coincidence in stories, Dawn Field reverts to story fundamentals to make a story great, and Taylor Simonds looks at using story tropes to subvert reader expectations.

Every story we write we hope will take our work up a notch. K.M. Weiland shows us how to take our writing to the next level, Terry Odell asks: are your words pulling their weight?, and Mary Ann de Stefano advises on how to manage criticism.

Writing in different genres and formats can improve our craft and open opportunities for us. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shows how to adapt a book into a screenplay, Chris Lentz shares the top 5 things learned from writing a biography, Penny Appleton discusses writing later in life, and Yi Shun Lai tells us how a beginner’s mindset can improve your writing.

Once we complete one project, there are always others waiting in the wings. Barbara O’Neal talks about writing the next book, and Meg Dowell wonders if you should start a new project right after finishing an old one.


The book business is rollercoastering again. Mark Sweney says UK print book sales fall while audiobooks surge 43%, Alison Flood points out that fiction book sales in the UK fall 3% but nonfiction shows growth, and Steve Laube reassures that books are still selling.

Trying to decide how to publish your books can be difficult. Lee Foster examines traditional publishing vs. self-publishing in a 2020 vision, Bryan Collins lays out what every entrepreneur should know about becoming an author, Joanna Penn lists 9 ways artificial intelligence will disrupt authors and the publishing industry, and Brian Jud shows how to create multiple streams of revenue with your work.

Amazon is not having a good week. David Streitfeld dove deep into the problem of counterfeit books on Amazon, and the Association of American Publishers lodged a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission against Amazon, Google, and other large tech companies.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch urges us to shift our focus and rethink the writing business, and Robert McCaw discusses the challenges of getting your book published.

Querying a book with multiple protagonists? Nathan Bransford has a few tips for how to handle multiple protagonists in a query letter.

Marketing! Joan Stewart fields the top 10 FAQs about book publicity and promotion, John Sibley William tells us how to sell more books at author events, and Martin Cavannaugh explains how to create an irresistible lead magnet to market your book.

Most authors know that they need to have some social media footprint to be successful these days. SCBWI lists author website criteria, agent Janet Reid answers social media presence questions, and Sandra Beckwith explores social proof for authors.

While social media can be a boon for marketing, it can also be a nightmare when a book comes under intense scrutiny. Molly Templeton looks at some recent YA books that were pulled because of Twitter pressure, and says the backlash was fueled by more than those particular books.


For our poets, Nick Ripatrazone has a meditation on exclamation marks in contemporary poetry.

Emily Temple looks at how many copies famous books sold in their first year.

Easy as ABC? Jacqueline Ardam shows how the alphabet helped Virginia Woolf understand her father.

Paul Auster on the time he met Samuel Beckett.

And now get back to relaxing! Debbie Burke guides us through do-it-yourself massages for writers.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Have a safe and fun 4th, everyone!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: