Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 17, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 10-17-2019

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Today is National Black Poetry Day, so pick up some of your favorite poets and savor their style.

Lots of book award news this week! Take a look at the 2019 National Book Awards finalists; Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke win the 2018 and 2019 Nobel Literature Prizes; and Margaret Atwood and Bernadine Evaristo jointly win the 2019 Booker Prize.

Amy Jones examines the benefits of the Booker Prize and other literary awards for writers (besides the money).

Lee Wind makes the case for more children’s books in translation, making our children into citizens of the world and broadening their horizons.

Ebony Bowden and Tamar Lapin take a peek at over 200 never-before-seen J.D. Salinger pieces in a collection that will soon hit Manhattan library.

Are you thinking of National Novel Writing Month? Grant Faulkner explains how to write a novel in a month, and Janice Hardy does NaNoWriMo prep with planning your novel’s beginning.


Any children’s authors or women’s fiction authors out there? Philip Pullman discusses children’s literature and the critics who disdain it, and Brenda Copeland has 4 tips for writing bestselling women’s fiction.

A chapter is an integral part of many novels. Gordon Long delves into just what is a chapter, and P.J. Parrish figures out what goes into each chapter.

To keep readers turning pages, we need to keep them hooked. Stavros Halvatzis discusses how to orchestrate story pace, and Jim Dempsey looks at writing as a labyrinth of choices.

Characters are the ones making those choices (and suffering the consequences), so we need readers to care about them. Justin Attas describes creating a compelling protagonist, Laurence MacNaughton explains the secret to create a fascinating villain, Janice Hardy advises making your characters vulnerable, and Sacha Black addresses diversity in fiction by urging us to write the character you’re afraid to write.

Lisa Hall-Wilson has how to scare your readers using deep point of view and 4 pro tips for writing the emotional journey in deep POV, Terry Odell say to push your characters out of their comfort zones, James Scott Bell shows how to describe your main character, and if any character needs a shotgun in your story, John Gilstrap has a primer on shotguns.

Writers make their story beautiful in the revision process. Angelica Hartgers shares 3 tips for creating lyrical prose, Nick Douglas lists the words smart people can’t spell, Roz Morris reveals what your readers will never notice, Sarah Chauncey explains manuscript evaluations, and Nancy J. Cohen gives us 10 tips for a successful critique group.

Creativity and productivity can be impacted by our emotions. Macy Thronhill has 6 ways to stay productive in a creative slump, Scott McCormick wonders if you can trigger creativity, and Kathryn Craft lists 12 signs you’re afraid of your WIP.

Writing can be tough, so why do we stick with it? Jami Gold lays out how we can discover our vision and our goals, Kristen Lamb searches for the “why” that keeps our muse alive, and John Peragine share 6 daily habits to build a solid writing career.

We all need advice to get ahead—but not all advice is created equal. Gayla K. Hiss has rules for survival for writers, Sonya Huber tells us how “show, don’t tell” almost ruined her as a writer, and Amy Jones lists 10 Jojo Moyes quotes about writing.

A published writer is a different beast than an unpublished writer in many ways. Tracy R. Atkins has part 1 of preparing your manuscript for publication (interior design templates), Kathy Harris discusses writing while waiting, and Kate Murdoch separates the fantasy vs. reality of being a published author.


Ever wanted to host a literary festival? Julie Duffy tells how you too can build a literary festival.

Publishing is a business: John Doppler urges indie authors to figure out who their publishing contract protects, Lee Foster looks at publishing your book on IngramSpark, and Tim McConnehey explains what a cover information sheet is.

Querying your book can be full of pitfalls. Janet Reid discusses appropriate author names and what to do if you get an offer before you have an agent. Rachelle Gardner reminds us to look for where our passion meets the market to find success, and L. Diane Wolfe examines what’s killing your query pitch.

Most readers will find you online, so make sure to be ready when they come looking. Lee Wind directs us to some excellent author and author/illustrator websites, Julie Valerie explores influencers in the online book world, Stephanie Chandler lists book review options, and Penny Sansevieri tells us how to supercharge your Amazon book description.

In our online marketing, David Hartshorne gives us the 7 best social media scheduling tools to save you hours each week, Sandra Beckwith tells us how to get unfriended on Facebook, Frances Caballo walks us through how to use MailerLite (so you can dump MailChimp), Cristian Mihai debates short blog posts vs. long blog posts, and Lindsay Liedke explains how to back up your WordPress site for free (and why you should).


Check out the 10 best short story collections of the decade.

Olivia Rutigliano delves into a cultural history of Nancy Drew.

Brian Goedde examines Goodnight Moon almost 75 years later.

Talk about waiting a long time for the next installment. A lost chapter of the world’s first novel is found in a Japanese storeroom.

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

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