Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 9, 2020

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 07-09-2020

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We hope you all enjoyed a safe and happy 4th of July.

We all know the 4th is America’s birthday, but July 1st is the anniversary of America’s first free public library in 1731.

When you’re at the library, let your kids get audiobooks if they want. The UK’s National Library Trust research finds benefits of audiobooks for kids.

A founding father of Chicano literature, Rudolpho Anaya died at age 82.

Mary Kole is looking to hire an editorial assistant.

In these troubled times, writing can sometimes feel useless or frivolous. Donald Maass reminds us that writing is of utmost importance when we are unsafe; Lisa Tener says when writing for social change, meet your readers where they are; Greg Mitchell shows us the power of writing in unsettled times by revisiting John Hersey’s groundbreaking “Hiroshima” article; and Priya Satia reveals that George Orwell’s time as a police officer in colonial India shaped his views on freedom of speech and individualism.


To some of us, poetry can seem like another language. Susan D’Agostino explains why some mathematicians think they’re poets, and Katharine Grubb debunks the 5 lies she believed about poetry writing.

Writers hope their writing changes readers, but sometimes our writing changes us. Sophie MacKintosh writes in praise of the dream-logic of speculative fiction, and Lucy Mitchell explores the magic that comes from writing about resilient characters.

Getting started can be the hardest part for some of us. E.G. Radcliff lays out a 3-level strategy for researching a book, Stavros Halvatzis explains using twin premises to plan your story, and Katharine Grubb has 6 more requirements for the first pages of your novel.

Writers need to move the reader through the story without jarring them out of the fictive dream. Janice Hardy shows how to write smooth transitions, and Tiffany Yates Martin demonstrates how to weave in backstory without stalling your story.

Characters need to grab the reader and not let them go. Nathan Bransford reminds us that even minor characters need to want something, The Right Writing urges us to vary characters’ reactions to tragedy, and Becca Puglisi suggests using the conflict of failing at something and tells us the character-building detail writers shouldn’t overlook.

First we write, then we edit! There are many ways to get the feedback we need. Linda S. Clare looks at critique skills for writers, Andrea Merrell explains why a professional edit costs so much, Robert Lee Brewer demystifies canon vs. cannon, Anne R. Allen warns of the dangers of episodic writing, and Jami Gold discusses how we can learn and improve our writing skills.

Thankfully, in the age of the internet, we have many resources to writing advice open to us. Garry Rogers tells us how not to write a police report, Emily Temple shares Vladimir Nabokov’s best writing advice, Larry Brooks does writing math (craft plus art equals performance), and James Scott Bell urges us to write what is unreal but true.

To motivate us, Robert Lee Brewer collates 10 terrific quotes from E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, Elizabeth Hartl shows how to overcome imposter syndrome, and Sherri Leimkuhler lists 7 tips for writing success and sanity.

Success isn’t always easy, but hard work will get you pretty far. Melinda Copp tells us how to make this your best writing year ever, Paula Munier has publishing proverbs you should know, and Shanna Swendson explores writing through difficult times.


Jim Milliot reports that Ingram is investing millions to upgrade its global printing and distribution network.

Love books but don’t want to buy from Amazon? Sandra Beckwith lists where you can buy books online besides Amazon.

If you dream of seeing your story on the big screen someday, Matt Knight explains the difference between a film option vs. a shopping agreement.

Whether you are looking for an agent or self-publishing, you still need to be able to “sell” your story to people. Ericka McIntyre has tips and tricks for pitching like a pro, while Lorraine Mace gives us tips on writing a synopsis.

Marketing has many elements to master. Barbara Linn Probst shares a 3-tiered approach to book launches, Sandra Beckwith tells us not to confuse a book endorsement with a review, and Dave Chesson walks us through how to set up a sponsored products ad in Amazon.

Blogs are still a good way to connect with your readers. Adam Connell has 11 time management lessons every blogger should learn, Lyn Wildwood explains how to create engaging audience surveys readers won’t ignore, and Cristian Mihai reveals the most underrated blogging technique ever.


Rachel Kramer Bussel examines why a retired Cincinnati teacher started The Book Bus, a bookstore on wheels.

It’s all electrons now, but Anthony Grafton reminds us that in early modern Europe, reading and writing meant getting your hands dirty.

Leo Robson delves into the unruly genius of Joyce Carol Oates.

You can’t judge a book… Dylan Mulvaney looks at 50 years of covers of Camus’ The Plague.

Patrik Svensson investigates the uncanny figure of the eel in literature and art.

Writing may be a lonely pursuit, but few writers make it a success alone. Alice Miller looks at the partners behind great writers in literature.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Stay safe, stay cool, and join us next week for more literary links.


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