Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 20, 2020

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 08-20-2020

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday!

Two different perspectives on the same initiative. Alison Flood talks about the #ReclaimHerName program where 25 historic works by women will be published under their authors’ real names for the first time, while Olivia Rutigliano claims the program ignores the authorial choices of the writers it represents.

Book tsunami! Alex Clark explains why the literary world will be overwhelmed by 600 books published in one day.

Has diversity in publishing reached a turning point? In Canada, the Giller Foundation donates $50,000 to Indigenous and Diaspora literature, and Calvin Reid looks at diversity in publishing in the age of Black Lives Matter.

Books bring knowledge, escape, and comfort to many readers. Natalie Wexler discusses a new curriculum that shows kids the joy of reading, Katharine Grubb tells how to love your local library, and Andrew Albanese reports that library supporters urge action as Senate recesses without a relief bill.

Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware warns of a spate of spammers impersonating reputable agents.

Mary Kole wants to know what questions you would like her to answer on her blog.


To Covid or not Covid? That is the question of the year. Steven Spatz and others discuss whether to include coronavirus in your latest book.

Jax Miller has 5 things to consider when writing true crime books.

If poetry is your gig, little infinite shares 7 tips for writing good poetry for aspiring poets.

Planning your book can help make the work flow easier. Leigh Cheak explores using sticky notes for plotters and pantsers, while Dana Isaacson lays out how to chart a fictional timeline.

The beginning of your story bears much of the burden for capturing the reader. Barbara Linn Probst looks at beginning at the beginning…or maybe not. Kathryn Craft demystifies the power couple of the “must read now”: the hook and inciting incident.

Once we’ve hooked the reader, we have to keep them on the line. Kris Bock advises putting characters in conflict, and September C. Fawkes gives us 6 tips to layer on stakes.

Our characters are part of what keeps readers hooked. Melissa Donovan shows how to identify the protagonist in a story, Paula Munier tells us how to introduce your protagonist so readers care, Stavros Halvatzis reminds us that the character arc must serve the story, Lisa Hall-Wilson shares 8 FAQs about deep point of view, and Laurence McNaughton lists 6 crucial character relationships.

There are many things to keep in mind when we write. Nancy J. Cohen speaks to the writer’s learning curve, Elaine Viets warns against gender-biased stereotyping in our physical descriptions of characters, Vie Stallings Herlocker reminds us of two quick research tools for writers, and Bill Ferris has an amusing list of everyday activities that definitely count as writing.

Nathan Bransford explores writing as a series of lenses, Steve Laube discusses what happens when disagreements arise during the publishing process, Randy Susan Meyers says that being terrified about writing your novel is excellent, and Chrys Fey defines writer’s burnout.


In publishing news, US publishers, authors, and booksellers call out Amazon’s “concentrated power” in the book market, booksellers scrutinize the ABA’s relationship with Bookshop, and August kicks off with a big gain in print unit sales.

Meanwhile, Alexander Larman laments the demise of the second-hand bookshop, and UK-based Book Aid International donated 1.2 million books in 2019.

Marketing is not a lightning strike, it’s a long-haul process. Jane Friedman discusses building a career-long marketing foundation, Gillian Harvey probes the good, the mediocre, and the ugly in reviews, and Elizabeth S. Craig has an audiobook promotion tip.

The pandemic has forced us into a virtual marketing strategy. Cristin Stickles shows how to create the best virtual author event ever, Claire Annette Noland talks about launching a debut book in the middle of a pandemic, and Tamela Hancock Murray looks at how big should an author’s platform be?

Barb Drozdowich explains how to use simple psychology and basic common sense to sell more books, Judith Briles walks us through the must-do steps for Amazon campaigns for ebooks, Frances Caballo shares 5 basic rules of social media, and Kim Lochery has the definitive guide to the best times to post on social media.

If blogging, Cristian Mihai reveals how to use procrastination to becomes a more productive blogger and gives us this often overlooked technique that will vastly improve your blog articles. Or you can follow Mark Alpert’s advice and use podcasts to promote your novels.


(Video) Jessica Faust discusses how writers should choose their pseudonyms.

Courtney Balestier interviews Celeste Ng about the need to grab the reader from the start.

On Thresholds podcast, Jordan Kisner hosts Ocean Vuong on how language builds an architecture for our souls.

The NewberyTart podcast ponders what does young adult fiction even mean?


For those missing their libraries, these library watercolors will sooth your anxious soul.

Emanuele Lugli dives into the dark, forgotten history of coloring books.

Private detectives have evolved through the ages. Susanna Lee examines the world of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser and the birth of the 1970’s private detective.

Tale as old as time. One of the oldest Buddhist manuscripts has been digitized and put online.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Hope you join us next week for more literary links.


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