I love reading posts about gift ideas. Heck, I love shopping, and thinking about shopping, and yes, being on the receiving end of shopping too. As an author, over the years I’ve amassed my share of journals and pen sets. I’m not complaining! But here are some out-of-the-box, creative gift ideas for the writer in your life. Some ideas are somewhat standard [wise*ss t-shirts] but I guarantee some you’ve never thought of before–and are–get this–free [book reviews]!! Please note I get no royalties or kickbacks from any of these external sites, and I cannot otherwise vouch for their awesomeness; I just happen to think they rock.
In random order:
How can you not love artwork like this, lettered on clear glass or matted in a circle? Head over to etsy for this quote by Hemingway or one made by JaneAustenandCo, or pick your/their favorite quote and make your own.
There’s an Alice in Wonderland scarf and other classics from storiarts, and lots of other very clever book scarf options like this one that looks like a stamped library due date card from etsy and a bookshelf scarf from cafepress. There are a ton of options, actually. Google “books scarf” or “word scarf” or a similar combination and you’ll be amazed. Order now, though, as many are special order (and most likely worth it). I will warn against ordering book leggings online–that is, leggings with cute images of books on them. I ordered a pair from a company that rhymes with Rave Rew Rook and while I’m sure the company is full of wonderful people, their leggings are HORRIBLE quality (100% polyester) and there was no way to tell from the their website how awful they’d feel or look in real life. The stitching is atrocious. [They also took weeks to arrive but that’s another story]. You don’t have that issue with scarves so I’m thinking they are a safer sight-unseen purchase. And scarves look so classy! Such a conversation starter too. Many writers are introverts so it’s a welcomed party accessory.
For your dark-humored friends, how about tee with a goth take on a Christmas classic from author/artist Kaz Windness? Or this fun tee you can find on Amazon and a few other places? (They make snarky sayings on mugs too)
Sign your writer up for a class, a workshop, a conference. I love SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and it’s one nonprofit I can vouch for. In fact, why not buy your writer an annual membership? Boy will that go over well!! It can’t be wrapped but it will last all year long (join SCBWI). Everyone has a chapter near them (check here for where yours might be) and every region hosts local events, meet ups, etc. Kidlit411 also has a list of reputable places to look for events/conferences/workshops near you and worldwide. There are lots of other good places to look for online and.or downloadable classes you can buy for your writer, that are hosted by solid industry professionals, including the Children’s Book Academy and KidLit College. They offer sessions year round. SCBWI tends to offer stellar webinars throughout the year too, for $10 or $15 members (only $20ish for nonmembers). Have a look at some upcoming ones here — check back often for updates. ALWAYS verify the credentials of the person that is leading the workshop, shop around for price, and make sure the topic is a good fit. I mean, don’t get your writer a workshop on editing if they haven’t even written their story yet; if that’s their situation, suggest they take a beginner’s class on how to write or how to get started first. (That’s one reason why I like conferences so much–they contain lots of info at various levels with lots of presenters that have different expertise, all rolled into one, and are usually the biggest bang for the buck. Here‘s one in Northern CA with editors, agents, an art director, and famous authors.)
Great books to buy that are easy to order online but of course I’m going to suggest you get from your local bookseller, include:
(You might wanna steer clear of that last one as a gift, given the title and all, even though it’s really a fantastic book for beginners!) Shout out to JEN Garrett for most of those craft book suggestions.
Grab one of these, just for fun.
A beautiful and clever (but, yeah, expensive) reading light.
Get bombarded with great ideas in the shower? Write ’em down with a waterproof notepad found on Amazon.
How many classic novels have you read? Keep track with this slick scratch-off poster.
For your writer/illustrator friend, here’s a great crayon charm necklace for only $20. They’ve got it with typewriters too.
We could all use a helping hand when it comes to making our writing better. Why not buy your writer a professional critique of their work? [NEVER do this on the fly. ONLY go with a reputable, experienced author who you’ve gotten recommendations from. (What have they published recently, by what publishing house, to what acclaim?)]
Here are some writers I can vouch for. There are plenty of others too! These are literally off the top of my head. Check them out yourself–carefully! You want to make sure you get the best fit for your specific work.
- Carol Munro, https://carolmunrojustwritewords.com/services-for-writers/
- Nikki Shannon Smith, http://www.nikkishannonsmith.com/Contact.html
- ME! Bitsy Kemper, https://bitsykemper.wordpress.com/contact-bitsy/
Regardless of what you get your writer, knowing you shopped with them in mind will make all the difference. As gift-giving expert Lisa Bader from http://www.wrapwithlove.com says, “When it’s all said and done, the particular gift you give isn’t what matters most. What matters most is how the particular gift made the recipient feel.” They will love you went out of your way for them!
If you’ve got zero money in your pocket but want to give SOMEthing, give a book review! Did you know that the number of book reviews can help boost a book’s placement on websites like Amazon Books and general Google searches? The more reviews, the higher up it will likely show. Reviews of any kind are a HUGE factor, if not boost, to an author’s success. Even if they aren’t glowing reviews! A review shows the book has been read. And that the reader took the time to review it–which means it made an impact on the reader. In fact, a mention of the book in any form of social media is welcomed. As author Lori Mortensen puts it, “Social media makes a difference, so if you have a moment, leave a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, or other social media for your favorite books. Authors everywhere will appreciate it.” I second that! I mean, who can’t give a free gift? Just make sure you’ve read the book, and make it a genuine review. Websites are cracking down on what they perceive to be “buddy reviews” and are deleting them without warning. Give a fair review. I mean sure–round up on the number of stars by all means–just don’t go too overboard on the text or it’ll come across as fake. No one wants that, not even for the holidays.
2. Check out their book from a library–or ask your local library to carry their book (and tell your friend you did so)
It might not seem like a big deal, but checking a book out of library, or even taking it off the shelf and having a librarian re-shelf it, can make a big difference in how long a library keeps a book. This is how a California librarian explained it: “If a book has not been checked out in a certain number of months, it gets chucked. Yep. And then [the] book will be gone from the system, forever.” Sad, right? She went on to say, “Basically, librarians are always actively looking for books to ‘weed.’ They have to get rid of books on a regular basis to make room for new ones coming in. If they find a book that hasn’t been checked out for ages, and it’s a book they love, they might put it on display or do something else to increase its circulation. But they might also just decide this book has lived its life, and because there is no demand for it anymore, it’s time to pass it on. Sad but reality. ”
Sooooo…Even if you’ve read their book (which, let’s be honest–you probably haven’t), you can check out your friend’s book(s), and return the next day, just to get that title recorded. I know in my library they track which books have been interacted with, so even taking it off the shelf and placing it on the “go back” cart gets it recorded or noted as someone having paid attention to it. Now, if your library doesn’t carry the book, put in a request for them to purchase it. Talk to whoever is at the desk about it. They might not be able to, but you’ve planted the seed. Maybe someone else already has, or will, and your request will make the difference.
These are great gift suggestions for writer friends you don’t well enough to go out and buy something for, but that you’ve admired or have enjoyed getting to know over the years, perhaps virtually via the magic of the interwebs. <cough cough, points to self> Neither takes much time to do, they don’t cost any money at all, and the effects are longer lasting tan any scarf or book light. Your writer friend will be thrilled!
Lots of ideas. No excuses to not do SOMEthing! 🙂
Whatever you decide,
Happy Holidays, and
Happy Gift Giving!