Top Ten Gifts for the Writer in Your Life
1. Dragon Software: Dragon Software is home speech recognition software for your P.C. It's amazing! Simply speak and the words appear on your screen. "Transfer words into text at the speed of thought." The words appear three times faster than you can type. Cost - $99.00
2. Moo Cards: Moo Cards are beautiful and affordable business cards. Even if the writer in your life has not established a business, it's still important to have business cards printed. Writing is typically done alone, so when the author steps out of their creativity cave and attends a conference, it's nice for them to share contact information (whip out Moo card here). Stay connected with peers. On the card include important information and don't forget to list Twitter name and blog page address. Also, don't make the mistakes I made, which means don't choose red print unless you expect all your future friends to have had lasiks.
Cost - Approximately $25.00
3. Membership! I'd like to steal a phrase from American Express, "Membership has its privileges." It's so true. Membership example: If the person you are buying for writes for the children's market (ages one month to eighteen years old; think board books to Hunger Games or Good Night Moon to Twilight) then a membership in the S C B W I would be the best possible gift you could give this person. SCBWI stands for Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and please know that Judy Blume was one of the first members in this forty-year-old organization. With membership you receive a bi-monthly magazine on the children's market, discounts to conferences, scholarship opportunities and a lot of how-to information. Cost - $75.00 per year.
(If your author writes for another industry, find the appropriate membership for the genre)
4. Conference. There is probably no better gift than enrollment in a conference. Conferences are attended by editors from leading publishing houses, agents from dream-teams, industry professionals (i.e. reps from places like Dryden Books or Harold Underdown's PC Editorial Services) and respected authors (I've met Judy Blume, Richard Peck, Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson and Libba Bray to name a few).
At the conference, attendees not only learn from the best, they also have the opportunity to attend master classes taught by industry professionals. Furthermore the writer will make connections with people with whom they would generally not have access. Many editors who say they are closed to submissions will accept a query or chapter submissions from a writer they meet at a conference; same goes for agents.
Average cost of a conference $400 plus transportation plus hotel accommodations
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. Not only is Donald Maass the author of seventeen books, he is also a literary agent. His book, Writing the Breakout Novel, is regularly discussed in critiquing groups as THE book to get. Cost - $16.99
6. Book. Another great book to wrap for the writer in your life is called Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Brown and Dave King. Available at Tattered Cover Bookstore. Cost- $13.99
7. Subscription. A subscription to Writer's Digest magazine comes with the option to receive it in either printed or digital format. It's packed with sage advice and also comes with a free copy of The Writer's Digest Guide to Creativity. Furthermore advise your writer to follow Chuck Sambuchino's blog: Guide to Literary Agents.
Cost: subscription $19.96 for print and $16.06 for digital; Chuck's blog subscription: free
8. Subscription: Buy your writer a subscription to a professional organization such as Publishers Marketplace so they can have online access to critical information. Publishers Marketplace web page says, "Welcome to biggest and best dedicated marketplace for publishing professionals to find critical information and unique databases, find each other, and to do business better electronically. A service of Publishers Lunch, the most widely read daily dossier in publishing and known as "publishing's essential daily read," Publishers Marketplace really works in part because it is driven by the attention of over 40,000 publishing professionals who read Lunch every day."
Cost: $20.00 per month. Publisher's Lunch is a newsletter you can sign up for and receive for free; what you won't be able to do is search the data base unless you pay the $20.00 per month membership fee.
9. Gift Card: Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like sitting in an Indie bookstore, sipping fresh brewed tea (or a latte) and being surrounded by thousands of wonderful books. Give your writer a gift card to their favorite (or your favorite) independent bookstore, and if the writer has children then also give them the gift of time to use the card; offer a few hours of babysitting. Colorado Recommendations: Tattered Cover Book Store and Boulder Book Store
Cost: $20.00 - your limit plus time
10. Massage: Sitting hunched over a computer for hours while banging out the next great novel takes its toll on the back. Buy the author a massage, and if you really want to help with their creativity, add on a bonus scalp massage. Don't forget to include extra funds for the gratuity.
Bonus: If you are feeling extra generous, buy your writer the opportunity to have their manuscript professionally critiqued with a book doctor such as Emma Dryden or Harold Underdown. Costs vary so visit their links.