It’s that time of year again. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of posts cropping up about what to buy for the writer in your life. But a writer is for life, not just for Christmas, so here’s my alternative list of things to buy for your writer any time of the year. The best bit is, they’re nice and cheap. Most are free.
- Buy their books as gifts for other people. Ask the author to sign them for you, if you see them – they’ll be delighted. A signed book makes a great present.
- Read their book. Contrary to popular belief, writing doesn’t automatically lead to fame or fortune. That’s why most of us have day jobs. If we can’t have money (although money would be really, really nice), we like at least to be read. There’s nothing more wonderful than hearing ‘I read your book’ especially if followed by ‘I really enjoyed it.’
- Review their book. Seriously. What is the point of having readers if you don’t know about it? And, you know what? We pore over each review. Especially the bad ones. So if you liked your friend’s book – review it. Say nice things. Give it four or five stars. It all helps a bit when we’re plunged into the pit of despair by Mrs Trellis of North Wales who stopped reading because they were expecting it to be hotter/tamer/sparklier/funnier/grittier/deep fried.
- Talk about their books to other people. By far the best gift you can give your writer friend is to recommend their books to someone else. How often have you checked out a book because someone on else told you they liked it? Do this. Spread the love.
- If they’re book is on promotion for free for a short while – download it (NOTE: NOT from a pirate site, I mean from an actual retailer, as part of a promotion). Even if you’ve read it before. Then tweet about it. Every download helps it climb the charts. The higher up the chart the book goes, the more likely people are to notice it when the promotion ends and it starts sliding back down again. That’s the ONLY reason we do free promotions.
- Request or borrow their book from the library. It doesn’t cost you anything, but it really helps your author. If your library doesn’t have it, suggest they buy it. UK authors get a few pence every time their book is borrowed from the library. Plus, most writers love libraries.
- Take shelfies. If you spot your friend’s book on a shelf in a shop, or better still in a display or even (gasp!) in someone’s hand being read, then take a picture (if someone’s reading at the time, you might want to ask for permission). Put said picture on Twitter, Facebook etc. Go on, give us something to share.
- Put their books on your Amazon or Goodreads lists. It makes the books more likely to be picked up by search engines.
- Nominate them for stuff. There are all sorts of ‘people’s prizes’ – like the Goodreads lists or the Guardian Not the Booker Prize – which allow you to nominate a book you’ve enjoyed for a prize or even just a list. Why not? You never know, they might win and then they’ll love you for ever and ever.
- Take them out for tea and cake. This applies just as well to non-writers. Just, you know… cake.
Try one or more of these things and your writer friend will be most grateful. How will they repay you? Well… there’s only one way to find out…
PS: If you want to give them a fun gift that costs actual money, can I suggest a nice t-shirt designed by a writer (me) for writers. Check out the shop here.
Have a fabulous Christmas and all the best for the new year. Mwah!