A Gift Giving Guide for Authors

You say there’s an author in your life and a holiday is fast approaching? No worries, we’ve got a list for that! For many of these ideas, I’m indebted to brainstorming sessions with my critique-mates and the Mixed-Up Filers.

Books!

At the top of the list, since authors are readers too, you can’t go wrong with something of the printed variety, preferably delivered with the following message: “I got this for you from a local independent bookseller.”

  • Reference Materials – How about a nice leatherbound dictionary? Or a dictionary/thesaurus set? For a style guide, many people swear by Strunk & White’s Elements of Style, while others prefer the gold standard that is Merriam-Webster’s Concise Dictionary of English Usage.
  • Books About Writing – The usual suspects include On Writing by Stephen King, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, as well as the long-awaited Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody, based on the screenwriting books of Blake Snyder.
  • Professional Development – The current year’s Writer’s Market is a definitive guide for finding a book publisher. Also available from Writer’s Digest Books is the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market, Poet’s Market, and Guide to Literary Agents.

  • Guilty Pleasures – That rare out-of-print edition from their childhood, a signed edition from a favorite author, or an ARC from a promising upcoming title. For author/readers who love Star Wars like I do, Wrapped In A Ribbon has a great list of gift ideas from a galaxy far, far away.

Book Accessories

  • Bookends – Just the thing to keep reference materials at your author’s fingertips on the desk as they work.

  • Bookmarks – Because dog-earing the corners of a book is a sacrilege.
  • Booklights – Authors have many special powers, but seeing in the dark is usually not one of them.

Office Embellishments

  • Mini-Fridge – Dorm style!
  • Electric kettle or mug warmer – For a beverage that won’t go cold.

  • Screen wipes – Because monitors tend to smudge when you bang your forehead against them.
  • Wireless keyboard/mouse – Because sometimes you just need to cut the cord.
  • Second monitor – Because Facebook and Twitter are less distracting if they have their own space.
  • Inspirational Calendar

  • Printer/Ink – Those CMYK ink cartridges that are always running out make a practical gift.
  • Typewriter – Fun, personal, classy, antique typewriters can still be found in working condition. They are amazing to type on and inspiring to even just gaze upon.
  • Wall Art – Whether an inspirational poster or a framed cover, book page, or shadow-boxed paperback.

On the Go

  • Notebooks – Big ones, small ones, sketch pads, and a waterproof notebook for ideas that strike in the shower or bath!

  • Pens – Fountain pens, gel pens, quill & ink, waterproof, or the huge box of ballpoints that everyone needs.

  • Headphones or speakers – If your author compiles a book soundtrack or has a preferred channel of writing music, noise-canceling headphones are a must.
  • Laptop stickers – To personalize their writing tools.
  • Fidget Spinners – Because for some people, ideas flow best when their hands are distracted.

Software

  • Scrivener – A word processing, formating, brainstorming, outlining, and ebook rendering program.
  • World Anvil – A browser-based world-building service.

Educational

  • MasterClass – I’ve heard good things about the class by Neil Gaiman. Other lecturers include Margaret Atwood, R.L. Stein, Judy Blume, James Patterson…

Ergonomics!

  • Comfy Chair
  • Bright Lamp
  • Footrest
  • Standing Desk
  • Lumbar Support Cushion
  • Carpal Tunnel Supportive Wristpad

Wearables!

  • Book-Themed Shirts – I like the designs at Threadless, but there are many others.

  • Book-Themed Scarf – This one has text from Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and can be found at storiarts.com

  • Book-Themed Jewelry – Lots of fun stuff on Etsy.

  • Book-Themed Skirt – One such as can be found at ModCloth.
  • Book-Themed Socks – As can be found at Out of Print.

  • These Fingerless Gloves Called “Wristies” Which My Critique-Mate Swears By.

Swag!

  • Buttons – With their book cover on them
  • Stickers – With their book cover on them
  • Bookmarks – With their book cover on them
  • Business Cards – In a fancy box or card holder? Yes!

Charitable Donation

  • A list of book-themed charities compiled by Caroline Bologna includes organizations that promote childhood literacy, make books available to children and communities in need, and bring families together to bond over books. A donation in your author’s name would be a gift that does good.

 

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Greg R. Fishbone
Greg R. Fishbone is the author of the Galaxy Games series from Spellbound River Press. He lives in New England with his wife, two young readers, and a pair of stubbornly illiterate cats.