Yes there are dozens of things you can throw at writers. They’ll always find a use for notebooks, they’ll love a fancy pen (even if many don’t write with one that often any more), and since writers are all readers, a gift card to a local bookstore would go down like a treat.
But there are… other things. Far more valuable, even though they are intangible and not something solid you can wrap and put underneath a tree. But greatly, greatly appreciated, every time. Ask any writer.
Five gifts for the writer you love this Christmas
It’s been said that the worst enemy of a writer isn’t plagiarism, it’s oblivion. Do you love a book? Take a picture of it, post it on your social media. Have it in your hand on the subway. Ask for it in a bookstore. Keep the writer’s name in circulation. The more you do, the more people might hear, recognize, go, “Oh, that one. I might try that one…” Give the gift of RECOGNITION.
2. Reviews and recommendations
Follows on from above. Give a book you loved a review – on Amazon, on Goodreads, on Library Thing, on your own blog, or all of the above.
Talk about it to your friends. Tell the world. This is the fabled Word Of Mouth, and it is a treasure beyond price. Every writer is grateful for it because it is pure reader grace, and the genuine article is powerful, and impossible to ‘fake’. Sincere reader appreciation, spread out there for others to see and act upon, is something that is very special to every writer.
Trust me, hearing “I heard about you from a friend, (s)he raves about your work..” is a gift that will warm the cockles of any writer’s heart at ANY time of the year. But right
now, it’s Christmas. This is a gift you can give freely, and give often – and you will make a writer’s day, their week, their YEAR. Talk about books with your friends. Tell them about thei things you’ve read that you liked, ask about their favorites. Talk about a book that helped you in a difficult moment with someone who might be sharing that experience and might find the book special too.
Share. Share share share. Tell the world that you love reading, and what you’ve
recently read that lit up your world.
3. Something tangible – Kickstarters and Patreon.
If you still want something tangible, something that you can actually QUANTIFY, you can go and help a writer friend with something concrete, these days it’s easier than ever.
Support their Kickstarter campaign which is trying to raise money for a new work, a better cover, or a collaborative effort. Find out if your author has a Patreon page, and commit to $2-$5 a month – even if just for a year – to help them with a particular project, or a series they’re trying to get off the ground, or their research, or even just to help feed their feline
companions while the creator is creating. Trust me. It all helps.
4. Direct appreciation
Read a book and loved it? Send the author a note and tell her so.
Writing is a solitary occupation and it is sometimes a very lonely existence. Once our babies leave us and are out there in the wild we know nothing more about their travails. A note from a reader who found one of our books and loved it is a lift to our spirits. And it really helps to keep us writing.
If you’re an artist and feel inspired… well, when I’ve seen fan art of my work, it’s been a revelation and a joy. It’s AWESOME to see the images one’s words have created in someone else’s mind.
Most writers are easy to contact these days via their website or blog. If not, a more traditional note (and man, these days getting a Real Letter in the mail is a treat and a half!) sent through their agent or publisher will reach them. Some of them might even write back to you.
Most intangible and ephemeral of all but believe me – it matters. Be out there, be awesome, be readers. Let the writers see that there are people out there who are eager and waiting for new stories. Speak out about how much you love reading. Talk about how a particular book has inspired you, or helped you understand or cope or transcend a difficult time. Inspire everyone who writes to be more, to be better, to rise to meeting the needs and expectations you put out there. Tell us what you’ve found, tell us what you’re seeking, tell us about the things YOU think are important. Tell us about the things you want to see stories being told about. And then watch those stories get born.
He only wanted to help; instead, he started a war.
‘Shifter’, the stunning conclusion to The Were Chronicles, is here.
Saladin van Schalkwyk, better known as Chalky, was a chimera, both in name and deep into his DNA. He was created but he did not know for what purpose, and the secrets that surrounded his past were too well guarded for him to break through.
So when his friend Mal offered to take the chance of becoming a Lycan in order to infiltrate their ranks and find out the truth for him, he agreed to help. They both learned far more than they had bargained for. And one thing was clear.
Everything he thought he knew about himself was wrong.
The 24 Best Science Fiction Books Of 2015
My first foray into science fiction, AbductiCon, didn’t make it to Buzzfeed’s list but I’m rather pleased with the initial reaction to it.
After all, Hugo winner Robert Sawyer called it “a hilarious and affectionate look at science-fiction conventions, a wondrous mashup of Galaxy Quest and Bimbos of the Death Sun, a fast-paced and laugh-out-loud funny treat for SF fans everywhere.”
And Lenora Rain-Lee Good said “”This is truly one of the funniest SF books I’ve read in years.”
Besides, it was a great deal of fun to write.
As far as Buzzfeed’s list goes, there is one book in particular, from Catherynne Valente, that I’ve been wanting to get to. Maybe I’ll hint it would be a good Christmas gift.
Radiance is dreamy and strange in the best possible way. The whole universe of the book feels like sci-fi “B movies” of the early to mid 20th century, filled with imagery that will remind the reader of early Méliès films. This book is a departure from the other epic space opera fare you’ll find on the rest of this list, but it’s a refreshing change of pace.
Quote of the Day
My fellow said “Books and Me.” So I married him.
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