Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mostly FREE Gifts for Writers

by Lynn Huggins Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I love giving gifts.

Mostly Free Gifts for Writers!
If I could, I would give gifts to E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y. My husband argues that I come close, but he has no idea how much effort I put into restraining myself!

In an effort to stick to my budget, I’ve been thinking of ways to give gifts to some of my favorite people…the writers who touch my life in so many meaningful and positive ways.

Most of these suggestions won’t cost you more than few minutes of your time, but will mean the world to the recipient.

(Feel free to share this list with the people in your life who don’t write, but love a writer or two!)

For the pre-published writer:

1. Pray. This costs you nothing, but will have eternal impact. Writing is often a solitary and emotionally draining endeavor. Pray for strength, creativity and for their words to light the world on fire.

Send a note or letter.
2. Send a note. Shoot them an email or send them a message on Facebook. If you know their mailing address, send them a Christmas card with a handwritten note. Tell them how much you enjoyed their last post or that you’ve been praying for them as they re-write their novel. I keep every note anyone has ever written me because that kind of encouragement is worth far more than any monetary gift.

3. Share Their Posts. Do you have friends who don’t have a book contract, but they are blogging their hearts out? Share the love. Repost on Facebook. Tweet their tweetables. You know people they don’t and you can reach people they can’t. Help them get their message out.

Give them a +1.
4. Give Them a +1 on Their Posts. This is another way to share a post, and you do have to have a Google account. But's only one click and is valuable. A lot of publishers (and agents) check to see how many +1s a site racks up. 

5. Subscribe to their Blog/Newsletter. For reasons we do not have time to go into here, there is no way to be sure you are seeing every post from your favorite writer unless you’ve subscribed via email. Publishers know this, and the number of Twitter followers or Facebook friends don’t mean nearly as much to them as the number of e-mail subscribers. Help your writer friends and SUBSCRIBE. You can usually find the “subscribe” button in the sidebar or at the bottom of a post. If you can’t find it, ask! Your writer friend will thank you!

6. Comment. This is super easy when you see a post on Facebook, and it means a lot to the writer to know someone read it and liked it. If you’ve got a few more seconds, take the time to leave a comment on the actual blog post. You’ll make your favorite writer smile. 

Give the gift of time.
7. Time. If you know the writer personally and want to go big this Christmas, give them the gift of time. It can be as simple as watching the kids for an afternoon so they can work, or as big as sending them on a writing retreat or encouraging them to go to a conference and helping them figure out how to swing the childcare/travel/work issues involved. No writer would be sad to see that kind of gift under the tree!

For the published author:

1. All of the above. Most published authors have Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and Newsletters. Many blog regularly or semi-regularly. Subscribe, follow, repost, retweet, comment. They need that! They also still have to find time to write and their “numbers” matter more than ever before.

Pray for the writers you know.
2. Pray harder. The stress that comes with publication is a whole new animal. Pray for wisdom and endurance. Pray for favor with their audience, for grace when the negative reviews come (they will) and a level head when the positive reviews come (they will).

3. Share your excitement. When an author signs a contract or releases a new book, share it on your own social media sites. Encourage friends to buy their books. Even if you haven’t read it yet, you can still spread the news. If you have read it, talk about it on Facebook or Twitter. A brief post that says, “I just read THE BEST BOOK EVER by “THE MOST AWESOME AUTHOR” is all it takes. Tag the author when you do it so they can see it.

Buy and review their books!
4. Buy their books. I know you can’t buy them all. But many of us spent more on coffee this week than we have on books in the last month (or year). **Bonus gift points if you pre-order a book, order it the day it comes out, or support both your favorite author and your local bookstore and buy it in person.** Those sales numbers matter and none of the authors I know are getting rich. Every sale makes a difference!

5. REVIEW THE BOOK! Once you’ve read it, get on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, or Christianbook and post a review. **Bonus gift points for posting a review on multiple sites!** It doesn’t have to be long. Just a few words that say how much you enjoyed the book and why. Positive reviews on these sites are gold to authors.

6. Give their books as gifts. You’ve got to buy presents anyway, right? So why not give books! (And don't forget you can give ebooks just as easily as the print version.)

As you can see, most of these gifts focus on encouraging the writers in your life. Can you think of other ways to support writers?

Don’t forget to join the conversation! 


Lynn Huggins Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after at


  1. Great post! Sharing on (ugh) Facebook & G+!

  2. Creative gift giving ideas, Lynn!

  3. Awesome and timely info. Thanks, Lynn. Volunteering as a beta reader is another great gift.

    1. Andrea,
      That's an awesome idea. Excellent addition to the list! Thank you!

  4. Lynn, you and I were on the same writers' wavelength this morning with our blog posts. I wrote about writers gifts that last all year long (Under the title Gift Ideas for Writers: Think Hot Tamales and Sonic Cherry Limeade). It's code for things like support, prayer, and time. :)

    1. Beth,
      Love being on the same wavelength with you! I have a friend who has been known to pop by my house with a McDonald's tea, just to help me through a deadline. Hot tamales and Sonic Cherry Limeade - I bet a writer could burn up the keyboard with an infusion like that!

  5. Loved all your suggestions. As a pre-pubbed writer, your list of gifts would be fabulous! :) And, you've given me some great tips on what to "gift" to my published friends. I like giving their books as gifts. :)

    Great post, Lynn!

  6. Jeanne - I'm glad you like the list. I'm with you...I'd be pretty happy to find any of these under my tree, in my stocking, pretty much anywhere...I'm not picky! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I try to do these things, but your post is a good reminder of just how important each one is. If we want to be encouraged, we have to be encouragers. Thanks for a great post, Lynn.

  8. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post.