Saturday, December 22, 2018

Gift-ology for Authors—Considering the Gifts We Can Offer Our Readers

by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

When my friend Jeff recommends a book, I usually run right out and buy it. So when he mentioned Gift-ology, I placed my Amazon order.

Gift-ology, by John Ruhlin is about the art and science of using gifts to cut through the noise, increase referrals, and strengthen retention. 

It made me think about what we as authors need to do to thank and reward our readers, and luckily, Ruhlin models this throughout his book.

At the end of many chapters, he invites his readers to go to his website for bonus material. And he offers lots of great “irresistible free offers” (IFOs) on this landing page. After giving your name and email address you receive all the goodies he mentions throughout the book: a video of his Brooks Brothers story, cool ideas to show appreciation, a white paper, a checklist, and other gifts.

Which got me to thinking: Ruhlin is demonstrating his message. It’s important to show our appreciation and thanks to others, and as authors, we should be thanking and rewarding our readers. 

What are the gifts that we can offer to our readers? I’ve created a partial list here to get you thinking about all the ways that you might add value for your readers (and, at the same time, get their names and contact information so that you can incorporate these folks into your tribe).
  • An assessment, questionnaire, survey, or quiz
  • A white paper, ebook, or additional reading
  • A resource list or bibliography
  • A checklist or template
  • An update, newsletter, or brief
  • Discounts for future product or service offerings
  • Access to webinars or learning programs
  • A podcast or interview
  • A video program
  • Access to a Facebook or other social media group
  • A strategy session with you
  • Cartoons or memes with reminders or quotes
  • Tweetable content relating to your book
  • Notice that many of these gifts not only add value to the reader, but they also demonstrate what you might offer to this reader as a client or customer. 

Ruhlin closes his book by suggesting that each of us can become a giver-preneur. And as authors, that is smart business.


Cathy Fyock is The Business Book Strategist, and works with thought leaders and professionals who want to write a book as a professional development strategy. She is the author of eight books, including On Your Mark: From First Word to First Draft in Six Weeksand Blog2Book: Repurposing Content to Discover the Book You’ve already Written. To date she has helped more than 150 professionals become published authors. 


  1. Cathy, this is excellent advice, and I hope Edie will run it again when the season is over. This is ESSENTIAL information in making your proposal stand out in a crowd of submissions, and as a publisher, we ask our authors to plan to do this as part of their marketing. We will also offer downloads, etc., on their book page of our website.