Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Author's Christmas Wish List

It's time once again for my annual Author's Christmas Wish List. You can make any author in your life happy with these gifts--some of time, some of talent, and some of treasure.

Authors, feel free to copy and paste this to your own blogs, slip under your spouse's pillow, or e-mail to those who never know what to get you. Friends of authors, imagine your friend wrote this.

Gifts of Time:

Take my book to a store and ask the owner to stock it
* Mention to friends or user groups about my website, newsletter or blog
* Babysit the kids so I can have a few quiet hours for writing
* If I'm having a booksigning in your area, come visit and bring some friends
* Help me set up a book signing at your local bookstore or library (especially appreciated if we live far from each other and I'm coming for a visit)
* Contact your local newspaper or radio station about me and arrange an interview--also a great idea if I happen to be coming for a visit
* Offer to donate a couple of hours to some project I'm working on--like sending letters to bookstores, sending out PR releases, making a database of readers, etc.

Gifts of Talent:

* Create a website for me--or better yet, teach me how
* Make a template I can modify
* Give me ideas on how I can market myself or my books--and help me to put them into practice!
* Design a banner, book "sell sheet" (a one-page flyer about the book), or other marketing materials
* Make a book trailer video for my book and post it on YouTube, etc.
* Make a recording of a chapter of my book to put on my website

Gifts of Treasure:
Just like with clothing or jewelry, some of these items (from domain names to pens) may require you knowing your author's friend's taste. When in doubt, a gift certificate for the item is a good fall-back.

* A marketing class by The Marketing Mentor (I'm offering a Christmas special: gift certificates are $15 a class, half off! Contact me.)
* Music to write by
* Amazon gift certificates to get books
* Buy my book--order it from a bookstore
* Buy me a domain name for my website
* Bookmarks with my cover, name and website
* Subscription to Writers Market
* Subscription to The 30-Minute Marketer (Again, I'm offering 50 percent off the subscription--just $6 a year. Contact me.)
* Journals
* Book signing gear--poster with my photo and name on it, a roll-away carrier to put the books and materials, book stands
* Business cards
* Gift certificate to a printer/VistaPrint if they do that
* Reams of paper
* A mug warmer (or a good thermos)
* Pizza coupons for those days when the need to write overcomes the need to cook
* A really good pen!
* Stamps
* Business-sized envelopes


Walt said...

The list looks pretty good, but were is the Dr. Pepper for coolant? (I'm afraid I'm one of the old tobacco-fired, liquid cooled authors. I understand the newer models are air cooled and run on tofu.)

Penelope Marzec said...

I always ask for reams of paper, too. :^)

But you've got a great list there.

Cheryl said...

Awesome list Karina. I could use a few of these myself, especially the quiet time.


The Wandering Author said...

This is a great list, but perhaps a few of the items - especially one of them - need a tiny bit more explanation. "A really good pen" means different things to different people, and in my experience, writers are more than usually picky when it comes to pens.

I am a fountain pen devotee. Even the cheaper models, say a Wality, are better to write with, for me than the most expensive Montblanc rollerball. (Actually, even the Montblanc fountain pens aren't all that great, in my opinion.)

And - even among fountain pens - I greatly prefer piston fillers, or even the cumbersome eyedropper fillers, over the "convenient" cartridge models. Why? Most importantly, Noodlers Ink only comes bottled, and I swear by Noodlers. And cartridges just don't hold as much ink, so they don't last as long.

If we're really going to get specific, I like Pelikans better than any other model I've tried. And I love the demonstrators best among all Pelikans, because they make it even easier to see just how much ink is left. I have a beautiful blue demo M600 that John Mottishaw tuned up nicely...

Now, most of the writers who read this comment are going to disagree with at least some of the things I've said. That isn't the point. My point is that people who don't use pens all the time, day in and day out (and yes, even in the computer age, there are times I find I can write better in longhand, nib on paper) simply cannot hope to understand without being told that a "good pen" is an intensely personal thing. Guys who lose their minds at the thought of playing golf without one exact club to hand somehow cannot seem to grasp that "a pen is a pen" only applies when you don't use one.

otter said...

Amen to the comments about pens - what I think is a good pen or pencil might not be to someone else. And there are times when writing on a computer just won't do - I write most of my books longhand first.

otter said...

Oh, and I would add to the list, the mug warmer that plugs into the USB port of the computer - or one that has an AC adapter to plug in to a living room wall socket - I simply cannot seem to keep a mug of tea warm!

Karina Fabian said...

Like the ideas and will add them to the list.

To the "pen afficionados": When you send this list around, just make a comment about what you like. I can't read minds, and it will vary.

Friends of authors: If they are picky about things like pens, ask.

The Wandering Author said...

Sorry. My point wasn't that you should try to read minds - although maybe Vern would help if you asked nicely ;) - and I only detailed my own quirks as an illustration of how many issues there are. And I agree that those of us who pass on the list to friends can add our own notes. I just thought pens, especially, were an item that could use a brief note, something like "Be sure you know what kind they like (or get them a gift certificate to a pen shop)".

Karina Fabian said...

Ah! I see what you mean now.

K. Wish granted.

Devon Ellington said...

Great list, Karina. It should also help friends of writers look at their writer pals as writers FIRST rather than seeing them as writers "on the side."

The NYT ran a series of essays by writers that were later collected into a book. Mary Gordon wrote my all-time favorite about notebooks and pens.