Ten Gift Ideas for the Writers and Readers in Your Life
Finding the right gift for the discerning reader or writer can be tricky, especially if you aren't sure what book to buy them because they may already be voracious readers and have read your book of choice. But you're in luck--I have ten fantastic possibilities for you to bring some holiday cheer to a storyteller or reader in your life! So without further adieu, let us count down the gifty possibilities. Some of them even include discounts just for Grub readers!
One of my favorite websites, The Book Club Cookbook, is back with their wonderful Book Blends spice boxes! This year they also have new TV and movie blends too. These are wonderful gifts for the lover of both books and cooking. They make wonderful stocking stuffers, and if you are a Grubbie, they make fantastic gifts for fellow authors! Prices range from $9 for a single spice to $98.95 for a box of twelve. I'm slowly building my collection, and I can tell you that Of Spice and Men makes my pumpkin cheesecake tourte all the more amazing!
Scrivener has long been the software of choice of many serious writers. I love being able to keep my research alongside my story, and to be able to easily flip between chapters and scenes without having to do much work. If you know a teen or college student that wants to be a writer, or know a writer who is struggling to keep their story organized, Scrivener will be one of the best gifts you could ever give them. And guess what? If you use the code GRUBSTREET on their Mac iOS or Windows versions, you'll receive a 20% discount!
And after your writer has finished and published their book? They'll need to promote it! Good thing Book Brush is here to the rescue. I was over the moon when I found out how easy it is to use their services to make beautiful images that can help promote my books. Here's an example of what I was able to do in Book Brush for my $2.99 Kindle Monthly Deal for the month of November (yes, this example comes with a bit of shameless self-promo...hey, we authors need all we can get, right?). Plus, if you use the code GRUBSTREET15 you'll get a 15% lifetime discount on the Book Brush Plus Plan.
Know someone who loves to read short stories and to discover amazing writing? Want to give your writer friend or family member some inspiration? Get them a subscription to the Journal of the Month Club! They'll get a different award-winning literary journal magazine delivered to their doorstep every month. To entice you, some of the newest journals to join the ranks include Crazyhorse, Bellevue Literary Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review. Prices range from 4 journals at $44 to $215 for 24 journals a year. It's a wonderful way to read some of the best literary pieces out in the world today.
I included AutoCrit in last year's guide, but it's so good I had to include it again. It's the best self-editing tool available for a writer. I've cleaned up the manuscripts for both my novels, FEAST OF SORROW and THE CHEF'S SECRET, with this fantastic service and am ready to start work on editing the third. It's also how I discovered that my most overused word is "that." You'll clean up overused words, poor dialogue, use of adverbs, and relying on cliche. They've recently beefed it up to be a word processor as well, and while I've not yet tried that it sounds like amazing new functionality. There are three pricing tiers, ranging from $0 to $80 a month (the latter offering classes galore, a promo spotlight when you publish and tips from established authors). I don't get any kickback from the fine folks at AutoCrit, so believe me when I say this is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to an author, published or unpublished.
The Hot Sheet is an every-other-week publishing industry email newsletter written specifically for authors. If the author you know is published or wants to be published, it's the perfect gift to help them stay up-to-date on crucial news about what is going on in the book world. It was founded in 2015 by Jane Friedman and journalist Porter Anderson and has become one of the most relied on industry sources out there. The Hot Sheet covers complex issues that affect all authors, whether traditionally published or self-published. An annual subscription costs $59.
If you are looking for the ultimate gift to give an author, why not create a custom scarf with a scene from their book emblazoned upon it? I created one with a scene from my first novel and it's a wonderful conversation piece (and a great way to promote my book when people ask me what it says). Plus they are warm and they look fantastic. $78 to create a custom scarf.Allow 2-3 weeks for shipping. And if you are a GrubStreet blog reader? Use the code: grubstreet10 for 10% off. Note that this discount cannot be combined with sale prices.
Pop Chart takes infographics to the next level, turning them into fun works of art full of nerdy information. They have a bunch of bookish possibilities including charts of women writers and fiction books that you can scratch off as you finish them, or even charts on diagrammed novel sentences. Prices generally range from $25-40.
Gift your writer with these amazing bookends, to showcase their own works, or to keep works that inspire them front and center. Etsy $53.54.
I've saved the best for last. GrubStreet changed my life and turned me into a writer, and I'd be remiss if I didn't have them on this list. And what's super cool is that you don't have to be in Boston to take many of their classes, as many of them are offered online!
Crystal King is a 25-year marketing, social media and communications veteran, freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. She is the author of the FEAST OF SORROW, about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius, and the forthcoming THE CHEF'S SECRET (February 12, 2019, Touchstone Books) about the famous Renaissance chef Bartolomeo Scappi. Currently Crystal works as a social media professor for HubSpot, a leading provider of Inbound marketing software. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. A former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in media res. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website: crystalking.comSee other articles by Crystal King